Journey Out of Lockdown

St Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
May 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

As we continue to journey along our roadmap out of lockdown it had been really good to see so many people returning to church. Last Sunday, at the 10.00am service, there were sixty-nine people in the building (all well socially-distanced) and a further fifty-four ‘hits’ on our YouTube channel. Several of the ‘hits’ were from homes where more than one person was watching.

The decision about whether to come back to church or to worship from home is, of course, entirely individual and we recognise fully the fact that some are either unable to come or simply not yet ready to return. As the second vaccines are administered and time goes by we hope that more will feel able to return but, in the meantime, we should be very grateful for the technology (and the very talented operators of the equipment) which allows us to be the body of Christ in this place — whether physically or virtually.

Whether presiding or preaching, I really do feel that those who are watching from a distance are very much part of the worshipping community and my hope is that they, too, feel ‘in touch’ with what is going on.

Technical expertise in the parish also allows us to have our monthly ‘Sunday Plus’ services on a Sunday afternoon as well as our weekly Zoom coffee sessions, Thursday evening service of Compline and a book Group! We were also able to take part in a most inspiring Lent Course via Zoom.

So, even those of us (including me, the chief of Luddites) who are uncertain — or even dismissive — of technology have benefited from changes in church life which have allowed us to stay in touch.

For many, one of the most difficult aspects of the current regulations has been our inability to take part in congregational singing. We remain grateful that we can reflect quietly on the words of hymns as the organ is played but we all recognise, I think, that it’s not quite the same as offering the praise of our lips as our voices blend together. This, of course, is where those who ‘worship from afar’ have the advantage: they can sing as lustily (and as out of tune) as they wish!

My point in writing all of this is:

  • To give thanks for what we have;
  • To help us realise we can still be the body of Christ;
  • To accept that our pattern of worship might never be quite what it was;
  • To recognise that this might be a way of prompting us to think afresh what it is that honours God most.

However you feel happiest at the moment, please never lose sight that God receives our worship and hears our prayers.

Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship our spirit finds is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne, we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one— our comforts and our cares.

With every blessing,


We have been saddened by the loss of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and offer our sincere condolences to Her Majesty the Queen, Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

God of our lives,

we give thanks for the life of Prince Philip,

for his love of our country,

and for his devotion to duty.

We entrust him now to your love and mercy,

through our Redeemer Jesus Christ


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