As I write, it’s our one year anniversary. Some anniversaries are, of course, worthy of great celebration, although perhaps this one a little less so. Today (22 March 2021) marks the one year anniversary of our church’s first online worship in response to the pandemic. What a year it has been! There have been plenty of struggles, much that we’ve had to learn and cope with, not to mention the impacts of employment, health and loss – either vicariously or directly.
I wonder how long you expected it to last. If I’m honest, I think I was expecting a couple of months. I was still hanging on to the idea that I might get my planned three month sabbatical in the summer! As time went on, those goalposts kept on shifting – maybe by the end of 2020 there would be some semblance of normality? How wrong that was! As vaccinations are rapidly being carried out across the UK, it gives us hope that those goalposts are much closer. As you read this, you’ll know better than I do as I’m writing now but only God really knows.
We surveyed our church members a few months ago to see how they were doing. There were a range of experiences: some had been minimally affected and others had been hit hard. Mercifully, the vast majority of our church is doing better in their relationship with God, which is a remarkable work of his kindness. It may be that God is using this time to strengthen each of us in our faith. It may be that at the end of the pandemic, whenever it may be, Christians across Wales and the UK, even across the world, will come out more mature, godly and zealous for God’s work.
Our desire, as a magazine, is to be one of the means by which Christians mature and become more godly and zealous, especially as active members within their local churches. As such, we have an abundance of articles in this edition that we hope do just that. Many of the articles inevitably pick up on the pandemic, the challenges it brings and of the way God continues to work in the midst of it all, both here and overseas. Through this edition, we pray, ‘May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word’ (2 Thess. 2:16-17).