Keeping in Touch 27: Uncertain times

Dear Friends,

This week I have been following the twists and turns of the US presidential election. If you like drama it’s certainly a good place to look for it! As I write, things are fairly evenly balanced. It looks as if Joe Biden will win the White House, but Donald Trump is mounting legal challenges, alleging electoral fraud and making every sign that if he loses he will not be going graciously or quietly. As if we would expect anything else. An uncertain result is not what either party wanted. But that is what it looks like they must navigate a course through.

Uncertainty is something we are all learning to live with. The semi-normality of the last few months has been a welcome respite in living through this pandemic. But the announcement of a second lockdown reminds us that we are ‘not out of the woods yet’. Again many of us will be isolated, again we are relying on key workers and essential services, again we are faced with uncertainty. In the midst of this, our wellbeing is important. I am including below a list of 10 tips for mental well being, which I have included in my letter before. Alongside prayer and keeping connected to our spiritual life, some of these ideas may prove helpful in the next few weeks.

As in the first lockdown, we will be continuing our worship online instead of in person. We will be live streaming the 9.30am service via Facebook – we hope to do this from Church rather than from the Vicarage. That is the plan for this Sunday, so we will see how it goes! To tune in, head to our Facebook page or you can join via the online worship page on the website.

On Remembrance Sunday we would also usually host the packed out village Remembrance service. We had hoped to hold this in the churchyard, then we planned to hold it in the building with community representatives only, now it will be a recorded service online. A good illustration of living with uncertainty! And adapting as we go along. I’m pleased to say that the service will still include representation from the other churches in Kings Langley and members of the community. It will be available at 3pm via Facebook and our Youtube channel, and via the online worship page of the website.

With Christmas around the corner Boris Johnson seems determined not to be ‘the Prime Minister who cancelled Christmas’. I guess we will wait and see what happens with the numbers and what the scientists have to say – we’ll continue to live with uncertainty and to adapt as we go along. But even if the lockdown is extended, Christmas won’t be cancelled, just as although we cannot gather in the building, Church isn’t cancelled, kindness isn’t cancelled, prayer isn’t cancelled, caring for each other isn’t cancelled, and the presence of God isn’t cancelled. ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13.8). Lockdown or not, pandemic or not, Christmas ‘as normal’ or not, the love of God we see in Jesus is the same. Living with that love is our certainty in an uncertain world.

With my love and prayers for you,

All Saints Vicarage,

Thursday 5th November 2020


10 Top Tips for Mental Wellbeing
Relating The people around you offer a valuable pool of support so it’s important to put time into strengthening those connections. Try turning off distractions to chat with friends or family.
Exercising Regular activity will provide an endorphin boost and increase confidence. Try finding an activity that suits you and your schedule.
Awareness Taking time to switch off autopilot and ‘be in in the moment’ is a great tool to combat stress. Try paying attention to your senses – what can you see, hear or feel around you?
Giving Holding out a helping hand makes other people happy and will make you feel happier too. Try asking friends, family or colleagues how they are and listen without judgement.
Trying out Learning new things is stimulating and can help to lift your mood. Try out a new hobby, club or activity that interests you.
Direction Working towards positive, realistic goals can provide motivation and structure. Try choosing a goal that is meaningful to you, not what someone else expects of you; remember to celebrate progress along the way.
Meaning People who have meaning in their lives experience less stress, anxiety and depression. Try prioritising the things that bring you the strongest sense of purpose.
Resilience Although we can’t always choose what happens to us, we can often choose our own response to what happens. Try finding an outlet such as talking to friends or writing it down.
Emotions Positive emotions can build up a buffer against stress and even lead to lasting changes in the brain to help maintain wellbeing. Try taking time to notice what you’re grateful for and focus on the good aspects of any situation.
Acceptance No one is perfect. Longing to be someone different gets in the way of making the most of our own happiness. Try being kind to yourself when things go wrong.