I have been greatly encouraged recently by two dear friends – one an elder in St. John’s and the other an elder in St. Leonard’s in the Fields. Each in his own way is thinking about God’s guidance and the way forward for the church. It is good that we should be proactive and talk together about how we can shape the inevitable changes that lie before us. Their faith and vision has inspired me to embark on a series of letters opening up the questions and challenges we must face. My own ideas are simply that – my own. They will never amount to anything without your criticism, input and amendment. It is by talking together that ideas are shared, shaped and fine-tuned; adopted or rejected. Please feel free, as this series of letters evolves, to make your own suggestions and to share your own vision.
Change can sometimes be unwelcome and uncomfortable; but, as one of my friends asks: “Is it possible that through the current circumstances the Holy Spirit is leading us into new ways of being the Church?” Can we discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit?
Already we have seen great social change in our own lifetime. We can all remember when every village, locality and community in Scotland had its own Bank, Post Office, Police Station, Doctor’s Surgery, Primary School, and Church. That is now no longer the case. Economic forces, rationalisation and a tendency to centralise have rendered that pattern of community life unviable and unsustainable.
More recently, however, it now seems that we are standing on the cusp of an even greater social revolution. Increasingly our interactions are being conducted online. On line Shopping, Banking, Doctor’s Consultations, Education and Learning, and Working from Home have changed the landscape of our Town Centres. This trend was discernible prior to the Covid pandemic; but has been accelerated throughout lockdown. Shall we ever go back to things as they were; or is this what the future holds?
More particularly, in what ways will a Digital Future change and influence (and hopefully enhance) the Worship, Fellowship and Pastoral Care of the Christian Church? This is the challenge I should like to address in subsequent letters. (Such letters will be all the more positive and relevant with your comments, questions and input.)
More to follow.