An opportunity to build anew

Author: Michael Gurney

Published on: 4 May 2021

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity" - Colossians 4:5.

At present it is very hard to look forward with optimism; with concerns about new waves of virus, having to wear face masks, and a lack of resources, it is easy to become depressed about the future and our churches. Coming out of lockdown and looking to the future, we do have an unprecedented opportunity to build a stronger relationship between the Church and the wider community. Like other organisations across the country we should now be planning for a better future by taking advantage of what we have learnt over recent months. Parishes really can make a new start and not just simply talk about it. But it is up to all of us.

During lockdown individuals and groups across all communities (many not church-goers) stepped up to support the needy, demonstrating the principles of Christianity through their actions. PCCs should build on this goodwill and the opportunity for change for the better and engage with these individuals, community groups and leaders and establish how we can create a better world? How can we build on and support these achievements rather than letting it fade from the memory as ‘normal’ life resumes? What can the church, the PCC and the congregation do to help this? Instead of asking how can the country help us, it is down to us to help others.

The answer will of course be different in every parish. How can our church community support children and young people? How can we do more for the lonely and isolated? Can we organise a visit roster? Can we have a lunch club for the elderly? Which of our facilities can be utilised for the benefit of the whole community? Can the church building be used for play groups? Is there a church room/meeting room that can be used by volunteers? Can the church be used differently? Are there different forms of services that the community would like? Can we share the church’s internet? Can we organise trips to the supermarket and doctor or simply help people buy what they need? What would
be possible for your parish?

This is not just down to members of the PCC or the church. Lockdown revealed a large reservoir of kindness and compassion that can be harnessed. But it does need a catalyst and the PCC can play a key role in your community to be a beacon of light and leadership.

Can we make everyone feel welcome into our church – however they come and whatever they come for? The more people that come and use the church, the stronger in time the church will become. We need to explain to everyone living in the parish that, “This is your church (not the PCC’s church) and how can we all work together to make a difference for all of us and our children now and for the next 100 years?”

As we go into autumn and start to plan for Christmas how can we make this year transformational? If we don’t seize this opportunity now, we will lose the opportunity of a lifetime.

The author...

Michael Gurney

Diocesan Board of Finance

This article is from...

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