14 December 2023

Exploring lessons learnt from the pandemic

Covid-19 and the church online symposium

On Tuesday 12 December, over 60 evangelical Christians from across the UK gathered for an online symposium to explore lessons learnt and reflections from the pandemic affecting churches. This comes as the UK’s Covid-19 inquiry looks into pandemic’s impact and government responses.

This free interactive webinar, hosted by Affinity welcomed Christians with an interest in this discussion, whether as those who championed lockdown measures, held very strong reservations, or were somewhere in between.

The 3 hour event recognised the opportunity for reflection in exploring what the Covid-19 pandemic taught us about the health of the church – spiritually, theologically and relationally. It also exposed some differences in our understanding about the role of the state, and about how seriously we judged the degree of real jeopardy from Covid

Panellists included representatives from national and local church ministry, the Christian Medical Fellowship, politics and law.

There was also a message from the former Faith Minister, Lord Stephen Greenhalgh who spoke about his concern that lockdown measures for churches lasted too long and were not deemed essential in relation to other parts of society. It was also acknowledged by the former Minister of Faith that the Government needed to work harder to widen its faith communities contacts at a national level.

Lord Greenhalgh praised churches for the work they did during the pandemic but reflected that, moving forward, there needs to be a greater relationship between churches and local and national authorities.

Graham Nicholls, Director of Affinity Gospel Churches in Partnership and chair of the event said:

This symposium on the pandemic helped us consider together many issues which the evangelical church as a whole needs to reflect on, including the theology of church and state and our mission to bring hope in crisis. The discussion included a wide range of views but the forum was genuinely a space for differences to be voiced and heard. I am grateful for the generous way the conversation was conducted so we could tease out some important principles.

There is more work to do, but one thing that stood out to me was the need for us to be ready to repent where we have acted wrongly during the pandemic and to forgive one another.

Forgiveness is a profoundly Christian virtue and it’s desperately needed in our wider society as the Covid Inquiry continues its work and some seem intent on merely blaming others.

A full recording of the symposium has been made available to watch for free.


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