We just want to briefly share with you some plans for the days ahead.
You may be wondering when we will be able to meet in person again for our Sunday gatherings. Well, we are continuing to have active discussions with our Sunday venue and they are working towards accommodating us again when restrictions suitably lift (this is highly unlikely to be before mid-June). We have looked at other potential venue options but are holding it lightly as we have always said that when we come back, we want to do it quickly, prayerfully, honourably and safely.
In theory, we could meet now, but there would be no singing, no social interaction and no hospitality. Whilst we recognise for some, merely being in the same space as others would be so welcome, we believe the current restrictions remove from us, as a church family, too many of the core elements that make us who we are. We also have to balance what we gain by being in person with all of its current constraints, compared to what we lose if we transition from gathering online.
We are grateful that we have 422 as a place for people to come and volunteer their time as we continue to restore the building. Not meeting for Sunday gatherings (in a time when it could still feel relationally cold and disconnected), frees up much needed time, capacity and resources to love and serve the city, rather than focusing time and energy on risk management and policing restrictions.
When the time is right, we can’t wait to see you and gather together! We are nearly there but still not quite close enough.
With all of that in mind, we want to share with you two initial steps for the days ahead. We may not be able to gather just yet, or even offer a potential date for when that might be, but as we head towards the easing of restrictions, now is the time to get ready!
Firstly, it’s time for teams. It’s time to prepare. Whether in the room or from your living room, everyone gets to play.
When the time comes to gather again (whether that be on a Sunday or midweek), it might happen quite quickly and we want to be ready. We will need teams in place to facilitate our gatherings. It’s likely that for some time there will be many people who are keen and able to meet in person, whilst others may be more comfortable continuing to meet virtually, so we will build for both.
We are so aware, as a community, we have been on quite a journey! Manchester as a whole has faced a high degree of restriction and we are not just going to be flipping back to what was. Instead, we want to reform what will be and we’d love you to be part of it. Are you new? Are you yet to find a place to be involved? This is the moment!
We’d love you to let us know if you are willing to help. We will be building both in-person and online teams and we’d love for everybody to be part of one or the other. You can let us know here.
Secondly, it’s time for togetherness. From 29th March it will be possible (unless things change) for two households or six people to meet together, in an outdoor space or garden. Where we can/feel able to, we intend to help people build wider connections in Manchester Vineyard than perhaps they have been able to for some time.
We can’t and don’t want to structure or control community, but we do want to be intentional about drawing others in. We miss the natural rubbing of shoulders with others and ability to make natural connections, but we don’t want to miss the moment to invest in the community in this next stage.
The restrictions will hopefully continue to lift and we’ll be able to gather in larger groups as time goes by, but as a first step it might be you are able to host a small gathering (in an outdoor space or garden) or you might like to go to one. This is our time for togetherness and we are keen to seize it (in whatever way you feel most comfortable)! You can let us know here.
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