THE Church of England’s collaboration with the cult of lockdown has been hardly surprising from an institution riddled with social Marxism. But outside the C of E some churches have been much more positive for Christianity, and I thought TCW readers might appreciate one such story.
Morecambe in north Lancashire is a once-thriving seaside town that was clobbered by the advent of affordable Spanish package holidays in the 1980s. The playwright Alan Bennett’s childhood memories of Morecambe give the feel of a summer holiday in the 1940s for a family coming into the crowded town by train from Yorkshire. Now the town has a high proportion of drug abusers and alcoholics who have been housed there by social services. Such a lifestyle inevitably takes its physical toll. Mobility scooters buzz around the town, many of them driven by people who could not be described as genuinely elderly. It is possibly arguable that a person in reasonable health is more likely to die from being run over by a mobility scooter in Morecambe than from Covid-19.
Church by the Bay is an independent evangelical church which started in 2011 as a new Christian venture for Morecambe out of Moorlands Church in nearby Lancaster. Before the lockdown it met in a primary school. It started meeting again as soon as it could on Sunday July 5, holding two morning services. In the late summer it made the decision to move to a larger venue, the Alhambra Palace Theatre, originally an Edwardian music hall on the bayfront with a spacious auditorium.
Announcing the move, the church’s pastor, Gerry Straker, said: ‘Being able to meet at the Alhambra is such great news because it means all the church family can be together at one service. We can now share Communion together safely. We can have a music band and there will be plenty of space for new people to join us. We are looking forward to meeting physically again in our new venue and praying for our town of Morecambe in these challenging times.’
Church by the Bay held one mid-week service at the Alhambra in early November before Lancashire was plunged again into total lockdown but started meeting there for Sunday worship in December. In Christmas week it held a carol service in the Alhambra and Mr Straker gave a short talk which I suggest is a role model for Christian communication to unbelieving people in 21st century Britain. Readers can judge for themselves. The talk can be accessed here.