Pause for Thought

Welcome to lockdown. The biggest challenge my family has found, once toilet roll was sourced, has been balancing working from home, starting homeschooling our daughter and maintaining social connections.

Monday, 30th March 2020, 8:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 2:15 pm

I work for a fintech company so I can work from home fairly easily, but even so, it's still a challenge to keep in touch via various online video conferencing solutions. My wife is a teacher and so has had to embrace working from home for the first time and posting lessons online for her class, together with doing the bulk of homeschooling. Our three-and-a-half-year-old daughter is adjusting well to not being in school, but struggled to understand why we didn’t have any Jaffa Cakes when the supermarket had sold out.

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In addition, we lead IKON Sheffield City, part of IKON church, and had to discover new ways to worship together and forge community. We had our first online streamed service at the weekend and to be honest, I was blown away both by how people embraced this and by the increase in people attending. Usually we gather about 600 people across our five campuses, but when we live streamed, we had more than 1000 viewings. Often these were family groups, so the total attendance could easily have topped 2000 people. Our midweek meetings conducting over various video conferencing platforms have also been really popular with new people wanting to join. I think this owes to people wanting connection and taking a moment to reflect on life and priorities. Human beings are not designed to live in isolation. At the start of the Bible, in Genesis, we read it isn’t good for man to be alone and in the letter to the church in Phillipi written by Paul while locked down in prison, he is able to remain positive and thankful because of the love and support from his friends and fellow workers.

My prayer is that we don’t become socially isolated, but remain connected to and thankful for one another. For people struggling at this time, I pray they can find real and meaningful social connections, albeit digital for now, with people around them. Finally, as always, I pray for God’s grace, hope and love to be with us in Sheffield. To watch online or join a connect group in Sheffield please visit

Mark Wilkins, Ikon Church