Sisters and Brothers,
I greet you in the name of our Triune God.
It is July. The year 2020 is half-way gone! And for most of it, several elements of contemporary living were, in a sense, prescribed by coronavirus. For the last three months, communal worship was a virtual affair. Hopefully, we have found virtue in our virtual experiences, and will include, for the future, some of the virtuous things we have learned during lockdown.
Now we prepare to return to meeting in physical settings, but this will not be a universal affair, not for all members of our congregations or other interested persons who have shared in virtual worship experiences.
When we return to chapels in August, it will be according to government guidelines. In each congregation a User Plan has been prepared to guide our operations so that we can worship together while complying with the guidelines that have been set.
This means that our most senior members, those seventy and older, will still be at home. We will, therefore, continue to stream services, though this will not always be through livestreaming. Our Classes, too, will ensure that there is some monthly physical presence with members, even of by way of just two persons carefully observing rules, but still showing our love to those whom we do not see at worship.
A schedule will be posted so that persons at home will know when to follow live and when a pre-recorded service will be offered.
On Sunday 2nd August, Divine Worship with the Lord’s Supper will be streamed from Amsterdam so that housebound members from both congregations can follow that service and share in Holy Communion. On the last Sunday, 30th August, the closing Anniversary Service will be held at Rotterdam, and this too, will be carried live as it will not be possible for everyone to attend.
Staggered attendance at worship, online Discipleship Sessions and meetings will be part of the new normal. But what we must have learned during this crisis, if not before, is that the church is a community beyond walls. It is a movement that, through thick and thin, gives expression to the compassion that we learn from our Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the new normal then, through grace, we will find the means to care for each other and for some others who had been previously neglected. We will give what it takes to show our thanks to God who has kept and guided us through tough times. Let it be obvious from the way we live hereafter that our lives sing the song:
Through all the changing scenes of life
In trouble and in joy
the praises of my God shall still
my heart and tongue employ.
Let us look confidently to the future, difficult and uncertain as it might seem, for we certainly know who holds the future. We know that we are going through aided by the almighty hand of God whose goodness and wisdom never fail.
May the Lord’s richest blessings be ever yours.
Yours in Christ
Joan Delsol Meade