Comment from Harborough churches: “I don’t want things to go back to ‘normal’!”

This week's column has been supplied by Phil Walter, Pastor of Harborough Community Church in Bath Street

By Philip Hibble
Monday, 20th April 2020, 10:57 am
Updated Monday, 20th April 2020, 10:58 am

Phil Walter, Pastor of Harborough Community Church in Bath Street

“I don’t want things to go back to ‘normal’!”

During this time when 'normality' takes on a different meaning, I have been encouraged to see the way in which people have shown care for others, often at a cost to themselves.

Phil Walter, Pastor of Harborough Community Church in Bath Street

I am particularly thankful to see the church reveal itself as the people and not the buildings we meet in. Many examples of this are seen within the community; let me share some of them with you.

“My shopping being done for me by someone I had hardly spoken to before - the loving concern and care expressed in flowers, a card with encouraging words, uplifting chat (at a distance) was almost worth more than the physical shopping!”

“People being willing to drive me to hospital appointments - someone who I had barely spoken to before.”

“Someone sitting with me for several hours tending to my physical needs and forgoing their dinner!”

“The emails, phone calls, FaceTime show me that my Christian friends really do care about me”.

The church family should reflect God’s love and care as it reaches out particularly to the vulnerable and needy. Jesus himself urges us to love our neighbour as we love ourselves, and it is really encouraging to see folk making this a reality. Of course, we want to see the end of this crisis, but I hope that we learn from it that it is people who matter!

Let me share what happened to an elderly couple a week ago: “We are blessed by the volunteer shopping that's done for us. I wanted to pay for petrol used. Instead we find a bunch of flowers added to out shopping list, payment for that also declined.”

I keep hearing the phrase “I can’t wait for things to get back to normal” but as I thought of it I don’t want things to return to the way they were! Here are a few of my thoughts:

- I pray that the next time a friend grabs me and pulls me in for a hug I actually take time to appreciate the gift of their embrace.

- I pray that next time I’m sitting in a crowded restaurant, I take time to look around at the smiling faces, loud voices and thank God for community.

- I pray that the next time I see a situation that needs prayer, I hope that I pray as passionately and fervently as I have these past few weeks.

- I pray that I never take for granted the ability to hop in a car, visit friends and family, go to the park, the coast or anywhere else I like.

I pray that we learn the lessons of the past few weeks and create a new normal!

Phil Walter is Pastor of Harborough Community Church in Bath Street.

Details of spiritual resources available from all the town’s churches, including a link to a short Easter school assembly video can be found at