It seems a world away when I think about how we used to run church services at Atfield House Care Home before the pandemic. Up until the first lockdown in March 2020, a few of us from church would regularly visit (sometimes with kids and dog in tow) and share a Holy Communion service with the residents. There were no sanitising stations, gloves, Lateral Flow tests or face coverings in sight, and we would hand out song sheets, sometimes hold hands with the residents, maybe share a hug, sing hymns and share communion and distribute cups of tea without a second thought. All of that has changed, of course, and now with Covid, I am not sure it will ever be the way it was again.
However, thankfully this week we had our first service for over two years back in Atfield House – just in time for Easter. Five residents attended, and I didn’t know who any of them were. A lot can change in two years in a care home, and these last two years have been extremely tough on residents and staff at Atfield, and at similar homes. It was wonderful to be together and I hope we can resume this important ministry to bring the good news of Jesus to some of our elderly and frail at a season in life when for many of them faith becomes even more necessary and real. Being able to share the message of Easter felt especially poignant. We share a story of hope, that death and darkness are overcome by the risen Jesus, and this hope is ours as we trust in him.
Another encouragement came this week when we had our first service at another retirement facility – Kingfisher Court in Spring Grove. Eleven residents attended a worship service there and seemed to appreciate the opportunity to gather within their block of flats. Kingfisher Court lies within the parish of St Mary’s, Osterley, so Rev Elis joined me and between us we plan to offer services there regularly too. Please keep these initiatives in your prayers, and if you’d like to find out more, or even be involved in visiting with us, please be in touch. In the meantime, have a happy Easter!