Update from our Pastors Andy and Andrea Freeman:
Last Sunday was a momentous day. Did we have a baptismal service? No. Not allowed! Was the church overflowing with people? No. Not allowed! But we met, for the first time since the middle of March. For a church which has never closed despite floods, snowstorms and other potential challenges, that is a long, long time of no services in the building
The guidance from the Government has been thorough in order to keep people safe and the list of ‘don’t do’ or ‘shouldn’t do’ is very long but that must not make us a ‘can’t do’ church.
So we have to be creative. But that shouldn’t be a problem. God is a creative God. A short walk out of Elland soon confronts one with the beauty of our natural world – the ducklings waddling down the canal path, the hazy mist over the Calder Valley, the pair of ears of a deer poking up from amongst the foliage near the old Mink Farm…and then just a bit of a drive and the wild moors which set the scene for Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, the sweeping valleys of the Yorkshire Dales, and the stunning scenery of the Lake District.
Wherever one looks there is a blueprint for creation – a beauty that has a harmony to it that cannot be replicated by humankind, that speaks of a plan and a purpose for the world and for humanity, and that speaks of a lavish, loving and relational God, the full extent of God’s love being expressed by Jesus on the cross, dying for the sins of anyone who will confess their sin and ask him into their lives. This blueprint of creation has a cohesion and a purpose to it that did not happen purely by chance. Psalm 19:1 says “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
How does that translate into church at this time? Do we follow the Government’s advice? Yes – the Bible is clear that we submit to governing authorities. Do we give in and say we can’t do it? No – God says that his ‘grace in sufficient for us…..because his power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). We need his power and his creativity.
So there’s worship – no drums, no keyboard, no singing, no blown-into instruments but our hearts are over-flowing with worship for God as we worship to recorded songs…group prayer becomes ‘mobile prayer’ and for the first time our congregation are encouraged to switch their phones on during the meetings, not switch them off! Group discussions become What’sApp discussions. Hugs and kisses become big smiles and waves…..and in our weakness and inability in this context, God meets with us and enables his church to be built. And when we meet with God, every day is purposeful, every day is momentous, and he makes a way where there seems to be no way.
If you want to meet for a chat, if you would like us to pray with you, if you would like a Bible or if you would like to join us for a service, please don’t hesitate to contact us.