As I pray for my neighbourhood and my local church congregation, in the light of the present public health crisis and suspension of public worship, I am reminded of our history.
The streets and homes where I live were, for the most part, built between the Wars. The parish of St Nicholas’ was created in response, and the church itself was dedicated at the end of the first week of the Second World War. The people then knew that it was important to sustain dependable patterns of worship, even — perhaps especially — in times of crisis.
They also knew that, far from ‘non-essential,’ social spaces are absolutely necessary for the flourishing of community. And for perhaps the first forty years of the parish, the church and its halls were a focal-point and hub of an often vibrant community life.
In our time, we find ourselves having to reimagine both how we sustain patterns of worship, and how we nurture community.
We may not have been here before. But it is in our DNA.