I’ve started to think of this pandemic season in terms of the Noah story. It started to rain, and Noah and companions built the ark. Then the ark took to water, and the rain continued for 40 days. Then Noah sent out a raven, but there was no land. Then he sent out a dove, and eventually the dove brought back a twig; and Noah knew the flood was over.

It’s a story in three parts – the building, the sailing and the landing: and right now we’re still in the building period. Right now we’re in the middle of calculations and conversations about what measures we can take to get us through the ‘flood.’ I anticipate there’ll be a period when we’re afloat but will still feel powerless. And at some stage we’ll send out the dove.

I’m not going to pretend any of this is easy or welcome, or that anyone has a secret telescope to see months ahead how it will pan out. Nonetheless it’s been a significant time for our online ministry, with worship, discussion, fellowship and song all flourishing on Facebook. We’ve continued to try to be present with the most vulnerable among us and around us. Necessity is the mother of invention – and there’s been a lot of healthy invention this last two or three weeks.

I hope as you read this you know like never before that you are St Martin’s. We’re not just a building, not just a church, not just a dynamic institution – we’re a spirit, animated by a holy spirit: and you make up a vital part of that spirit, perhaps more vital now than in the normal times we so recently and so suddenly left behind. These are tough – for some, terrible – times. But if we emerge from them wiser, more grateful for one another, and clearer in our purpose, they will not have been wasted.

Revd Dr Sam Wells