A letter from the Rector Rev Cathy Bladen – May 2020

Dear Friends & Neighbours,

Hi … How are you doing in this strange time that we’re living through?

For each of us our experience of this time is different. For some it’s providing a quieter time, a bit like an extended holiday. For some it is really isolating…especially those who are at home on their own. For some there is more work… more pressure, either working from home or going to work as key workers. For some there is the loss of work… which means financial pressure and insecurity. For some there is or has been sickness and loss …and there is grief and fear in that. All of us in different ways will know the uncertainty of not knowing what is to come …and how it will be going forward.  But in amongst all our various experiences there are many things that we can find to be grateful for. We can be grateful that we live in such a beautiful part of the country, that we are a rural community with fields and trees and hedgerows and wildlife all around us… and that for many of us we are still able to walk out either into our gardens or into our villages and appreciate the sunshine and the beauty all around us.

We can also be grateful for the communities that we live in; for the way our villages have come together to help and support each other both practically and emotionally… from shopping for those who are shielding, to ringing each other to check how we’re doing to just ringing for a good chat. It’s interesting that at time when we can’t physically meet as a community, being part of community seems even more important… and there are some wonderful stories of people’s care and kindness for each other. We have found great ways of encouraging and interacting with each other, from Clapping for Carers and Key workers on a Thursday evening to singing and online competitions and games and photographs on various Facebook pages. I think we’re realising how much we need to live in community and how important it is to be a part of our communities; perhaps something in the past we’ve struggled with in the everyday busyness of our pre-covid lives.

As a Christian I believe that these gifts of creation and community are gifts from God… gifts in and through which we can see and experience something of God’s faithfulness, hope and His love… In these last few weeks as life has changed I have found great comfort in both.

In creation I’ve seen a God of new life, creativity and wonder, a God of detail and beauty. And in the life of our communities I’ve seen a God of relationship, love and care. Interestingly, that’s very much the message that the miracle of Easter brings us. Out of Jesus’ death God brings the beauty of new life; Jesus is raised from the dead and in his rising he brings the possibility of new life for each and every one of us now, and everlasting life in the future. Through the miracle of Easter Jesus bridges the divide between us and God, so enabling us to come into community with God…. into a relationship with God where we can know His love and His care and His hope and His promises for our lives.

Although we can’t meet as church in the church building… God’s church is still very much alive. From our homes we interact on-line with services and weekly reflections. We’re making phone calls and helping practically where we can and we’re praying. We’re praying for all those key workers who are working so hard for us at this time and we’re praying for you our communities and the world, that we all might know God’s presence, protection and His healing. If you would like someone to pray specifically for you them please get in touch and if you’d like to follow our services please check out the Churches Benefice Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/unitedbenefice/ or we can email the reflections to you. In the uncertainty of these uncertain times it’s a precious thing to personally know God’s love and care. My prayer is that in the midst of a new appreciation for creation and community each of us would be able to recognise and find God… and so know… “…how wide and long and high and deep”(Ephesians 3:18) His love is… for each and every one of us …and in that through that love we would also know His peace and so be able to trust Him in the uncertainty and for the future.

God Bless you and stay safe.