Usually a Pastor’s Report concentrates on what we have achieved throughout the previous year and what plans are being considered for the next one. As you can imagine, writing a report this year with any degree of certainty about our future plans has proved to be extremely difficult.
As you may remember, we had been actively seeking a Pastoral lead replacement for myself for some time. Indeed, the very last Sunday before lockdown, Anderson, a potential candidate for the position was with us. He very much enjoyed the service, and later, the church leadership and those in key positions enjoyed an extended time of fellowship with him and his family. At present he is looking after his children at home whilst his wife is working full-time for the NHS. I am in contact with him, but of course until we have a clear way out of the current lockdown and an understanding of what church might look like, we cannot progress beyond speculation.
The Church Council has been meeting every fortnight (virtually), mostly to deal with running church online and maintaining contact with as many members as possible during the current crisis. We have all been pleasantly surprised at how well you have all been coping with what are, for some, very harsh lockdown conditions. When we are able to return to church, we cannot be sure of what church will look like; the only thing we can be sure of is that for a time it will be different. Social distancing measures are likely to remain in place until a successful vaccine has been found and of course we don’t know how long that will take. We may have to look for a time at running both an online church service and a slimmed-down version of meeting together on a Sunday. Only time and God will tell!
However, as a church we have been able to reach many more people with our Sunday, ‘Home is where the church is’, online service, than we would with our normal services for adults, youth and children. It is not just those who subscribe to the email, but those we send them on to. Gill and I counted some fifteen people who have not only viewed but responded positively having enjoyed the online meeting. These include family members, friends and, in one instance, a couple Gill and I met only once. In all of this I have concluded that the Lord is doing a new thing, Isaiah 43:19-21 19See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
We do not know what Church will look like this time next year or even in a month’s time! Our hope and indeed our prayer are that this crisis will cause many to seek God who have never done so before and for all of us to seek Him more and more. Many well-known and respected Bible commentators have speculated that the return of the Lord is near and we must trim our lamps in preparation for a final outpouring of God’s Spirit in revival power; I would love to think that is correct. Perhaps, like me, you will have found more time to spend with God, more time to pray and read your Bible also at this time. Whatever comes next, we can expect to see a Church paying more attention to God’s Word in the immediate future.
Many of you will have also noticed that communities are coming together much more so than at any recent time. Personally, I have got to know so many more people by just walking in the community and chatting as I spend time in the garden. I must also thank all of you for the fantastic response to the needs of care homes in Taverham that shows community love. We have delivered some two hundred and fifty pillow slips made into wash bags, in excess of three hundred toiletries as well as plants, provisions for the staff and other gifts as well. The response from the homes to us has also been moving in that it shows TEC, as well as the larger community, really cares. Rachel and Simeon singing to the residents standing outside their rooms was according to Laura, the manager of Eastlands, a very special time.
I cannot conclude without thanking all of you who, over the last year, have worked so hard in being part of our various church teams. Those that work in children’s ministry, the worship band, life groups, TEC Times, our prayer ministry, the Alpha course, both the ministry to the guests and those that cook the meals. Without you we could not have done church as well as we have. I have not space to include a very long list of names of amazing and wonderful people. I must mention, however, Esther, Steve and Rachel for all they do in getting our Sunday email out to you. You will agree I’m sure that it is a first-class product of which, for a small church, we can be rightly proud. Maureen has been a wonderful help at this time; she has without a shadow of doubt got a pastor’s heart in loving and caring for people. Ginny is the hub of all communications that emanate from and to TEC. You will see a few communications from her, we see many, many more. Not only does she keep on top of things, she responds to questions and queries within hours, not days.
Finally, my wife Gill as well as Ali, Neil and Anna have been my constant support and occasionally critic, they love TEC and all of you as much as I do.
Vic Ready - Senior Pastor