After this week's changes to COVID rules, we wanted to give you an update on how that affects OCC. The situation is evolving fairly regularly, and so you understandably may have struggled to keep up with how all the changes affect you in church stuff, as well as thinking about your home, work, social, and shopping life!
The short version is that this week's changes make little difference to how we already operate as OCC, and there are ongoing constraints, but also some opportunities.
I am reminded of the exiles we read about in the book of Daniel. Taken forcibly into a foreign land they suffered great constraint, but amid all of that, they remembered God and learned again that he was with them even in their constraint, privation, and suffering. They learned to worship God and live confidently in a new context. As Ruth O'Connell said in leading last Sunday, we "are learning to live and love in a season of limitation."
As it seems likely that we're going to be in this mode for some months, let's safely try to make the most of the opportunities afforded to us to encourage one another:
Opportunities for gathered worship: Sunday services are allowed, with COVID-secure arrangements, as well as smaller events for 'communal worship and devotions'. For us, that permits Communities to meet at TKC if they want to.
Opportunities for children and young people: We are keen to help our children and youth through this season. The guidelines are a bit complex, and so we have reviewed them again with help from David Smith (a lawyer and one of our youth leaders) and have implemented those. Our youth are keen to meet! As well as in-person children's work, weekly content is online.
Opportunities for small gatherings: The Rule of Six allows 6 people from up to 6 households to meet for a meal or other gathering in a private home or restaurant. We think this is good news for people living on their own, and also allows our Communities to meet in smaller groups, as they see fit. It also allows one-to-one in-person pastoral care.
Opportunities for teams to meet: Necessary team meetings (including volunteers) at TKC are permitted by workplace rules, although we continue to use Zoom where in-person meetings are not necessary or participants are shielding or self-isolating.
For more detailed information see this page, which our Covid working group updates regularly as things change.
If you have any questions, do contact the office, and we will do our best to help you!