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Reform Magazine | September 19, 2021

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Commitment-Phobe: Back to church

Commitment-Phobe: Back to church

I have mixed feelings about returning to church

By the time you read this, all being well, I will have attended my first service since March 2020. My church plans to begin in-person services from Palm Sunday, moving towards livestreaming and away from streaming a pre-recorded service. The pew space will be filled with a maximum of 40 people, socially distanced. This is a step towards opening up completely.

I am almost at the halfway point of Lent, a good time to reflect on what is coming, what we have gained, and what we may not want to lose.

It seems likely that the PCC will move forward with its plan to remove the permanent pews in our building. This has been generally opposed in the past. It will totally change how we use the space for worship and outreach work. I think the decision has been helped by the pandemic, which highlighted the need for the church building to be flexible to allow for all kinds of activities, from socially distanced worship to after-school clubs.

Our projector and sound system have been upgraded, so they can be used to record a live service, and livestreaming with good sound is now possible. Another great gain.

Our church is running an Alpha course. Previously, this would happen in a host’s home or in the upper room of our church. Recent attendance had dropped dramatically over the years since I attended, down to three. But, under lockdown, the course has grown, starting with 13 attendees and increasing to 17. I just held a lockdown Zoom party for my child and found the kids loved it – one in particular, who is on the neurodivergent spectrum, preferred it to the usual party. I wonder if Zoom may actually work better than in-person meetings in certain situations, including this sort of course. For newcomers to church, insecurities about social interaction can be a real distraction to hearing the message. Is Zoom actually a better way?..

Commitment-Phobe is a Christian

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This is an extract from an article published in the April 2021 edition of Reform

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