As we enter the fourth week of lockdown, I wonder how everyone is? There was maybe a novelty factor when all this started, but perhaps that is starting to wear off now. These are challenging times, and I know that many of us are facing very real practical and emotional concerns. Please do tell someone if you are struggling.
I am sending a couple of links from the Church of England which may prove helpful at this time:
- One is around supporting good mental health, and provides two weeks of daily reflections, including some simple Christian meditation techniques and tips: here.
- The other is around dealing with isolation and loneliness: here.
Despite all the issues of frustration, boredom and loneliness, I have a real sense of people making the best of things. Thank you for all the ways people are supporting one another, and pulling together to try and make this strange situation work as a church.
Services next week
Our services have settled into a routine of sorts, and continue as 'normal' (!) over the coming week. On Sunday there will be a service uploaded onto the website, ideally to be prayed together at 10am, followed by Zoom coffee at 11am. You should be able to access this by clicking on https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85870746175. The meeting ID is 858-7074-6175. On Monday-Friday, morning and evening services will be live streamed to www.facebook.com/StAlbansNH at 9am and 7pm. On Tuesday at 10.15am, David will be celebrating a Eucharist on behalf of the parish, either privately from his home, or to be live streamed on Facebook.
Other church resources
I said in my last update that it's impossible to plan too far ahead at the moment, and this remains the case. However, I wonder what else, if anything, people would like the church to try to offer? I'm hugely grateful to the Messy Church team who produced a brilliant resource for Good Friday and Easter, and the Sunday School team are talking about whether we could do something more regularly for children. Do let me know if people would be interested in an online discipleship course (probably by Zoom). I also wondered if people might contribute to a 'Reflection for the week' while we are in lockdown -- again, come back to me if you would be willing to write something for this, to go online.
Just a reminder to keep an eye on the website. The newsletter and Monthly Matters are still publishing online and new editions for this week/month are uploaded. As ever, if you are concerned about anyone who does not have online access, please let me or Shirley know.
My maternity leave
In the absence of our usual Sunday notices in church, I wanted to let you know that as I will be going on maternity leave in August, the bishop has decided that Helen Hutchins, who was going to be coming to us from July, will now be doing her curacy elsewhere. A few people have asked me about arrangements for my leave -- these are still being discussed, and of course I will communicate these when I know more.
Building a future bigger than the past
In a brilliant 'Thought for the Day' on Tuesday, Revd Sam Wells, vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields said that 'we will never get a better chance to make a future bigger than the past.' He goes on to remind us that 'people emerging from World War II didn't aspire to return to the hungry 30s, but to build a world fit for heroes.' There is so much that I will be very glad to get back to about 'normal' life, much of which will, no doubt, soon become unremarkable again. But this time of lockdown does focus our minds on what really matters. I wonder if it can be a time to reflect on where we put our energies, individually and as a church, and to focus on building a future that is bigger than the past.
With love and prayers to you all,