"A good day?" - From the keyboard of Rev Wendy Prior, Synod of SA Staff Chaplain
Seaton UC Reconnects
Posted in Faith
After a long period of isolation, Seaton Uniting Church was delighted to hear the news that with discernment and careful preparation, congregations would be able to return to face-to-face gatherings in their buildings with the implementation of a COVID-Safe plan and practices. Church members have been worshipping from home for a few months now and while these moments had been very meaningful to many, many were truly longing for the day when they could gather together again for public worship . Everyone also knew that coming back to the church building would be a very important day but that it would be different. Therefore the leadership discerned and decided to have a “Reconnect Sunday” on 28 June 2020, in order to pastorally prepare the church for this new season.
Last Sunday 28 June, members were met and welcomed on arrival at the church building. Everyone was guided through the new COVID-Safe practices. It was exciting just to catch up, to share how everyone was feeling, to share stories and be restored in hope through the company of God and each other. It was wonderful to engage in the spirit of worship through music. Church members shared the sign of peace from their own seats, using 4 sqm physical distancing but all felt connected in heart and spirit. After a pastoral time of sharing, everyone enjoyed a moment of prayerful thanksgiving: expressing gratitude for all that has been done well in South Australia, including all the frontline workers, leadership of the church across the state as well as Seaton UC’s own members and community. All of these people have contributed to enabling people to gather publicly again. The church is grateful to God for the wellbeing, safety and freedom we have.
Seaton UC shared in solidarity through the stories presented by three members of the church who gave testimony about how faith and life had been for them in isolation. It has been a very challenging time during this pandemic when hope was distant,, when fear was shaping us, anxiety rattling us and our trust wavered or judgment and criticism took over. The “Reconnect Sunday” was a special time for church members to lament and confess.
“It was important to acknowledge those days in the past few months when we felt, forgotten, hurt, fearful, or conflicted theologically that we had closed the church doors for the first time in our lifetime.” said Janet Woodward, Seaton UC member and Synod of SA Fellowship Secretary.
Reconnect Sunday’s worship concluded with a word of encouragement from 1 John 3:11-24. Although things are different since the COVID-19 pandemic and many challenges will be ongoing, Seaton UC is grateful to be back together and opening our doors to the community with COVID-Safe practices in place.
Seaton UC congregation sends this message to all: “May blessing abound for your congregation or faith community and may you share our restorative journey of living with COVID-19. God bless you all and our prayers are with our Synod, church partners and all around the world. May hope and healing sustain us all.”
New Times team would love to hear from you as your congregation is organising gatherings of all descriptions. We would appreciate stories and photos of your congregations as they return to worship. Please do not forget to take photos of the preparation and practising distancing in worship, Bible Study, emergency relief projects, Op Shops, family activities and other ministries in the life of your congregations. This will form an important part of our records and memories. Please send stories or photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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