Manor Road URC – Church News – Sunday 12th July 2020.




So sang the Late and Great Dame Vera Lynn.

This is the first time that I have been able to publish this blog, since March 29th 2020.

I hope you have all weathered the vicious storm of this Covid-19 pandemic, as well as weathering the storm of this lock-down in your homes, as well as the lock-down of being away from Manor Road Church or the particular church you are a member of.

Yes…Yes… I know that I promised that I would keep you all updated as to what Manor Road Church members would be up -to while we were all away from this church, but with very little activity coming from our church, I found myself in that strange editorial decision process of how do I make this blog interesting when I don’t have the connections to church members activities while being away from the church. So I weathered the storm and just kept away from this blog.

I guess some of you would say that I just ‘Copped-Out” of my responsibilities here. Well… I guess there is also some truth in that statement.

I believe for Manor Road Church members, when we were all aware that by mid-march of this year, that this pandemic was pretty serious, we were still non-aware of the true implications that this pandemic and this lock-down would have for the future stability of our church.

Well….let me tell ya… We certainly are a lot wiser now to the truer implications of this pandemic and this lockdown.

The Church Elders had a zoom application meeting this week Wednesday with our Interim Moderator: The Revd. John Campbell.

This Elders meeting was not an in-depth information meeting, but a talk to analyse the strange times our church institution is going through with this pandemic and lock-down, and the initial steps that we as church elders will have to make while we come out of this lock-down.

As a church, this lock-down has made us reflect on ourselves for the first time in fifty years and three months of our existence. Covid-19 has made us change the way we manage our church institution. This new change will eventually be the ‘NEW NORMAL’ of ALL Churches in the United Kingdom for a very long period of time.

My Father the church officer (Fitz Howard) is getting on in years. He has been a church officer at Manor Road Church for over Fifty years. This includes NOT just in the second existence of the church from 1970, but also from the old Presbyterian church.

The church elders understand that Mr Howard needs to slow-down in his work chores in the church, for a man of his particular age. So the Revd. John Campbell and 2 other elders are having talks about this at the moment and will eventually( in time) call my Father for a meeting to discuss his future working schedules in the church.

At the same time because of the implications of Covid-19, The Synod of the United Reformed Church wants more cleaning done in its churches. This is absolutely vital for the protection of EVERYONE that enters into one of its churches, so that nobody has the possibility of being in a position of contacting Coronavirus. The Revd. John Campbell is working on a new cleaning schedule for the church that takes into considerations the deeper cleaning that needs to be done in the church. The idea here for the church officer (Mr Howard) is that more cleaning will be done in the church, but My Father’s working schedule will be less strenuous in the day, hopefully with less working hours in the day for my father. I will be helping my father in this cleaning schedule.

There is an enormous amount of information that the church elders will have to get through and implement into the church building to make it 100% safe, while Covid-19 is still out there.

The Church Elders will be having a number of meetings this month and August, while it constantly changes the way we manage our church institution. In the light of Covid-19, this change effects EVERY SINGLE FACET of our church institution.

For when we eventually return back to the church, there will be a number of changes that we will have to operate as a church congregation.

These changes include the number of people that can actually be allowed in the church. At present, there is a total of 20 people allowed in the church.

There will also be changes in social distancing of people (2 metres apart from each other),No use of hymn books, No passing of the offertory plate, No touching of the plate where bread is placed for holy communion and even not touching hands of biscuits on a plate or tin for after service refreshments.

For myself, being the musician in the church (pianist); the biggest change will be the congregation not being allowed to use hymnbooks and NO SINGING of church hymns. There is the worry that singing can create droplets that can travel in the air and infect someone by this process. Only humming the melody will be allowed of hymns in church. The Revd. John Campbell will be lending the church a Digital Large Screen where the words will be able to be seen by our church congregation.

These changes at Manor Road Church do not just affect our church congregation, they also will affect ALL our community user groups who use our church hall. All Community Group leaders have been asked by the church elders, to provide the safety precautions that they will have to put in place to return to Manor Road Church. This is absolutely vital to protect their group in NOT being able to be in the position of ANYONE in their group being infected with Covid-19. The Revd. John Campbell is also putting a clause in Leaders contracts that takes into consideration the safety precautions that ALL leaders will have to abide by if they return back to Manor Road Church. The Revd. John Campbell will be contacting church leaders about these new contracts in the near future.

I cannot give you all an exact date when Manor Road Church will be able to open again, but from the discussion at the meeting on Wednesday, there is a huge possibility that this could be in early September 2020.

While we slowly come out of lock-down, there will be church news coming out of the Synod again. I will be sharing this news on this blog more on a regular basis from now-on.

So I look forward to sharing this News of local events with you all from our Thames-North Province in the near future.

Goodbye for Now and Do Very-Much take care while you are outside, remembering ALL the important advice that the Government has given to everyone.

Roger Howard.