How we’re ‘doing church’ now…

Now the government have lifted COVID restrictions, we’re into a new phase of doing life – and church – while the COVID virus is still around. So how are we doing things in Hodge Hill?

Loving God, and loving our neighbours as ourselves

While COVID infection rates remain high, we will continue to love our neighbours (as we ourselves) by placing the highest priority on SAFETY and INCLUSIVITY in all that we do as church (see our ‘guiding principles’ here). As a committed Inclusive Church, we want no one to feel excluded from full participation in our church community here in Hodge Hill, and we reject and seek to dismantle all exclusions and divisions rooted in gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, physical & mental health, and age. We affirm the recent statement written by Naomi Lawson-Jacobs, Emma Major & Katie Tupling, reminding all of us of the vital place of disabled and clinically vulnerable people within the life of the church.

That means that we continue to offer weekly worship packs – either delivered to your doorstep, or shared electronically via email (or our church WhatsApp group). We will also continue to record the readings and reflections for each week, which are available (from every Saturday evening) on our dial-up reflection phone line: 0121 227 5533.

We are also continuing a monthly, outdoors ‘Muddy Church’ gathering, in one of our local green spaces. This is as much ‘church’ as anything else that we do – an opportunity (for all ages) to connect with God, with each other, and with the natural world around us. It includes opportunities to wander and explore, to reflect on your own and with others, to pray, and to share communion together. Each Muddy Church gathering is advertised via our Facebook page.

There are now also weekly ‘Inside Church’ gatherings, at the Hodge Hill Church building (242 Coleshill Road B36 8BG), at 9am and 10.30am on Sunday mornings. To ensure the safety of all who attend, we are continuing to limit numbers (which means you need to book your place), space out the chairs, keep doors open to ventilate the space, and ask you to please wear a face mask (unless you have a physical or psychological condition that means that’s difficult for you). You can book your place at an ‘Inside Church’ service by texting Al on 07738119210 by Thursday evening each week.

At our ‘Inside Church’ services, we serve you the bread and (non-alcoholic) wine of communion in your seats, using individual wafers and cups (in line with normal URC practice). We continue to ensure high levels of hygiene, including sanitising our hands on the way into church – and by those serving communion. Our ministers (those leading the service) are also committed to a weekly pattern of lateral flow tests, within 24 hours of Sunday services – and we encourage other attendees to do likewise, if you’re able. In our church community we love singing together: but for the moment we will do that only for the final part of the service, where we will be outside in the church garden, in the fresh air, safely distanced from one another.

All other activities that take place in the Hodge Hill Church building will continue with similar measures in place: with limited numbers (in line with our building risk assessments), wearing face masks, physical distancing, and sanitising hands.

Re-connecting with each other, with God and with ourselves

The last year has been overwhelming for all of us, we’ve lost beloved members of our church community (among many others in the wider world), and even now, there are many aspects of life that continue to cause stress and anxiety for many of us. Over the next few months, we want to take every possible opportunity…

  • to spend time together relaxing, re-connecting, and having fun together
  • to spend time catching up with each other and sharing our experiences and reflections on the past year, and our hopes and plans for the coming months – paying attention to our own physical and emotional well-being and that of others
  • to offer quiet spaces to reflect and pray – to connect with God, reflecting together on our past, present and future
  • to host some gatherings to bring our griefs and losses to God, remembering loved ones who we have lost in the past year (or longer ago)

All these will be advertised via our church Facebook page – and our weekly news sheet.

If you’d like to receive the news sheet (via email) – or if you have any questions or comments about what we’re doing here at the moment – text or email Al on 07738119210 / hodgehillvicar@hotmail.co.uk.

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