REV BETTO VIANA shares his thoughts with us for the first time in Pivot
Dear Friends at Broadstone,
Happy New Methodist Year!
Yes, it is September and I do not know where this year has gone. The pandemic, with all the fears, frustrations, troubles, and uncertainties it brought, has swallowed up this year. It does feel like we were consumed by the lockdown. I know a lot has happened this year and some of it was supposed to be a celebration, for example, Rev Sue’s retirement. Many of us are frustrated with the lack of opportunity to say a proper goodbye, but we will need to wait in hope until next year.
Hoping that things will be ‘different’ then. Different…? We do not like ‘different’, do we? That’s why this year has been extremely hard for us. It has been different from anything that we have ever lived before. And it has affected all of us deeply in different ways. I wonder… how was it for you? What are your memories of it? Do you tend to remember more easily the ‘bad stuff’ or the ‘good stuff’? Are you still living in isolation? Or have you jumped to a post-Covid future and feel like you've had enough and want things to go back to normal? Or maybe you have enjoyed the slowing down and the opportunity to find God’s presence in different places. Whatever is your experience or remembrance of this year, it’s time to start asking the question of what the future will look like. The expressions: ‘Go back to normal’ even ‘go back to the new normal’ refer to the past - ‘go back’. And as we all know, we cannot move back to the past, whatever memories we have of it.
So, let’s think about our future, especially our future as a Church. From the first of September, Deacon Gill and I will work closer with Poole and Broadstone among other responsibilities around the Circuit. Some of the wonderful things Rev Sue used to do/be involved with will be done by a lay person, and we will try different things in a different way. First of all, we will start to look at different ways to re-open our churches for worship. And I mean different indeed. We will need to start with no singing, no socialisation, no coffee or tea, 2 metres distance from one another, no shaking hands or conversations and everyone using face covering and hand sanitising. I really hope that you will understand that it needs to be this way and it is not anyone’s fault, but it is for everyone’s safety. Going ahead, during the next weeks and months, we will spend time discussing our mission in Broadstone and around the Circuit and our future as a church in a post-Covid world, in constant change.
But how do we see the future? Before we imagine and plan for it, we need to ask ourselves: ‘Are we visualising the future with glasses of the past?’ And which version of the past are we telling ourselves? Are we trained to repeat the patterns and choices that once responded to the challenges of the past? Or are we looking at the future with God’s eyes – our God that makes all things new? Our God that forgets our past and calls us to give new answers to new situations. God keeps giving us opportunities to start something new that can change the future and sometimes we cannot see it because we are blinded by the fixation on some old patterns, experiences, or ways to do things.
So, that is the question I want to leave with you: What is the change God wants from us today? More specifically, what is the change God wants from you today? Not from others, not from the world, not from the circumstance we are in, but from you. What is the change God wants from you today? What is it that you will do differently today going forward to fulfil God’s future for us?
It is an exciting time to be here at Broadstone. Not an ordinary time, but God’s time. A time when all things will come together to fulfil God’s plan.
Happy New Future!
Rev Betto Viana