Glenbrook comes to Christ’s table in the park
Gathered with chairs and picnic blankets, Glenbrook Uniting Church members had their first face-to-face meeting in months on Sunday, 11 October.
Held at the local park across the road from the church, this was a Communion in the Park service.
The congregation arranged the event to meet COVID-safe standards, observing social distancing and registration requirements.
With church member Elaine Alinta acting as a warden, people sat in small groups of 19, with at least 1.5 metres between them.
Glenbrook Uniting Church’s Rev. Elia told Insights that the idea for the communion service initially came out of necessity.
“Because of the size of our church we can only fit 22 people and 20 people in the hall,” she said.
“That’s far less than half our regular congregation.”
“As other churches are moving back to face to face, it’s a really restrictive reality we have to deal with.”
Rev. Elia said the majority of congregants adjusted to online, but missed fellowship and face to face capacity.
“Rather than try to prepare online, gathering, I decided to make communion the focus,” she said.
“I had to think through how to do communion.”
However, as preparations progressed, the service itself opened up new possibilities.
“We come to Christ’s table in the world wherever gather the hungry and hopeful are,” Rev. Elia said.
“It was so great that we got to this first gathering with no hiccups.”
“We could visibly see each other.”
“I had to trust the story and trust the embodiment of it in people, rather than the bread and wine itself.”
“It was heartening, I felt there’s a physical feeling, of a weird kind of love, grief, response when you see your people…in the presence of the community again.”
“It was a bit like a family reunion.”
The plan is to continue communion services in the park once a month. The congregation is also looking at a number of options for in-person worship.
The service marked Glenbrook Uniting Church’s final event for the 2020 Season of Creation.