It is hard to make sense of everything that is happening to our world when, if we are able to pass through the village, there are the most beautiful daffodils everywhere at the moment. It seems so contrary to what we are experiencing as we batten down the hatches and hope and pray that this Coronavirus does not hit us too hard.
Disappointments abound with plans having to be changed, special occasions postponed, along with my own planned for sabbatical which I wrote about last month. I hope if things ease up that we may be able to take at least some time later this summer or Autumn. Yet the beautiful daffodils and the other wonderful signs of Spring are so uplifting for us at this time aren’t they? Signs of hope and new life which carry on regardless of pandemics. As that famous wartime slogan so beloved of us all says ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’! And it is to a new life that we have to adapt to rather quickly at the moment. Schools have now closed, church services have ceased, at this time of writing loo paper is scarce and those over 70 years of age have been warned to be extra careful of social interaction, many choosing to self isolate through necessity or choice. It is a weird time indeed when we realise our diaries are suddenly cleared of all social activities and we have to keep a safe distance between one another if we meet. Life as we knew it is rather postponed generally. Yet there is another good and true saying “All things come to pass but they don’t stay”.
We have to remember this that ultimately the pandemic will pass and our lives will resume albeit with perhaps change that might even be positive – who knows? We might all have extremely tidy homes and gardens, have found new hobbies and interests, even new friends as we get to know our neighbours and others who if we are fit can help as never before. We all have such concern for the elderly and vulnerable and all who live alone for whom this time brings added anguish. Our lovely communities as ever, have like many other wonderful communities all over Britain galvanised us all to be able to offer help and assistance. I hope everyone by now has seen the leaflet advertising our local Capel and Beare Green Parish Council scheme working together with Holmwood (St Mary Magdalene) and Capel Church (St John the Baptist) – Coronavirus Parish Angels. Ockley Parish Council are offering similar help for people self isolating.
The news that public worship in church is suspended comes as a real blow to us of course. The good news is that our churches remain open as a place for prayer and contact. You will notice that on entering the church you are required to go into the cloakroom by the organ area to wash your hands and to observe social distancing should you meet anyone else there. Christenings are suspended but weddings and funerals can take place albeit with a maximum of 12 people attending. Many are postponing their wedding plans and for those who are bereaved it may be that a private burial or cremation will take place followed perhaps by a more public memorial service later on..
Pastoral visiting will continue unless people are self isolating or are symptomatic or have been in contact with someone who has been symptomatic. However there is always the good old telephone!! I can almost hear Maureen Lipman saying ‘It’s good to talk’! As I write we are still working through what this means for us as a church community but we intend to send out our weekly newsheet with the weekly scripture readings along with items for prayer, general notices and a thought for the week. These will be available in church or delivered to peoples homes if requested or will be sent online if we have your email address. There will also be services of worship online through the BBC and on local radio stations as well as live streaming from some churches.
Our wonderful InSpire faith magazine continues to inspire us and Suzanne is putting up a regular inspirational uplifting quote each day on the InSpire facebook page so do contact InSpire Editor Suzanne if you have something to share: (01306 711449) email@example.com . Everything we publish and the latest information is also available on our church website www.capelandockleychurch.org.uk. Do let me know if you have a particular prayer request as a small group (maintaining social distancing) are praying one of the Church’s oldest form of prayer – the Daily Office; twice a day in church. So be assured that your church is praying for you at all times. There will be other resources for you to use or take away in church over the weeks ahead so do pop in and see what’s new.
As Holy Week begins and Good Friday approaches, we may find new insight as we consider the cross of crucifixion, yet knowing that Easter Sunday arrived with the new life that God offers to all of us whether we know him or not. Our lives on earth change, we cannot predict the future and as has been frequently stated recently ‘we live in unprecedented times’. Yet God remains the same, he is unchanging in his love for us created in his image. So I confidently wish you all a very Happy Easter whether alone or with others (suitably distanced apart!) and please do contact me if you wish to talk or need other information. Church worship may be suspended but your local churches are here strong in faith to help and sustain all who need it.
With my love and prayers especially at this time
Post expires at 6:44am on Saturday March 20th, 2021