Unlocking the lockdown
The journey from supermarket to recording studio and beyond –Stephen Cave of Queens Road Baptist Church, Broadstairs, offers his thoughts
Like many other churches we have been involved in sending out on average 15-20 parcels to support people who have been shielding or families badly affected by the lockdown. At times we have had more toilet rolls on site than Lidl, Tesco and Aldi put together.
We have been streaming services, daily devotions and a weekly teaching session. Home Groups have been zooming and youth and children have been entertained by a twice-weekly craft based video alongside all kinds of meet-ups on various social media platforms.?
And now it comes to unlocking the lockdown, mixing live worship with pre-recorded elements, tidying up the auditorium (recording studio as it has become), spacing the chairs out and working out how to select 30 people (preferably who don’t like singing) and how to get them safely in and out of the building… Here are my random thoughts as we try to unlock the lockdown.
All around us people are talking about how things will be different post-Covid19 (that’s assuming there will be such a thing). Will the ‘new normal’ include queuing outside supermarkets, waiters taking our order remotely, staycations, or even worse - will people still be forgetting to put on the audio when zooming??
I guess we realise that things are not going to be quite the same as before – even children are now referring to pre-Covid19 as ‘the olden days’. If it takes over a mile for a large oil tanker to slow down and come to a halt before finding a new direction how will a huge vessel like the church manage? Actually, and perhaps surprisingly, the church seems to have been very nimble on its feet when it came to lockdown. Before it even had time to straighten the chairs and put the communion plates and glasses away, the doors were locked and ‘normal service’ came abruptly to an end.?
Of course in reference to church I am talking about a building. Thankfully and amazingly the ‘church’ in its true sense – the people of God – has thrived. Maybe watching a streamed service from the comfort of the sofa has not been as sacrificial as we first thought. And being able to have ‘proper wine’ (the real grown up stuff) for a home communion, has reminded us that Jesus got it right on Passover night. I jest of course – or maybe not – as someone said to me the other day – we rather like it this way. And herein lays the challenge.
How will we unlock lockdown? Some of us may well feel we are scrambling around in the dark searching for the keys with a torch that needed its batteries changed weeks ago. How will we take into the ‘new normal’ of church life some of the things we have enjoyed, and most importantly, the many people who have used this time to re-visit a community of faith from the safety of their own homes. As they say – it’s a lot easier shutting something down than re-opening it again. For some, even opening the front door must seem terrifying.
But we will – together we will – just as we have together got through these last months. And God who never loses keys will guide us to unlock lockdown and face the new normal with optimism and faith.??
Stephen Cave is Team Leader Minister of Queens Road Baptist Church, Broadstairs
This story appears in the Autumn 2020 edition of Baptists Together magazine