All being well, this is the first year since 2019 that we will be able to celebrate Easter Sunday morning in our church buildings together. Easter 2020 came very soon after the first lockdown was imposed, and almost everything we did had to be online back then. Church ministers up and down the country and around the world were trying to work out how to speak to camera and construct services online. You can find all the things we attempted buried back on our YouTube channel, but I was particularly grateful for all those who recorded readings of the Passion Story which we put together as a 20 minute video – you can watch that again if you like by clicking here.
Last year at Easter we were starting to open up our buildings again after the winter lockdowns and people could visit the building for private prayer, but not for services. However, we were able to meet outside which we did at St Mary’s for our dawn service. For the first time in a long time some of us were together to sing Easter songs and hymns, a special time which I won’t ever forget.
For many churches, including ours, the option to do things online has opened up new ways to do ministry. We now have 100 subscribers on our YouTube channel! I know the online connections, including on Facebook or Zoom, have been appreciated by those who for whatever reason have been housebound. We’ve also connected with former members of the community who log in from elsewhere, as well as friends and family in other places, and sometimes complete strangers. I’ve had letters and emails from people I didn’t know who have watched our services and kindly got in touch. A big thank you to everyone who has helped us with this – including Rachel Burnell who was cooking up creative videos to engage the kids, as well as those who read and prayed on videos for us to use in our YouTube services.
However, now that the emphasis is on coming back in to our buildings, Oli and I have felt this is the time to “pause” our Sunday YouTube services, which we will do after Easter. We hope to launch them again one day, perhaps as streams of our live services in our buildings. In the meantime, you can still find us online up until Easter Sunday, and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays for morning prayer from 8.30am on YouTube ongoing. We are still producing printed notes of the Sunday services which we would be happy to distribute to those who can’t be with us in person. Please do feedback what you think would be helpful on any of the above. See you soon, online or in person!