Priest hopes caring will be Covid-19’s lasting legacy
PUBLISHED: 15:00 19 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:00 19 May 2020
A long-serving priest hopes caring for one another will be a lasting legacy of the coronavirus crisis.
Rev Canon Christopher Ivory retires at the end of this month after 17 years at King’s Lynn Minster.
Lockdown means there can be no leaving service for the foreseeable future.
“I’m very busy trying to get everything in order for others to find what they need and be able to carry on without too much disruption, but there won’t be any opportunity to thank people for the privilege of being part of the life of the town and many aspects of the life of the wider community,” he said.
“Not just the congregation I have served, but many people across the community have been welcoming, supportive of me as they are generous in their commitment to Lynn and its people.”
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While the imposing church, which dates back to the 12th century, has been closed for prayer and services since lockdown, both clergy and congregation have been doing their best to support the community.
“What has been really encouraging about this time is people taking care of one another,” said Rev Canon Ivory.
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“One example of that has been doing shopping for people, but beyond that, people have kept in contact by phone, especially with the most vulnerable, people living on their own, or those with no family close by.
“Not just among church members, but across the local community, we have all tried to make sure that no one is lonely, isolated or in need.
“I hope that sense of neighbourliness and common concern will be a lasting legacy of this time and the benefits of seeking the best for everyone will not be lost.”
MORE - Lynn traders defiant they will survive Rev Canon Ivory said churches would take some time to readjust to returning to organised worship as lockdown eases.
“Re-opening will be tentative,” he said. “I guess that funerals and weddings, with very few people attending, will be the start. People whose weddings are on hold are among those I feel most sorry for. “Ordinary Sunday services will feel very odd, with people sitting apart. There’s no shortage of space in many churches, but being spread out won’t create much sense of being together, and it’s likely we won’t even be able to sing together.
“One thing that will be better is that the services streamed online will be able to include more people taking part more easily – it will seem more authentic and therefore it will be easier to engage with. A good deal of determination and hard work will be needed to rebuild a real worshipping community.”
He said both the town and its landmark church would bounce back, adding: “Vision and leadership will be needed, but more particularly, it needs everyone to hold on with determination in the knowledge that Lynn is an exceptionally fine town, with a unique heritage that will be the foundation of a great future.
“It’s not just about getting back to where we were, but recovering the trajectory of improvement by holding on to the vision and never losing hope.”
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