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The Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

Messages from Bishop Mark

Coming into Being

Posted by The Rt. Rev. Mark D. W. Edington on

I think we can all agree that the novelty has now entirely worn off “novel Coronavirus.” A little unexpected time at home is almost always a gift; but it is hard to find any silver lining at all in weeks of disruption, shattered economies, and the unabated fear of infection by a potentially lethal disease.
What is becoming clear is that the lockdown will end—eventually; and it will not end at the same time all across the nations served by the Convocation. That is a little sad, in a way; we have all been in this together, and it would some seem better if we all left our homes and went back into the light (and the church) together, too.
Certainly this much is true: When the lockdown ends, we—and the church—will be changed. We will worship in different, not necessarily familiar, ways. We will still need to observe social distancing practices. We will still have to think twice about in-person meetings. And we will still be haunted by this virus—at least for some months, if not for years.
And we will be changed in another way. Over these past weeks, as our communities have quickly turned to new digital tools to gather online, we’ve reconnected with some old friends—and we’ve found new ones, people who have found their way into the church exactly because we now have a digital door as well as a physical one.
It is just possible that in this moment of worry and waiting, God has set before us a vision of the church that is coming into being. As I’ve visited services around the Convocation in these past weeks, I’ve seen whole families gathered on couches in front of the computer; old friends living in assisted living facilities able to join the church again; new ways of doing youth gatherings across our churches; and new faces who’ve never seen the inside of one of our churches before. 
What if the future we are being called into is one in which we bring all this into the church, when we return?
Jesus always made room for the people on the periphery, the downtrodden, the searchers, the doubters. Perhaps these weeks have taught us that there are other ways—better ways—for us to find and connect with those people in our own day. How will we manage to do both, as we emerge from the shadows? I can’t wait to find out.
The Right Reverend Mark D. W. Edington
Bishop in Charge
Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe

Tags: mission, online church, coronavirus, reconnection