The Vicar’s monthly letter for the Parish News
I have had my first dose of the Vaccine – Hurrah! Not much affected by side effects either I am pleased to report, other than getting far too forgetful – but I don’t think that is down to the vaccine, just age and pressure of work!
As I write this, we are all wondering what the PM will have to tell us on Monday 22 February? I suspect that it will be a cautious approval for the indications that the incidence of the virus in the population at large is beginning to decrease, but a warning, too, that we cannot relax too much too soon or we risk being back where we started!
So, I am anticipating that public worship will be able to resume before too long – but maybe not before the beginning of April. At least that would mean that I could celebrate my last Easter with you in church – rather than in splendid isolation. I do so hope so.
But even if that comes to pass, we will still be observing social distancing, wearing masks, and receiving in one kind only, I fear. The situation may change at short notice however and doesn’t always fit with magazine deadlines – so for more up-to-date information about public worship resuming, do keep your eyes on ChadNet, our e-bulletin. To sign up for this contact and an email will appear weekly in your in-box.
In the meantime, we continue to make the best of things that we can with our online worship – which I think you will agree has provided plenty of variety, thanks to the very talented lay leaders we have in this parish!
And that gives me the opportunity to remind you all that Morning Prayer and Compline are said nearly every day via the medium of Facebook live broadcasts. I have found it a great comfort throughout my ministry to start and end each day with prayer. For much of it, I have been alone or perhaps with another clergy colleague, but one of the joys of this past year has been to share these daily short services (15 – 30 minutes tops) with other people and I have a small but faithful ‘congregation’ who join me daily and many more who ‘drop in’ occasionally to sample and pray alongside us. This Lent might be the ideal time to try this practice out for yourself, either online with Ken and me, or privately with your own preferred pattern of daily prayers? I hope that when I do depart for pastures new, someone (or more likely lots of people) comes forward to continue this regular pattern of prayer for the parish.
And your PCC is exploring how they will run and even develop the church and its relationships with the community during the coming months of interregnum. (Just to remind everyone, I am not retiring until the end of May but that does mean just three more months by the time you receive this magazine. Gulp!)
March this year, however, is dominated by the season of Lent. I am planning to offer a Lent group by Zoom, either on a Monday evening or a Thursday afternoon, on the theme “Broken bits and Weirdness” – which I thought sounded quite appropriate for the way we are all feeling at present. It will be interesting to see if there is demand for two groups and if so, whether the evening or afternoon is more popular. See further on for more information if your curiosity is piqued!
So, although Lent looks rather different this year – with our meeting up largely online or by waving at each other as we pass on opposite sides of the road, walking through the village, the Church is still very much alive and active and working out how best to proceed as (hopefully) we emerge from Lockdown No.3. And maybe we will all have more opportunity to delve a little deeper into our interior life and listen out for the voice of God, calling us into a closer relationship day by day as we travel towards Easter, the days continue to lengthen, and the signs of spring appear.
May your Lent be a blessed time.