It may feel rather presumptuous to start a project with ‘post-covid’ in the title when we continue to see infection rates across the globe at fairly high levels. Nevertheless, many churches are beginning to try to work out what is next as they emerge from a surreal 18 months, and this Post-Covid Theology Project is a way of helping them.
Our aim is to provide resources for local churches, parishes and congregations, enabling them to think carefully about the implications for their life, witness and worship. We have in mind local leaders who need to make decisions about pastoral care, patterns of Sunday worship, mission initiatives and the use of their buildings.
This project is not primarily about answers, but rooted in asking good questions which can be explored by churches at a local level.
Download the introductory resources
How this resource came about
Following the impact of the Covid pandemic, many churches are reappraising their ministry and mission. Some have seen growth in numbers, others have witnessed significant loss. Some churches have served their local communities in vital and creative ways. Others have fallen out of relationship with their neighbours. For some there is real anxiety about the future.
Earlier in March this year, Churches Together in England was asked to bring together a wide variety of denominations to reflect, think and discuss together what kind of questions the church needs to ask of itself.
Over a relatively short period during the summer of 2021, we gathered theologians and practitioners from a wide variety of our then 51 Member Churches, and asked them what the most important questions were that needed our attention in the post-Covid era. Churches involved included Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Quakers, The United Reformed Church, Greek Orthodox, The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Ground Level Network, Churches in Communities International and others (a full list of participants can be found on pages 4-6 of the project’s Introduction document).
Reflecting together as churches
The change to a hybrid pattern of worship seems here to stay, but what are the implications of this, and how do we deepen participation for all, whether online or gathered in a building?
During the pandemic, churches were ready to offer help in their communities and all manner of new opportunities to serve were rapidly envisioned and implemented. What might be the opportunities now, with mental health concerns rising and some vulnerable families in crisis? What are the theological considerations as we collaborate with others?
The pandemic has vividly exposed our vulnerability and mortality. What does this say about the human condition that had, perhaps, become overshadowed by pride and self-confidence? What inequalities did it reveal, and how might pastoral responses reflect our convictions about the Christian faith?
Pragmatic answers to some of these challenges are not hard to find, but often lack the theological reflection that helpfully suggests caution or encourages implementation. The Post-Covid Theology Project aims to provide the space to reflect together, engage in conversations and tell stories.
This project will roll-out areas for consideration over the coming few months, spaces for telling of stories, and perhaps the beginnings of answers to the challenges we as churches face. All so that together we might be the effective body of Christ in this nation, bearing witness to God’s saving grace in Christ Jesus.
Later in spring 2022 we hope there will be resources about church life and worship.
We hope that the project might help you reflect locally together – sharing what you consider to be vital questions for your community and churches together groups.
Find out more
For more information, download the resources above, or contact Ben Aldous, CTE’s Principal Officer for Mission and Evangelism.