Covid and the Congregation

I think that the time when it becomes clear – or at least clearer – what Covid has done to our congregations is coming nearer. I have one perspective on it from my place in the pew – another from clergy friends and some to whom I try to give support in conversation on line

it’s been tough for clergy. And hard to hold together a breadth of congregational life. There is rebuilding to be done. And maybe – just maybe – Covid will be seen to have made it possible for us to get rid of some things whose time was long past

I’ve always been interested in the ‘fuzzy boundaries’ which are characteristic of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. We don’t for the most part do clear-cut ‘in or out’ membership. Indeed sometimes we have difficulty defining what membership means. Fuzzy boundaries – a sort of permeable edge to the church – accept that people are on a journey. Some are moving closer and others further away. One of my clergy friends used to say that ‘our mission field is already present on the periphery of our churches. And I like that idea and the suggestion within it that God is already present and at work beyond the places which we can reach.

I suspect that Covid has made it difficult to exercise that kind of ministry. We’ve been reduced to limited numbers – masks – no music … it’s been really hard. If I was active in ministry now, I think I would be hoping that before too long I could be getting back to congregation building. And I think I would be trying to work out whether the online world is going to have a continuing part to play in helping us to reach out across those boundaries

Of which more another day …