I am delighted that Vivien Gerhold, one of our elders, has agreed to write the pastoral letter for this edition – thank you Vivien.
Our church family is keeping connected in all sorts of ways at this time, but I know that it’s not the same as being together and that some are finding it harder than others. Once again, please don’t ever feel alone – we are here for one another. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me, your Elder, our Church and Community worker, David, or other members of the church family. Be alert to the promptings of the Spirit – if someone pops into your mind, check in on them, you may just be the answer to their prayer.
How have you all been coping with the lockdown? For each of us it will have been different. Have you enjoyed spending more time with the other members of your household? But do you now sometimes wish you could have just a little bit of time all by yourself? Or if, like me, you live alone, are you now longing for some human companionship? Or do you cope quite happily being on your own? Of course, we are never really quite alone, for Jesus promised his disciples just before his ascension, that he would never leave them, (the closing words of Matthew 28), and that promise is for us too.
Has the time seemed to pass quickly? Or have the weeks just seemed to last and last? Do you have difficulty remembering which day of the week it is? Several people have told me, during phone calls, that they do. My iPad kindly tells me not only the time, but the date and the day of the week as well, which is very useful. Also, I have devised a system of adding to my prayers each day a special prayer about whatever I would previously have been doing on that day of the week, and the people I would have seen. Of course, thanks to modern technology some things are still the same, like worshiping with others, if only virtually, on a Sunday, having meetings via Zoom and the good old telephone is still a great way of keeping in touch with people.
It has been a long time since the pandemic first struck, and it has been world-wide. There has been so much tragic loss of life, and deep distress, emotional, physical, mental, economic even spiritual, with which people have had to cope. Things in this country may be easing a little, but we still have a long way to go before they get back to what we might consider to be normal. Indeed, some things may have changed for ever. However, it is still a fact that many in our world continue to have great needs, in spite of, and indeed often made worse by, the virus. Things that can only be changed by action, the sort of action that Christian Aid undertakes. The work they do needs our support more than ever, even if some of us were rather thankful we did not have to go door knocking this year. Hopefully, alternative fund-raising efforts will have been successful in raising money to bring practical help where it is most needed.
We can be said to be living in difficult times, but our faith can sustain us, for God always fulfils his promises, and we can be assured that his love is eternal.
I have always loved the words from a bookmark given to me many years ago, which I share with you all now, and I pray the words on it may be of encouragement to you.
With love, thoughts and prayers