Vicar's letter

Dear Friends,

In last month’s magazine, we mentioned that we are shortly to begin live streaming our indoor services at St Lawrence.  This decision is one that many churches have taken in light of the events of the last 18 months or so and is motivated by a number of considerations. 

Our church buildings being closed for so long, coupled with a cap on numbers of those attending when we returned to worship and then the fact that many are still advised to avoid indoor spaces with others, means that it is a natural step for us to take – making our services accessible to both those who cannot come along, but also to those who are new to church and might just be wondering what it is all about!  In this way, live streaming will be a ‘shop window’ to the worshipping aspect of our church life and – I hope – will encourage these same people to come along to physical services and see that church is much more than about Sunday mornings – it is about how we live out our faith and God’s call to love, in the wider community. 

No doubt some of us are aware of the many ongoing debates both within the Church itself and the national press about the future of our church buildings and indeed the parish system.  Live streaming our services takes people into the heart of our beautiful, historic, yet living and breathing building – a place where Christian worship still takes place, the sacraments are still celebrated and prayers for our parish and world, are still said - as they have been for centuries in St Lawrence.  Live streaming our services then shows us and indeed all around us that our church building is still central to the worshipping life of our church and community and is open to all.  The equipment that we are installing is not just for the benefit of churchgoers.  Just like the church itself, it is here for the whole community.

With all this in mind, I would be really interested to hear from anyone who would like to help us operate this new system.  We have a few willing volunteers, but a rota with a number of names on it would be wonderful.  The new system which is specifically designed for churches, is not complicated to use and is obviously helped by the fact that St Lawrence is not a big church.   In other words, we are not needing numerous cameras – far from it.  So, if this appeals to you or indeed anyone that you know, I would love to hear from you.  Similarly, if any younger people who are interested in this kind of thing (they seem to be able to deal with this technology in their sleep!) would like to join the team, that would be wonderful.  All that we would need to ensure is that anyone under 18 was accompanied by a parent.

Finally, in taking this step we are by no means assuming that everyone has access to a computer or tablet.  Please be assured that I will continue to endeavour to stay in touch with details of our worship and as things ease I am hopeful that pastoral visiting and Home Communions can begin again for those who would like it.  Similarly, for those who do have access to a computer or tablet but are unsure as to how to access live streaming, please do let me know.  The new system will be easy to use via YouTube, but please do get in touch if you would like someone to talk you through how to do this.  Both I or many others would be very happy to do so.

With every blessing,