A few months ago, when I last wrote the KMC item for Kidlington News I mentioned that ‘coronavirus was in the news’. Little did I think that coronavirus would come to dominate not only the news but all our lives just a few weeks after I wrote that! Like all other places of worship, any gathering within our church building has been suspended but worship and meeting together (albeit virtually) still goes on at KMC.
Each week the Oxford Methodist Circuit provides a service which can be viewed at any time – though most of us watch it on a Sunday morning when we would usually go to church. This then has some local input added with singing contributed by various people (and signing by Anna Herriman who is training to be a local preacher and also profoundly deaf), readings by members of the KMC congregation and a reflective song at the beginning suggested by KMC music group leader, John Winterbottom. The wonders of technology mean that all these people can contribute from their own homes and then people much more IT savvy than me put it together, with a local flavour. If you would like to view the service, they are all (both current and past) available via the worship tab on the KMC website, www.kidlingtonmethodists.org.uk
The last Sunday of May would have found the churches in Kidlington all joining together for a joint service at St Mary’s parish church for our annual Pentecost service. Lockdown didn’t prevent us from joining together, instead we had an online service with contributions from the Anglican, Baptist, Catholic and Methodist churches. There was a lot of creativity with artwork from children from all the churches, pre-recorded music from various contributors and a thought provoking reflection from our minister, Paul. In the afternoon, Oxford Methodists went even more high-tech with a live service via Zoom – very successful with more than 80 households joining in. It was great to be able to worship together ‘live’ even if we couldn’t physically be together.
Other activities within the church continue and we have embraced a wide range of social media platforms. On a Sunday morning we can join together to have coffee and chat via Zoom. Messy Church continues as Messy Church@Home with a fortnightly package of Bible story, crafts, song and prayer being sent out by e-mail and also available via the KMC website and Messy Church@Kidlington Facebook page. Each week, Paul records Thursday Thoughts – a topical reflection lasting 7 or 8 minutes – which is available via You Tube. It is often said that the church is not the building, it’s the people and certainly within KMC as in many other churches the people have shown that church can continue even when we can’t enter the building.
As I write this, a much (mis)quoted phrase from Star Trek has popped into to my head – ‘It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it’. Life for all of us at present is not as we once knew it and probably will never go back to exactly as it was before. However, for many churches it’s likely we will continue to have more of an online presence which (hopefully) will make us more accessible to a wider audience – now that, at least, is a positive thing to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic.