It is time for plans to come to fruition.
For a while we have been seeking to replace our church organ, previously characterised by the diocesan advisor as ‘not worth maintaining or repairing’. Since October 2020 we have so happily seen the Organ & Lighting Appeal receive donations from many supporters, such that we now have enough for the Organ side of the work. In late July, our previous organ was dismantled and removed from church. This month our specialist contractors, Cartwrights will be building the replacement organ and installing the new console.
While the work is being done, the church will need to be closed. From Friday 6th August to Friday 27th August our church services will be held in the church hall. For three Wednesdays at 10.30am, 11th, 18th, 25th August, we will be in St Luke’s Church Hall at the far end of the Co-op car park on Parkway. For three Sundays at 9am, 8th, 15th, 22nd August, we will be in the church hall. On Saturday 28th August we hope to give the church a preliminary clean (can you help?), ready for services from Sunday 29th August with our replacement pipe organ, which will take a couple of weeks to ‘bed in’.
On Saturday 2nd October we have Ian Tracey, the organist of Liverpool Cathedral, playing a recital. This special event, part of our Harvest Thanksgiving, will be a musical treat one year on from the Appeal launch. Hopefully it will help us appreciate the quality of the new pipe organ and raise more for the Organ & Lighting Appeal.
We have other plans too.
For 18 long months our church services have been badly disrupted by Covid-19 lockdowns. This has been a major setback for our church fellowship, our Christian witness, our church finances and our spiritual wellbeing. It is time, we hope, to return to a more normal pattern of church services. We’re calling it ‘Back to Church’ September.
We will continue the service times of the last 12 months, and we hope that the Sunday services at 9am and 10.30am can be in church with hymn-singing. The Wednesday 10.30am will continue in church. Our Thursday 9am Morning Prayer should be in church. Of our services, we envisage that only Monday to Wednesday Morning Prayer will continue on Zoom.
The Sunday 9am service will be a weekly holy communion from our prayerbooks, with classic hymns from our hymnbooks. Genesis will start at 9.50am in the church hall. The Sunday 10.30am service will be more in the style of our recent Zoom services, with classic hymns on organ and contemporary songs on keyboard (with words on the screen), the first 20 minutes including ‘show and tell’ (when Genesis and parents are particularly welcome) followed by 25/30 minutes including Bible reading, sermon, prayers, interviews, etc. Once a month we will have Holy Communion.
This will be a challenging time for many of us. Many have not been in church for quite a while. Some have got comfortable on Zoom. All of us have missed normality. So it is high time to seek to establish a new normal. For September (and perhaps beyond), we are likely to retain masks in the 9am service at least, and we shall be careful before reintroducing wine in communion. We want to help build the confidence of all who come.
We must acknowledge that these things will take time. So, as well as ‘Back to Church’ September, we plan an Autumn of ‘Church Rehab’. Our teaching series will be from the Letter to the Philippians, such an encouraging letter to a church seeking to grow.
Please pray for us and all who are seeking to re-establish church life at this time. And please join with your brothers and sisters at St Luke’s as soon as you are able.
Yours in Christ,