The Rector’s Letter. March 2021
It is good to take delight in small pleasures. While walking the dog I have watched the daffodils start to bloom, listened to the birds call for a mate and mark out their territory, and watched a blackbird gather material for her nest. Lockdown has meant longer walks and quieter times in the parish. I used to be out four or five evening a week, but this winter have enjoyed evenings with the log burner and repeats of detective series (I think I know every episode of Vera by heart).
All this may soon change (though sadly not in time for a full Holy Week and Easter celebration). But what might we keep and treasure? The word ‘Zoom’ is firmly embedded along with ‘unmute yourself, we can’t hear you’. All credit to everyone who struggled and persisted with technology, and absolution to all who swore at the computer when things went wrong. A trip for a meeting in Exeter (96 miles, 2 hours travel time at least) takes just a few moments with this new magic called Zoom, although I do miss the conversation over coffee. New ways of working may well be here to stay, at least in part.
I have been relatively sheltered from the effects of the last year. Frustration, boredom and missing people have been the most I have had to bear, but I am deeply aware of those who have had much greater burdens. People in the peninsula have had Covid 19 and been hospitalised; money has been tight, relationships strained, the future looking uncertain and the world a different place for many. Support, healing and growth may come from many different quarters – the Church will do her bit as well. We will help you remember, mark, cry, celebrate the last 12 months in as many ways as we can. We will continue to offer help through Foodbank, through visits and listening, through prayers and quiet reflection. We are a parish church, which means we are your church, here for you, praying for you.
Services in Church: The PCC has decided it is safe to restart in person services in the parish and will have communion services at 10.00am in St Andrew’s or Holy Trinity each Sunday and a Zoom service at 11.15. The social distancing requirements still hold and we cannot yet sing together, but it will be good to see you again.
Please feel free to contact me if you would like to talk or if I might be able to help.
The Rector’s Letter. February 2021
Will Spring bring a welcomed relief from a pandemic that, last March, I thought would be over in a couple of months rather than reaching a first anniversary? Some sections of our society will have received at least one dose of a vaccine, perhaps both. I know of people in this parish who have been working all hours to make this happen, setting up centres, doing the admin, recruiting staff, giving the injection, alongside those who have been on the frontline in hospitals. Thank you to them all.
But our minds may now be turning to the long-term effects. How will this affect our children’s schooling; how will people live with the trauma they have encountered day by day; how will we mourn our loved ones when we can finally get together to grieve? How might we celebrate and have our weddings and parties and what will Christmas be like in July?
The effect of this pandemic will be seen for a decade; it may be a time to reassess, retrain, learn how to live in a different way. It maybe a time to build on those relationships we have found because of lockdown and repay the kindnesses received. It may be a chance to live a more simple life with less emphasis on things outside the home. I certainly hope you will discover some good within all that has happened.
There has been a long tradition of spirituality that looks to find God in all around them, in all circumstances. It is a form of mindfulness that has been around for a thousand years. It is a tool to use with anxiety and stress as well as recognising great joy and pleasure. One form was written down by Ignatius of Loyola, a 16th century theologian who brought us Imaginative Prayer and the Examen. It is both accessible and practical and can be used to this day (and will have influenced much of our current thinking). Why not go online and find out more about it and get ready for the new dawn and whatever life may bring us next.