The Bishop of Kensington is encouraging Christians to think about the way they relate to one another, as coronavirus cases continue to rise across the UK.
Rev Graham Tomlin told Premier that Covid-19 has left Christians with a “real choice” between relating to others and cutting themselves off.
Although there has been a positive wave of people acting selflessly, Rev Tomlin believes that there is a danger that such behaviour could be short-lived. Due to infection risk, some people are starting to fear their neighbours while others are no longer speaking to strangers.
“I think there's a real choice between us now, in this coronavirus time. Do we choose the way of actually going out from ourselves towards God and our neighbour? Or do we turn back inwards and [continue] in this sort of “inward-looking” way of the world?”
Rev Graham Tomlin is responsible for several churches in West London. When asked about how they are doing, he says that although the restrictions still feel unusual, churches have managed to stay connected despite so few people attending in-person meetings and not even being allowed to sing.
“I'm now going out to our churches in person [and it] still feels strange not being able to sing, not being able to have the wine at communion. […] it still feels odd. But in this time, I think we are learning to find new ways to connect with one another and to connect with God as well.”
Despite the ongoing hardship, Rev Tomlin is upbeat about how well churches have adapted to the needs of the community, particularly in view of the constant and frequent changes to government rules for congregations.
“People have had to reinvent church every few weeks as the new regulations come in," he said. "I think people have been very inventive. They've been very innovative.
“Some churches respond to that better than others. But on the whole, I think churches have done really well at being able to find ways to connect with one another”.