Minister's Letter

Colin’s Easter Letter March/April 2021, A year in lock-down

 “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.” (Isaiah 40: v31)

 Dear friends, as I sit to write this letter it is a year since we first heard we were going into a national lock-down. I believe it’s fair to say that none of us envisaged the devastation COVID-19 was about to bring into our individual, local, national and International lives. The world has faced a health crisis on a scale never seen before. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the science and health care professionals for the innovative interventions which have come about in the midst of the deepening critical moments of the pandemic.

 I have heard on many occasions over the last 6 months the phrase that we will need to get back to some kind of ‘new normal.’ The reality is that term differs massively for so many people within our communities and my gut feeling is, that, we may not be able to reach that hoped for position for sometime, if ever at all.

That may mean we will have to be adaptable to the changing needs as we move forward with our plans for the future and our call to care for all. How might we care for ourselves, one another, our families, friends, and communities look like in the future? The truth is we don’t know.

 It would seem many areas of life are not going to feel normal for some time, why should they! We’ll need to exist alongside COVID-19 and its variants for the foreseeable future.

 I hope I’m proved wrong, especially as the vaccine programme continues to be rolled out and we see the on-going scientific analysis bringing understanding of what our future holds. To quote a favourite character of mine from the TV series Star Trek, it may continue to be for us: “It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it!” (Spock’s quote)

 As we approach another Easter together, I find myself trying to come to terms with the reality that over 126,000 people have already lost their lives in the UK to this dreadful disease.  Estimates being suggested is that over three million people in the UK alone have faced bereavement during this last year.

 Restrictions have made it unbearable for many and deepened the sense of loss. It seems to me that there might never be a moment when it is appropriate to talk in terms of a ‘new normal’ because I cant believe such a term will ever be appropriate for our nation let alone our churches.

 I was grateful for the encouragement we were given in a recent on-line service to ‘lament’ as one of the spiritual and scriptural ways forward, that will help us to come to terms with what has happened during this time of devastating loss. We all may need to wrestle towards a deeper understanding of such a faith filled spiritual journey. Grateful thanks to Rev Juliet Wrigglesworth for engaging with us and encouraging us into such a spirit filled and Godly journey.

 God knows that many people struggle with finding and holding onto hope. When we are facing tests of faith, even the strongest Christians can find it a challenge to find hope. When we need encouragement and refreshment for our souls I find scriptures do help. The quote from Isaiah I’ve quoted above is certainly one of the scriptures I’ve found helpful in my own personal struggle to hold onto hope in life’s deepest times of need. The psalmist in crisis says: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18). Thank you for your prayers and Support.

Take care and have a blessed and refreshed Eastertide. Rev Colin.