Ministry Team Letter

Dear Parishioners,

And so – that was 2020.  In fact, of course, as I write this, it still is 2020 and we are waiting to hear what may – or may not – be permissible during the Christmas “easing”.  And then to decide to what extent we may or may not wish to take advantage of the relaxation of the rules.  But by the time you are reading this, that will all be past history – the almost final page in the extraordinary annals of our very own 21st Century Year of the Plague.

There is so much to say about 2020 that my mind and my typing fingers have no idea where to start.  And yet, for so many of us, for so much of the year, nothing much happened.  We didn’t go anywhere; we didn’t meet anyone.  The skies were quiet, the birds sang, the butterflies fluttered and the roads were almost empty except for unaccustomed family outings by bicycle – clearly enjoyed more by some members of the various parties than by others.  The sun shone day after day – it really did, you know, although it seems hard to remember now.  Shopping for necessities became an expedition – fraught with peril and queues outside shops and confusing arrows and one-way systems inside and hand sanitiser and trolley wipes – and empty shelves.  Word whizzed round the village if there was pasta in stock – or even more excitingly, flour.  Or, whisper the words – toilet rolls . . .

We stopped in the street and along the footpaths and chatted – at a safe distance – to neighbours whom we might previously have seen in glimpses, dashing off to work at dawn –  returning at dusk, but who now had time and to spare, to talk.

Volunteers appeared out of nowhere to do what they could to help friends, neighbours and strangers.  Solitude became loneliness for many.

And people were furloughed – and people’s jobs disappeared.  And people died – and people recovered.  And schools were closed and children enjoyed the freedom – and children were bored and drove their parents to distraction.  And we all tuned in to the daily briefings and we all learned to read graphs – better, sometimes it seemed than those presenting them.  And churches were closed and meetings were cancelled and to our amazement we all (well nearly all) learned to Zoom.  And then to bubble.

The possibility of a vaccine – maybe, just maybe, by the summer of 2021 – was like the elusive pot of gold at the rainbow’s end.

And where are we now – and what have we learned?  What have we forgotten that once we knew?

If you are anything like me, you are still processing 2020 and its twists and turns and peaks and troughs – different experiences and different responses for each of us.  What will life be like – post-Covid?  Who knows?  What will happen to those new friendships – and those new puppies and bicycles if it comes to that?  What about those old relationships with people we haven’t seen for nearly a year?  What will be the same?  What will be different?  What have we lost?  What have we gained?

2,000 or so years ago, St Paul wrote – “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love”.

We need them all now, just as much as he needed them then . . . so may they be ours to take with us into the year ahead – into 2021, whatever that may bring.

Jenny Veasey