Easter Day at St Giles

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

Today, I went to a church service in an actual church building for the first time since I preached at St Mary’s, Thirsk at the end of the Archbishop’s mission in York. That was at the beginning of March.

Nathan has taken the brave decision to open St Giles this morning. They can fit thirty people in safely, and as the standard Sunday congregation is more like 50-60, there will be 3 services today. The first was at 8.30, another happened at 10.30 and the third will be at 6.30 this evening. As the 10.30 is the most popular, I decided not to use up valuable space at that service and to go to the 8.30. This could be the last time I get to go to Nathan’s church on his first Sunday, so unusually for me, I got up early and headed over.

As we all missed Easter, Nathan decided to use the Easter liturgy today. So, Alleluia, Christ is risen!

One of my favourite things about church is the music. I love to sing. So, with all the guidance saying no singing, I’ve been unsure about how much I would enjoy services when churches reopened. But I didn’t need to worry: today was beautiful. Not for the first time in my life, I knew the angels were singing even though we weren’t. Thinking about the resurrection was so powerful today when church buildings have been closed.

I mean, things were a bit different. We stayed where we were for communion, which was very sensible, I think. Nathan used hand gel twice before bringing communion to each of us in our pews and he also wore a mask. Although I couldn’t see his mouth, his eyes had so much meaning behind them. It was different, but still wonderful. There was also a one way system through the building and the doors and windows were all left open for better air flow.

After the service, I wiped down every pew that somebody had sat in and the orders of service that had been used were put aside so that they wouldn’t be mixed up with those being used at the later services. I wiped down all the door handles and ends of pews in case people had touched them on the way in.

It’s taken a lot of thinking, paperwork and prayer. It’s taken a lot of phone calls, explaining, and duct tape stuck to the floor. But hearing that bell ring this morning was so special.

Alleluia, Christ is risen!

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