A source of reflection and prayer
Richard Bradbury is a member of Ground Level Network (one of CTE's Member Churches) and is a CTE Trustee, as well as the CTE Enabling Group Deputy Convenor.
The Ground Level Network consists of about 80 churches spread across the country in both rural and urban locations. Churches vary in size from 30 to 1200 and work in a variety of communities and settings. Some churches have their own buildings but many do not. There are also many professional people scattered throughout the network. Thus, the challenges these churches have faced have been varied.
Some of the urban churches have experienced a drop in income as members have been furloughed or made redundant. Almost universally, churches have moved online and taken on a distributed form of pastoral care. Nearly all leaders identify that they are as busy or busier now than they were before lockdown. The incidence of Covid related cases and deaths has been very low in our churches.
However, the move to online church has been an opportunity that has brought technical gifting to the fore. In addition, the increase in audiences for our services have required us to think through what we do, why we do it and how to do it better. This, we believe, will reap dividends in the future.
As a Network, we have always related to other similar networks such as Pioneer, and larger churches such as Kings Church in Peterborough and C3 in Cambridge under the title Partners for Influence. We have also been involved in Gather. This has given us opportunities to share best practice and to support one another in many different ways. In addition, we are committed to working across towns and cities with local ecumenical groups and supporting and praying with others wherever possible.
This crisis has come at a time when we were already considering prophetically what God is doing in the nation at this time. This is a source of reflection and prayer for us as we move forward.