The last couple of weeks we have been holding physical meetings whilst live streaming for those who still can’t come out either because they are shielding or in a more vulnerable category. We made two changes to what we had been doing this past week.
First, having worked out how to do it safely, we conducted communion for those who were able to attend. If you’re wondering how we did it, basically like this. We used pre-cut bread on cocktail sticks to avoid cross contamination. The sticks made the bread easier to pick up and avoided many hands touching the plate and any other pieces of bread. We also used the standard issue single-use plastic shot glasses (are they more properly ‘communion cups’? I doubt the locals would know the difference), spaced apart with a few gaps between each cup in that wooden communion cup receptacle thing we all use. The cocktail sticks and cups were all thrown away at the end.
Everything was covered with a cloth throughout the service. The preamble to communion was done away from the table. When the time came to hand it out, the person distributing it donned a mask and took it round. Except wearing the mask, it was largely as normal to be perfectly honest.
Second, we have up to recently used one person to lead and preach. This is mainly due to constraints of having to live stream from homes and having to have the technological ability to do that from our houses. Attempting to have one person lead while another preaches, if you are live streaming from two different locations, made it more difficult than it was worth. Because we wanted to include other elements of our service on the live stream, like singing, again we were limited as to which households could fulfil what was required. So, for those reasons, all the preaching and leading prior to being able to meet physically has been conducted by me and one other person throughout the lock down.
Yesterday, however, we were able to return to the one leader/one preacher model that we prefer. That was, partly, due to the fact that the person preaching (a third person who is now able because we are meeting physically) was due to speak but because we were introducing the new element of communion under government guidelines, we thought it would be most helpful if I led that. So, for the first time since the lock down was imposed, we had one preacher and a different meeting leader.
Both things were relatively straightforward and take us a small step closer to being ‘back to normal’.