Perhaps this is the time to begin to think about the long-term effects of the virus on our Church life. The size of our worshipping congregations has been affected less than might have been feared – indeed the size of our evening congregations seems actually to have increased lately. We could count on the fingers one hand the number of regular worshippers whom we seem to have ‘lost’ and, of course, we can’t necessarily blame the virus rather than ill-health and the frailties of age which continue to make their unwelcome contributions. But, of course, there’s more to Church life than worship – essential though that is. Attendance at our non-Zoom Bible Studies has definitely waned. We used to attract more in the evenings than in the mornings, but that is no longer true. It’s recently been just Antony, alone or with only one other Member, in the evenings and at most two or three with him in the mornings. Our Bible Studies are not just opportunities for studying the Bible – vitally important though that is, of course – they are also opportunities for coming together in fellowship, which is another essential aspect of being a Church.
Church Meeting also discussed how we, as a Church, might acknowledge the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and several other ‘bodies’ (including the Congregational Federation and the London Borough of Hounslow) have asked the same question of us and even offered financial help with so doing. Traditionally we have marked special occasions by having ‘teas’ &/or ‘quizzes’ either on a Saturday afternoon or before an evening service on Sundays, but perhaps it’s time to try varying the ‘traditional’ format. If you have any bright ideas, whether you’re a Church Member or not, please do mention them to one of our deacons.
Church Membership itself was something else which ‘came up’ at the Church Meeting. Among those who worship with us are several who might be ready for that next step of commitment and service – if you think you are among them, again please mention it to one of our deacons.
You may have noticed that the ‘garden’ on the Worton Road side of the church building has been transformed by so much pruning that it now looks more like a garden than a jungle – you could even walk along the path. Less likely, you may also have noticed that the ‘Pathfinders’ Room’ adjacent to the vestibule has also been ‘de-cluttered’ and the ‘office’ or ‘library’ on the other side of the vestibule is slightly tidier – you could actually sit on either of the armchairs! All of these ‘little jobs’ have been done by individuals or small ‘working parties’, and we are very, very grateful to them – they also show that there’s more to being a Church than coming to worship.