‘Plan B’

Did Boris Johnson’s announcement last week take you by surprise? Or were you organised, prepared, and ready to implement ‘Plan B’? We now go back to compulsory wearing of masks in public places and working from home if we can. Some of us have never stopped wearing masks, others have delighted in exercising their freedom not to. And the prime minister is now facing a backbench rebellion from his libertarian colleagues. If our elected leaders cannot agree what hope do the rest of us have? As Christ’s body here, I pray that we have a lot of hope in getting along. We have two laws to guide us:

  1. The law of the land. We have ample instruction in the New Testament to obey our secular leaders. Look up Romans 13v1-2, Titus 3v1, 1 Peter 2v13-17, and you will see clear instruction. And remember, when these instructions were given the secular authorities were not democratically elected, benevolent leaders. So, we are under obligation to wear face coverings in church, unless we are exempt. There simply is no room for discussion on this.
  2. We are called, as Christ’s body, to care for each other. This can be hard at times, because there are many things over which we might disagree. Especially CoV restrictions. At one extreme, there are those who believe the whole thing is overblown, and those who wish to exercise their right to personal freedom (like Boris’s backbenchers). At the other extreme there are those who are extremely anxious, and, of course, those who need to be especially careful because of existing health conditions. Most of us are somewhere in between. As God’s people we need to respect one another’s opinions and actions, unless God has specifically said otherwise. We must care for the weaker brothers and sisters (Romans 14), and we must also be mindful of one another (Philippians 2v1-3).

As a result, and after much discussion, we have decided that, in order for everyone to feel comfortable we will implement the following:

  1. The old chancel ‘safe’ area will be retained for those who need to be careful. There will be more social distancing here than in the nave.
  2. With the exception of those leading, face coverings must be worn by everyone in church unless, you have a valid exemption. They may not be removed for singing.
  3. We encourage you all to take a Lateral Flow test before coming to a service.

Hopefully these measures will help us to be united. Please do respect them, whether you agree with them or not. The aim is to make St Botolph’s a comfortable and safe place for everyone.

I hope that these precautions enable you to enjoy a worry free and joyous Christmas. In a bleak world, Christmas brings real hope. After Christmas we will be running a short course (only three session) entitled ‘Hope Explored’ to consider what this hope really means. If you might be interested in joining in then send an email to hope@sbots.church and we’ll let you know when it’s starting.

God bless you this Christmas, and may you be filled with joy at the birth of the saviour.  Mark.

One thought on “‘Plan B’”

  1. From the blog post of 24 August:

    “Everyone is entitled to exercise their own conscience, and it is not my place to take sides. The exception to this is that we should all be sensitive to those expressing an irrational anxiety, whilst trying to help them. I’ll write more on this in due course.”

    I’d be interested to read about it too, but we’re still waiting for such a discussion. Unfortunately the latest changes tend to undermine the attitude adopted four months ago….


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