LETTER FROM THE RECTOR
I wonder when we look back at 2020 what word or words will sum it up for us? For me I think the word will be change. Everything we have taken for granted has changed, and even now when the lockdown regulations are being relaxed and shops ands businesses are beginning to open up, things aren’t back to ‘normal’ there are still lots of changes that we have to take on board. As I am classified as being in a vulnerable group, although I didn’t have to shield, I did have to self isolate so hadn’t been out and about at all for 3 months. My husband had been doing our shopping for us so had the time to get used to the new rules but I must admit I keep getting very confused in the shops, the social distancing I can manage, but I keep finding myself in an aisle and realise I am going in the wrong direction, then I have to try and find a way of getting myself to be following the arrows correctly. One of the other things I am finding difficult is that on two or three occasions recently I have gone to bed at night and woken the next morning to find that something has changed quite dramatically and then I have to remember the date that it comes into force.
Like the rest of life our churches have had to face changes as well. Our Church buildings were closed for 3 months and then allowed to open for private prayer and from July 4th allowed to open for public worship but we have not been allowed to have any singing and we have to adhere to social distancing rules and things are still changing, we are currently waiting to hear if we will all have to wear masks for our services. Some of our churches haven’t been able to open and we currently have St Mary Magdalene Church, Ashford Carbonel and St Giles Church, Ludford open daily from 10am-3pm for private prayer and Sunday services at those two churches plus St Andrews, Ashford Bowdler, but the services do vary and we do have to ask people to ‘book their seat’ so please contact me or your Church Warden if you would like to come to one of our services.
It’s important for us to remember that there are other changes going on at this time as well. Children in year 6 of Primary school will have left in very different circumstances to normal, children will be moving to new schools in September with none of their usual transition days. Many young people will be awaiting their GCSE and ‘A’ level results, without having sat exams and with no clear idea of what the future holds. Many people will be waiting to return to furloughed jobs, some of whom will be anxious about whether or not their jobs are safe and we need to also remember all those whose lives have been changed for ever due to the Corona virus.
One of the things that has struck me as I have started to meet other people back at Church services is that it doesn’t feel as if we have been apart for 4 months and for me that is a reminder that the Church is more than just a building that we meet in, it is a family that loves and cares for one another and we have continued being that family, just as our own families have, during that time. There has been much change over the last few months and many lessons for us to learn from those changes. It would be all too easy for everything to return to ‘normal’ but actually we have to learn to live a ‘new normal’ where hopefully we will remember to look out more for other people, where we will remember to regularly thank those who care for us and where we can learn more about what it means to be ‘family’. A few years ago I found in a gift shop a little plaque that says ‘If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies. My prayer for all of us is that we will live transformed lives as the effects of this current pandemic continue to unfold around us.
With my love and prayers