Ev­ery­one in­cluded

The Wokingham Paper - - VIEWPOINTS - The Revd Canon David Hodg­son, Rec­tor of All Saints ChurchWok­ing­ham, on be­half of Churches To­gether in Wok­ing­ham

PUBS opening after the lock­down has been one of the big events in the last week. It starts to give a feel­ing that we are com­ing out of the other side of the cri­sis and some of life as we knew it is re­turn­ing.

An­other mile­stone in re­turn­ing to our for­mer life is the grad­ual re-start­ing of church ser­vices. Not all of our lo­cal churches will have re-started ser­vices im­me­di­ately last week­end. There are safety plans to be put in place care­fully

Most churches though will be mak­ing a real ef­fort to re-start ser­vices as soon as pos­si­ble. Com­ing to­gether in church means a lot to many peo­ple and it has been greatly missed.

In a church ser­vice we are with our neigh­bours and friends as we give thanks to God and pray; we can share joys and sor­rows with them. It is a shared ex­pe­ri­ence in the same place at the same time.

For all its bril­liance a video con­fer­ence call can­not com­pletely re­place that. Dur­ing the clo­sure pe­riod churches have re­alised how valu­able ser­vices in church are. They help peo­ple feel con­nected to one an­other and part of the wider com­mu­nity.

But we know also, like the pubs, not ev­ery­one will be able or feel safe to come back to church ser­vices yet.

So, most churches will carry on putting ser­vices on­line too. Ev­ery­one in­cluded is an im­por­tant value for Chris­tian churches – no one should be ex­cluded.

Whilst we are re­joic­ing that ser­vices in church are start­ing again, we are also mind­ful of those who must still stay at home and we will not for­get them. Ev­ery­one must be in­cluded.

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