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From the Vicarage

 

As this is my first article of 2021, may I wish everyone a happy new year.  I’ve just looked back to the article I did for February last year.  In that I was introducing our experimental, monthly, Sunday evening service at Stalmine and mapping out the Confirmation preparation classes.  Coronavirus was something we’d heard a little about on the news and didn’t seem to have much to do with us.  Now, although we do have Bishop Jill booked for Confirmations on Sunday 23 rd May (14.30 at St Oswald’s), there is no point trying to arrange classes just yet and coronavirus is, sadly, something that has a great deal to do with us.  The latest lockdown and the current prevalence of the virus has, understandably, made the vast majority of people very cautious and, although almost all our churches are open for Sunday worship, numbers attending have dropped.  We hope that the current situation won’t last very long and have planned services accordingly but we know that things can and do change quite quickly so we may need to cancel things at short notice.  In the interim, Naomi and I are trying worship via Zoom on Monday evenings so please contact one of us if you wish to know more about that.

 

I can give an update on two longstanding pieces of work too.  The competition to design a logo for the newly formed benefice of Over Wyre attracted a lot of interest and we’ve had some excellent entries from across the four age groups.  These have been whittled down to the best three in each group and the final decisions will be made soon.  The other item is the collation of the results of the questionnaires that many people in the churches and wider community completed.  This has been a mammoth task due to the number of responses we got.  Naomi did some early work on it on her return to duties last August/September and we have both been looking at the outcomes.  We will soon be looking for a group of people from across the parishes to work with us on identifying what might be possible/achievable in both the short and longer term.  So watch this space.

 

Unfortunately, though I must return to coronavirus as the topic that is dominating most peoples’ thoughts at present.  We live in hope that the vaccination programme will have a significant and positive impact but we know, realistically, that it will be a long time before things are anything like what we used to regard as the norm.  So we soldier on and do the best we can to keep ourselves and those around us safe – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  It is not easy for anyone and some of the heart-searching and tough decision-making that is going on in homes and places of work, daily, by people of all ages, is difficult to imagine.  People are suffering grief and forms of separation and isolation that are difficult to understand.  We do not know other peoples’ circumstances, reasons, or options, and so I pray that we are not so quick to judge or criticise.  Rather, let’s do what we consider to be right and support who and what we can remembering that we are all in this together.  Let’s leave aside our dismay or disappointment at the actions of others and the decisions of those who lead us.  Let us put our trust in the one and only person we can always rely on - God with us.  He does not operate on some distant cloud, or out there in the ether.  He is here besides us, knee deep in our mess; always loving and never deserting us.  He is the hope for our future and the strength for our present.

 

“For I am convinced that neither death not life, not angels, nor rulers, nor things [present, not things to come, not powers, not height, not depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

(Romans 8:38&39)  

 

 

Stay safe, stay hopeful, stay strong.  Know that you are loved and precious to him.

 

God bless        

 

Fr Andy

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