Most of us will be spending a lot of our time responding to the immediate issues thrown up by the coronavirus pandemic. That may involve pastoral care of church members, practical assistance in our local communities, and an awful lot of online meetings!

If you are anything like me, however, you are probably also beginning to think about what the future will look like. We are starting to see scientists raise such matters as the need to seize the opportunity to take action on environmental issues, for example.

Churches and Christian leaders are also beginning to think about the future. That is encouraging: as a historian, I look back a century to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-19, and to be honest I’m not sure that it made anything like as much difference to church life as one might expect, certainly not in my own context. Whether it impacted particular theologians I don’t know. So I hope we don’t miss the opportunities to see good come out of this horrible time.

I’d like to know how, in your area, it is affecting inter-church relationships and co-operation, and in particular relationships between the two communities which LOI seeks to serve. Do you see a parallel to the closing of political borders, or a readiness to stand together and support one another, perhaps even a ‘redeployment of resources’ like that seen in some health-care sectors, where people switch jobs and workplaces in order to provide support where it’s most needed? It would be good to feature stories from around the world: please send them!

If it is true that Orthodox and Evangelicals need to relate to one another and benefit from each other’s gifts, it must be equally true – and even more urgent – now. Together we have a message of hope: CHRIST IS RISEN!

Tim Grass

 

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