HOUGHTON ON THE HILL
After careful preparation, and just one week short of six months since we were last there, we were able to meet again in the Chapel for a communion service on the 9th September. The words of Psalm 122 have never resounded more truly. With the early autumn sunshine streaming through the windows it was a time of peace, reflection, hope and something of a sense of homecoming. It was almost possible to put some of the horrors of the past six months out of our minds.
Our re-opening was the result of very careful planning, because the Chapel was still closed, the Church Council couldn't meet there to plan the reopening! A meeting in the garden in front of the Chapel was one solution but the weather forecast was not promising....so we met in the little barn at the back of my home with all the doors open, 'appropriate' said the assembled company 'but it isn't yet Christmas'. It provided the perfect venue and we even managed a cup of tea when all the details had been finalised.
Of course we know that the Covid-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon, but this was a very special new beginning. We continued to have a service have a service at 2.30pm each Wednesday afternoon in the Chapel, one highlight was our 'Dry Harvest Festival' at the end of September when we 'harvested' a large range of dry goods donated by our members (with those unable to attend sending very welcome contributions) for the Oadby Food bank which continues to run at full capacity. For those vulnerable or cautious we also continued to meet Online each Sunday morning at 10.30am.
Our first monthly Sunday morning service happened at the end of October and then, alas, Lockdown 2 happened and we all had to revert to Online meetings. In the meantime the congregation are very active at keeping in touch with those for whom it important to stay at home. Members of the congregation continue to ensure that all is well at the chapel, caretaking, polishing and hoovering, and an end of season tidy up of the garden is imminent (to catch the last green bin collections for 2020!).
Lockdown 2 looks as if it may have a slightly more definite end and, however some restrictions are sure to remain and it is very unlikely that we will have the traditional carol service on Christmas Eve which is attended by friends from the village and others from further afield. We do however have some ideas for something much more low key (no singing, but there are other ways of enjoying Christmas music) just before Christmas when we hope our regular Wednesday afternoon services will have resumed. Finally, no doubt to the amusement of the residents of Main Street we are hoping, as last year, to move my potted Christmas tree (outgrown as a house tree) to the Chapel on a trolley to provide a bit of Christmas Seasonal cheer with pretty lights at the front of the Chapel.