We’re open!

The Coronavirus has affected life for us all in many ways. Church had to close for several weeks, and we couldn’t celebrate Easter together. At last, on Sunday (5th July) we were able to open for Mass. Obviously precautions had to be taken and we were very careful to follow the guidelines offered to us. A kind group of volunteers cleaned and helped make us ‘Covid secure.’ We were aware that, understandably, a good number of people felt it best not to venture to Mass yet.

The day turned out to be a day of great blessing. We felt the Spirit of holiness and love moving among us. Paul, who acted as steward for the Mass has written about his experience of the day:

“I have to admit that on Sunday morning as I opened the church doors for worshippers to enter in, I felt nervous, the type of nervousness that is felt in the pit of the stomach, and it took me by surprise. I wondered whether it could have been excitement at being back in church for the first time in so long; or it was just because I was worried whether I would get everything right as a welcomer in this new world? Whatever it was about, the feeling was intense; perhaps I was being moved by the Holy Spirit? 

As soon as I opened the doors people began to arrive and whilst I was looking forward to seeing old friends, the first two people to arrive were completely new to me which was a joy. One man came to Mass that morning because he had a seriously ill child in the hospital. He wanted to be baptised. I showed him to a seat with the promise that I would get a Priest to speak with him. Mother Kate almost immediately walked through the door and of course was happy to speak with him, now I knew the Holy Spirit was at work. 

True to our values of welcome and inclusion; that man was baptised without question and he received the sacrament during the Mass. On that special day when our fast was broken, this guest in our home was invited to the front of the queue to partake in that most special of all meals and I am not ashamed to admit, I cried! My tears were not of the tears of sentiment, they were visceral, I was moved by the Holy Spirit.

Christ was present at Mass on Sunday, present in the Blessed Sacrament, present in our visitor who needed our love and hospitality and present in the gentle and affirming presence of all the old friends that did walk through the door.  Such is the strength of our community, I truly believe the old saying to be true that those not physically there were “there in spirit” so all in all it was a very special morning.”

About stchrysostoms

St Chrysostom’s is an Anglican (Church of England) parish church in Manchester, UK. We’re an inclusive, diverse and welcoming faith community rejoicing in our Anglo Catholic tradition, where people of many differing backgrounds make friends. Find our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2364267899/
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