With the partial easing of lockdown measures which went ahead during May, many people in our congregations will have taken the opportunity to see loved ones. It has been a long and difficult period for many, deprived of physical contact with their families and friends. I’m sure we all give thanks for the opportunity to be re-united with some of our loved ones. I was also able to visit a parishioner in a nursing home, and it was worth the Covid test and protective gear just to be in the same room, and to enjoy one another’s company after so much painful separation.
It has been completely understandable that we have missed seeing many of our regular worshippers during this period. I hope, however, with such links being joyfully re-established, we can once again welcome many of our families to church. I’m sure you would want to join me in thanking those who have kept Sunday School and Messy Church running, through lockdowns and when church was open, during this past 15 months. Like so much that makes church good, these activities are run by volunteers, who are choosing to offer their time to prepare resources and deliver them, faithfully, week by week or month by month. I trust that we will want to make every effort, as people of faith, to encourage these volunteers to keep going, by supporting what they are doing by good attendance on Sundays. Messy Church will be holding its last session this Sunday, 4th July, before the summer break, and I’d like to wish the whole team a well-earned break.
I am sorry that we have had to postpone some July events mentioned in my last newsletter (Edition 44), namely the Bring and Share lunch on 4th July and the concert planned for 14th July. It is hoped that we will be able to hold our events once Government guidance declares it is safe enough to do so.
We are still holding our special service at St Benedict’s at 10am on 18th July, to celebrate any from St Mary’s or St Benedict’s who have had significant birthdays or anniversaries during the past 15 months. Please let me know as soon as possible by email or telephone if you’d like your date and occasion to be included in our thanksgiving to God that day.
During my Retreat a couple of week ago, I read Rowan Williams ‘Candles in the dark: Faith, hope and love in a pandemic’ (SPCK 2020). It’s a series of weekly meditations written from March to September 2020 for his local church. I can’t recommend it highly enough, for its ability to express deep truths with a carefully crafted language. One of Dr Williams’ reflections was on the feast of St Matthias. He notes that we know very little about Matthias, but clearly Matthias had an important, if low-profile, part to play in the story of the early Church. He draws an exemplar there for us all: “There is a heroism in the daily rhythm; making the small differences you can make, at home, online, wherever, in small courtesies and kindnesses, in assuring others that they are not alone”
Let’s all re-commit to preserving, and supporting, all that makes up the ‘daily rhythm’ of our life as a church; we are all needed, on-line as well as in church, and everyone’s contribution is known to, and valued by God. (Pl.see Matthew 6.4)
With our love and prayers, Richard and Katherine.