It’s been a long, hard year for us all.  The churches have struggled as much as any organisation to keep up with the restrictions and requirements of these strange days.  It seems almost incredible that a little over one year ago, we were just starting to get to grips with what it meant to shut ourselves away from each other in order to try to reduce the spread of a disease that has taken more lives than we could possibly have imagined when this began.  We do all hope that we’ve done our best – but, of course, only God knows how much more we might have done and how much what we have done has really reached our congregations and wider community.

With the recent announcements about the Government’s “Roadmap” towards returning to a more normal way of life, we all now have a chance to stop and take stock of how far we have come.  Perhaps we can also begin to see a glimpse of what life and community and worship might look like in the future.  Will we just go back to the way things were before?  Or will some of the changes that we have made become part of our lives of faith for the foreseeable future?  In many ways, I hope that answer to the second question is “Yes”.  We have all become just that little more attuned to each other’s anxieties and concerns.  We have had to come out of our comfort zones and try new things: online worship, Zoom fellowship.  And we have also gone back to some of the things that we perhaps had been neglecting: telephoning each other, writing letters (both in e-mail form and on good old paper).  But most of all, I hope that this last year has taught and reminded us of those words that John Donne so wisely wrote:

“No man is an island, entire of itself.  Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.  If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.  As well as if a promontory were.  As well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Let us thank God that we are still here.  Let us give thanks for all those who have worked tirelessly for our welfare through dark days.  Let us continue to ask for His goodness and mercy to those who struggle to keep their lives together, their businesses afloat, their families in health.  And let us remember before Him those we have lost during this last year.

God bless,


The Vicar

20210401-Voice of the Churches