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Vicar's Letter for this month

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Dear Friends,
Eric Widdicombe recently sent me these thoughts about lockdown, and coming out of lockdown. I wanted to share them with you in the letter for this two-month edition of the newsletter. Eric has opened up a discussion for us all. I hope you will want to join in with it. It would be lovely to hear your thoughts and reflections – whether prose, poetry, artistic responses, or something musical perhaps. Material for the September newsletter will be due in mid-August. In the meantime, do enjoy reading Eric’s reflections and think about the questions he raises about Covid-times. Over to Eric….

‘Unlocked by Lockdown’

Covid caught us all.  Caught us in so many different ways, and left us to cope in our own ways with the different stresses and difficulties of  our own personal situations .

Like many people, I have been left wondering what will be the long-term effects; how will it change our lives?  In particular, what effect has it had on our Christian faith?  How has our Christian faith affected the ways we have coped?  What will this mean for our church, and the Church as a whole?

In the hope that it may start a useful conversation across CHoGS, may I offer some of my own experiences. 

So, what have I missed?  Top of that list must be “social contacts”, with family and friends and, especially our Sunday worship.  No longer sharing the “Peace of God” together, declaring the statement of our Faith together; making our prayers and our music together;  experiencing that Holy moment of receiving Communion together and then exchanging our personal news over coffee has left such a hole in my life. 

In trying to compensate for that loss in spiritual life, I have been fortunate (though, in some ways, deprived) in not having the more usual pressures of family and job/no-job.  So, I have been able to set aside time in the morning for the Bible, for quiet thinking and prayer.  I have also been very fortunate in being able to enjoy our country lane (Ockwells Road) and that great stretch of woodland and fields of Ockwells Park and Thrift Wood.  Trees “talk” to us, as they say. It is like walking through the song we enjoy singing - Isaiah’s picture of “the trees clap their hands, and you shall go out with joy….”

Unexpectedly, not saying the Gloria and the Creed as a matter of routine has left me without the familiar understanding of the nature of the Unknowable.  It set me wondering (once again) how I would describe, in my own words, the God I believe in, who accepts me for what I am, the God who answers my prayers in “His” own way.  Sense would say that the Trinity describes “all there is to know and all you need to know”.  Yet, somehow, there remains the desire to “scratch the itch”.

I wonder how others have coped with all the pains and problems of the past year and what part Christian Faith has played in your coping?  

And what is the Church all about?  After all, a recent Archbishop of Canterbury described the Church as being a club set up for the benefit of people who were not its members.  So how do we show to the rest of Cox Green what our Christian faith does to our lives and how it is strengthened by our active involvement in our church?   And doing that without adding to the work of Revd Joan and the Churchwardens! 

“Communications” is one key.  My thought on that would be a public notice board somewhere containing a mixture of challenging pictures, poems, cartoons, questions.  But “where” and “who does it”?  There must be other/better ideas!  Answers on a postcard or WhatsApp!!

Eric Widdicombe

Thank you, Eric, for getting this conversation going! Please do read, reflect and respond.

Many of us would normally be looking forward to holidays in the coming weeks. Some of you may not be able to have the holiday you had planned, or (particularly those planning an overseas holiday this summer) to be able to go to the place you had hoped to go. Whether you are spending time at home or away, I pray that God will bless you all with much needed opportunities for relaxation, rest, and refreshment in the weeks ahead.

With my love and prayers,

Joan