Rector’s Letter - May

We are living through strange and difficult days, and writing a letter looking forward into the month of May seems to demand an ability to read the future that is not one of my gifts.

It seems clear that any major change to the lockdown is unlikely in the next few weeks, and so we need to continue to find ways of living that fit in with our circumstances. I think it is increasingly clear that certain things are important.

The first of those is care. If you are able to live some of your life online or via a smartphone you will be aware that there is a great deal going on in our communities to try and ensure that people are being looked after, that shopping and prescriptions are being collected, the foodbank is open and various helplines and sources of advice are available. Of course not everyone uses these media and this is where we need to make an effort to be aware of our neighbours, and at this time to come out of our usual state of British reticence and take the time to check (safely) on how those people who may be vulnerable are getting on. It is possible to be quite isolated at the best of times, and these are not the best of times. The Church locally is playing a full part in these caring activities, and feel free to contact us in all the usual ways for any reason at all. Our buildings may be closed for the moment, but we are not a closed club. The Church is the Body of Christ at this time and in this place, and that means it is here to serve. There are lots of things we can do, or find someone to do, so make contact, even if for a chat. Chats are important at the moment.

Apart from care, there is also prayer. Although we are physically constrained we have available to us an incredible resource which transcends boundaries of space and time. As well as a serving body the Church is a praying body. Now there are lots of different kinds of prayer and lots of understandings of prayer (maybe that could be the subject of one of those chats!) but essentially prayer is something that directs us out from ourselves towards others. It is a bit like love in that respect, and prayer and love are actually quite closely related. Prayer is about many things, but a key part of it is the recognition of the importance and worth of others. When people go out and clap NHS and care workers on a Thursday they are offering something which is akin to prayer. Equally, many of us are separated from people we love and frankly unsure of when we will see them again. Prayer is a medium to reach out to them with our hearts and souls and channel ourselves towards them through God’s grace. And as we hold others in prayer; so others hold us, both on earth and in heaven. People have often spoken about how they feel supported by prayer directed for them especially in difficult situations.

Keep safe, and keep up the care and prayer,

God bless you,

Ashley