Pastoral Letter: w/e 11th September 2021

Dear Friend from Bridport United Church, Uploders Methodist Church or Hope & Radipole United Reformed Churches,

A couple of weeks ago I attended a sad and yet really uplifting service at Wyke Regis Methodist Church.  It was sad because it was its closing service as the Stewards felt they had reached the end of their energies to keep it open.  It was uplifting because together we celebrated the ministry that has been demonstrated faithfully there for well over a century.  

We had a rousing sermon from Rev'd Gwyneth Owen and, with over 100 folk in the chapel, I felt like I personally passed a watershed moment in this period of pandemic.  
I confess that, having so much looked forward to congregational singing together, when it was allowed again it somehow felt it that something significant was missing?
I suppose it didn't help that we cautiously continued to wear masks and sung sitting down and I had deliberately initially chosen gentle hymns.  But even ‘tub-thumping’ ones on my second Sunday didn't seem to do the trick?  However, at the Wyke service we took the next step and stood to sing.  I know the reasons why we had kept to sitting made a lot of sense as there would be less spreading of aerosol matter … but somehow it became passionless?  

Standing up to sing gave us back something significant that we (or at least I) have been missing and ever since then, especially as at Bridport and at Uploders where we are now able to stand too, I genuinely feel, having taken so far so many small or tiny steps back to ‘normality’ that at long last we had taken a much bigger one to return to the sphere of familiarity and maybe the ‘new normal’ we have been talking about for over a year?

I also see more and more folk reappearing, hopefully feeling the old confidence and comfort of worshipping together, without the negatives of slipping into being gung ho and complacent about the continuing risks?  I believe that at long last we are on the road back to proper fellowship and passionate worship and I for one am feeling much happier!  I hope you are too!
  1. There will be no Video or Zoom  Services for the rest of this month, though last week’s Soul Space is available here (with reflection from Jennie McGinlay):
  2. This Sunday at Bridport United Church we have our 10:30 Harvest Festival Service led by Rev'd Peter Clark, followed by a Bring & Share Lunch.  Ros Hilliard is overseeing the refreshments and would be most grateful for ideas of numbers intending on joining us for lunch. Please also let Sue know if you are planning on coming to the Farewell Service for me at 4pm on 26th September followed by ‘Afternoon Tea at the Ritz!’ 
  3. Coffee mornings have recommenced on both Wednesdays and Saturdays and this Saturday (12th) we will hold another ‘Big Breakfast!’  Yum!!  There will aloo be refreshments and cakes at Uploders Chapel as we host the Ride and Stride visitors.  Double yum!
  4. Advance notice of a Big Green Week event being hosted at Bridport United Church on the evening of 21 September 2021: 

Blessings from your Minister: Peter



Rev'd Peter Clark
URC Minister of the Bridport & Dorchester Joint Pastorate