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Going back to Church – is my absence a sign of a wavering Christian faith?

Tom Winnifrith
Monday 14 December 2020

Other than for my father’s funeral, I have not been to church since the start of the ludicrous lockdowns in March. For a while our Church here in the last village in Wales was closed but in September it sort of re-opened, though this family did not go.

Was that a loss of faith by myself and the Mrs? I suppose we both had other things on our mind such as my father and then the birth of Jayarani. And news that, as part of the covid restrictions, there would be no coffee and chocolate biscuits after the service would have made it harder to take Joshua. For him, while he enjoys being blessed by the priest and playing with the toys provided, his own very enjoyable eucharist is one with chocolate biscuits. That for him is THE point of going to Church.

I cannot speak for the Mrs but the utterly ludicrous restrictions that the Church of Wales and Church of England has placed upon those wishing to worship have greatly annoyed me. As I explained to the woman who buried Dad, there is no science or logic behind what you insist upon at all.  We will all die in the end and whether it is covid, flu, cancer or whatever, one day we will meet our maker. Locking up churches, wearing face coverings and keeping one’s distance did not ward off the plagues (where the survival rate was a lot less than 99%) in centuries past and has done sod all to combat Covid.  I would have hoped that a more muscular church would have helped the faithful prepare collectively for that day of personal judgement. But the Church is run by bedwetters and I should have known better.

However, a neighbour who has been attending St Chad’s since the restart sent us an email with details of a service on Christmas Eve.  There will be no Christmas day service as churches must be empty for 72 hours between services to allow Mr Covid to go away. That is even during Christmas when, following scientific advice, our leaders have told us that Mr Covid is having a break so we can relax lockdown a bit.

Attendance at the Church is restricted so you need to book in advance so I asked if they could accommodate two adults, a child and a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. I have not lost my faith and I want Joshua reminded of why Christmas is Christmas so I shall don a pointless face nappy, social distance from the Mrs and attend. But as for regular attendance, I fear the Church and its silliness will push me away. And that is even before the vicar, almost certainly as it is de rigeur these days for the CofE and CofW, uses the nativity story as a platform to lecture me about the plight of the poor peace-loving Palestinians at the hands of the wicked Jews.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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