27th July 2020

We are making plans, hopefully to re-open Tyndale on Sunday 6th September. It will (though predictions are best avoided) be a very different experience. Details are being finalised, but it will, of course, involve much of the Covid-19 paraphernalia with which we are becoming, sadly, all too familiar.

Through all this, though, we still want to be able to ‘put on a good show’. Incidentally, spare a thought for all those whose livelihoods are tied up with theatres, concert venues and cinemas. Redundancy and great frustration abound. There’s increasing talk of a ‘cultural desert’ after all this as venues are forced to close up and down the country.

There are parallels with church worship. Services are ‘performances’ of a kind, though the differences should be emphasised. Audience participation is encouraged at, for instance, pantomimes – but is of the very essence of a worship service, in a Baptist church at least. Not that the members of a congregation do any particular thing, but that they do the whole thing – sharing in the prayers; responding to the sermon… singing – one of the things that won’t be possible on 6th September or thereafter – at least for a while.

In fact, elements of entertainment have entered more and more into worship in recent years; worship bands, lighting effects, projected videos, have proliferated. To the extent that any of this breaks down the sense of the whole body of people worshipping, and not merely watching a show, it is to be regretted – and resisted.

Whatever services look like in the new world, please God they will continue to enable everyone to worship.

Michael Docker