The commonly held view is that restoration is all about reinstating things to their original form. But when you think about it, this is both impossible and not necessarily the best outcome. Having binge-watched a lot of restoration-themed car shows, I’m of the opinion that a good restoration is one that both repairs and enhances the original. As we seek to restore parish life beyond the pandemic, we’d do well to take this same approach.
The memorial service held for beloved member Carol Morse on Wednesday provides a timely example of how technology introduced during the pandemic can continue to be used to the benefit of our parish experience and connectedness. In-person attendance for the service was necessarily limited, but our streaming technology allowed for unlimited virtual attendance. Going forward, it will be possible to restore full in-person attendance at funerals and memorial services, while also enabling us to include all those who can’t be there in person due to geographical distance or personal circumstance. This is the type of enhancement that has pastoral implications, as the ministry of our church is extended outward with evangelistic potential as the treasures of our tradition are revealed to an increasingly unchurched world.
This Sunday, Christian churches around the world will celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. Observed seven weeks after Easter, this is a festive time to give thanks as we recall how Christ’s disciples received the power of the Holy Spirit. Part of our own restoration of life as a church community is to feel the Holy Spirit welling up within us, nudging and drawing us back together again in person. When this happens in all its fullness, I have no doubt that our individual lives will be enhanced and enriched. I am also confident that our capacity as a congregation will also increase and broaden as God’s Holy Spirit continues to restore us to newness of life.
Onward in the power of the Spirit,
Gareth Evans serves as the rector of St. Barnabas. He is an inspirational leader who brings significant pastoral experience, a depth of reverence in worship, and a relatable preaching style.