At Pinner Baptist Church, we can’t wait to be able to gather together again as we used to! However, before we get too used to being "back to normal", we feel it’s essential to take some time to gather as a church family to reflect on what God has done in our lives over the past year, and to share our experiences.

For some of us, there will have been grievous loss, as relatives and friends may have been very ill with the virus or even passed away. For others, there will have been painful loneliness and isolation, or the strain of home-schooling and shielding. And yet there will be some who have found great positives in the slowing down of life and increased time spent together as families. And throughout the pandemic, joyful life events have continued as children have been born and couples have got married. 

In Romans 12:15, the Lord exhorts us to mourn with those who mourn and to rejoice with those who rejoice. It is important that as a church family we are able to be honest with one another – that we can share when things have been difficult and when the Lord has seemed absent, but also when things have gone well, and His presence has seemed very near. 

It may be a good idea to host this event, or smaller ones like it, around a meal, as a means of deepening fellowship and expressing thanks. Throughout the Old Testament, we see leaders like Moses, Solomon and Ezra gathering the whole nation together at significant moments, to lament, commemorate and celebrate, and almost always these gatherings involved a feast. This seems all the more poignant now given how long it is since we have been able to fellowship together in this way.


Adam Thomas Steer, a member of Pinner Baptist Church and project director for Hope 15:13, which is behind the initiative, comments: The aim is to encourage congregations to pause before diving back into normal” life. We have all been profoundly affected and possibly even transformed by the events of the past year and more, and those changes need to be incorporated into how we go forward as churches and communities. We feel it is important to take time in-person to bring the events of the past year before the Lord with thanksgiving, lament and reflection. And we may well eat together too, reminding ourselves what it is about community that we’ve missed so much!”

Some suggestions for a service or event to mark Freedom Day’ and our movement out of lockdown:

  • Allocate some time to remember those who have passed away over the past year, from coronavirus or other causes, whose funerals had to be kept small.
  • Allocate some time to celebrate the joyful life events that have occurred – weddings, new children and more!
  • Consider asking some people to prepare a testimony in advance. It may be worth aiming for a variety of different experiences to try and represent all.
  • Make space to consider those in the church who may still have to shield, for example due to ongoing immunological conditions.
  • Take some time to pray and ask for God’s direction for the coming months.

For more information, download the full Hope 15:13 resource for free here