From one degree of imperfection to another: A consideration of gathering in different ways

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Ruth Gouldbourne Steve Holmes


This conversation between Ruth Gouldbourne and Steve Holmes, both ordained Baptist ministers, focuses on issues raised during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in particular the theological as well as practical questions around gathering for worship when gathering together in church buildings was not possible. Exploring a theology of ‘gathering’, they find themselves wanting to distinguish between ideal and ‘adequate’ ways of being church: the significance and different expressions of people seeing each other ‘face to face’, the experience of virtual gatherings around the Lord’s Table, and the anticipatory, provisional nature of any church expression. In this perspective, celebrating the Communion while being separated physically is not only possible, but an essential expression of the creative nature of a gathering community in continuation with the Church across the ages. They also note the communicative power carried by physical spaces and objects used in the life of the church, as well as all other nonverbal cues.

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