Adapting to new ways of fellowship
By Luchia Robinson
The bells at St Ann’s Church, in Avenue Road are ringing more than they usually would.
Now, every day at 11.00am and again at 7.00pm the bells call local people to daily prayer for the community.
At a time when the Coronavirus pandemic is causing uncertainty and worry, the team at St Ann’s Church are adapting to new ways of fellowship that unites the community, even when apart.
The suspension of Sunday services and the programmes the church would ordinarily run, has meant that technology is now playing a big role in bridging the distance. People are encouraged to send in their prayers via social media, and to watch the live stream on Instagram.
These changes have come with some challenges as Vicar, Jess Swift says: “The people of Tottenham are really diverse and have really different circumstances. Some people don’t have the internet at home, or [social media] wouldn’t be their mode of connecting with people – so it’s thinking about how all of us stay connected to each other, if that isn’t how you live life in general.”
But as Jess also points out, there isn’t just one experience, and people are navigating their lives throughout the pandemic, in various ways.
“Of the conversations that I’m having with the people that go to St Ann’s – they definitely feel drawn into evaluating what’s really important to them, what sustains them, and what is really meaningful – so inevitably that’s drawing them into a deeper spirituality,” said Jess.
“It just makes me wonder if there is a [wider] seeking that is happening right now as people are trying to both sustain themselves in this, whilst also asking bigger questions.”
Now at Easter – a time commemorating Jesus’ death and resurrection, people are faced with contextualising the daily news of death as a result of COVID-19.
“One of the biggest messages of Easter is the message of hope, that even in the midst of death, life emerges, and I’d like to encourage people to keep on keeping on,” said Jess.
“In the midst of all of these challenges, I’ve seen a kindness between people, and I think they are more aware of those who are vulnerable in their community, – there is a sense of unity that’s growing. All of these things are to the benefit of the community.”
For more details of the Morning and Evening Prayer
Phone: 0208 211 8710
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