Keeping in Touch During the Pandemic

For many of our church members, Sunday morning at 10.30am, was the time that they gathered at the Methodist Church on Neville Parade. They came together to worship God, to meet friends and catch-up on news and share together in fellowship. It was an important time of “togetherness”; and now that is on hold. Like everyone else we are coming to terms with isolation.

For those who are on-line, internet access offers a wealth of resources. The Methodist Church nationally (as with all other denominations) has made available video links to Sunday Services. On our Circuit website we have links to resources being offered from Bishop Auckland Methodist Church – where one of our Local Preachers has been producing video sermons since the start of the crisis. There is also very creative prayers and reflections that have been produced by church members and are available for others to use. In fact, as time goes on the volume of material available from many Christian sources, is ever increasing and reaching many thousands of people.

However, there are many of our members who are not part of the internet generation. Remaining in touch with them is dependent on letters or phone calls, Church Stewards and Pastoral Visitors help to maintain this contact with church members. The church fellowship is well established, and members have been friends for many years. Keeping in touch is second nature. We all miss the face to face contact, but to hear a familiar voice can make such a difference as well as ensuring that everyone is getting the support they need, including food and any prescriptions.

Being a good neighbour may lie at the heart of the Christian faith, but it is also deeply rooted in our humanity. As we find our movement greatly restricted, those in our immediate neighbourhood, as well as family, become significant. Many of our church members are part of the generation who, because of age or health concerns, have to remain isolated, while they can be a good neighbour through their prayer and care, they are also the recipients of the fruit of human kindness, often from those who live near them.

This enforced time apart, is helping our community of faith, to focus on the importance and the power of prayer. Praying for each other, for our communities, our nation, our world; takes on new meaning. Even in the midst of pain and loss when all is dark, and we cannot imagine ever finding our way into the light of some sort of normality, as a church in isolation, we continue to trust in God, for this Easter period reminded us that all is not lost and we are not alone and the future is full of hope.