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6 September 2020: Open-air serviceGroups of people sitting on a lawn facing the eastern end of Gothic church

Our church has started returning to something like normal. This morning we held an open-air service, as we do every year. So far the weather has always been kind to us.

Our churchwardens and other volunteers put white circles round areas where each “bubble” could sit. There was a large circle in the middle for the loudspeakers and the service leaders. Around this were smaller circles for families and on the outside yet smaller circles for couples and single people.

We all had to book for the service in advance. My wife and I sat in a “couple bubble”. The church band set up their instruments by the path that runs past the eastern end of our church but the sound was relayed through the loudspeakers in the centre. A friend of ours reckoned there were around 100 people at the service. There were a few I didn’t recognise.

Our Rector led the service. We weren’t allowed to sing but we were able to listen to hymns sung live by the band and recorded by the church choir and by our Director of Music and his wife.

The young families had made various preparations for the service during the “Virtual Messy Church” last Sunday. The first reading was read by one of the boys from Sunday Special. It was taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the passage in which he compares the Church to a body which has many members, each of which has its own essential part to play. The reader’s sister illustrated the talk by assembling a potato-head body as each part of the body was mentioned.

One of our fellow lay ministers read the second reading. This was followed by a short address by the Rector before prayers led by our Curate.

The weather was good and it was an uplifting occasion, although I did find myself hoping the sound amplification was not annoying the neighbours too much.

Before and after the meeting we were able to talk (at a social distance) to those in other “bubbles”, some of whom I had not met in person since the lockdown started.