Dear Friends of The Valley
Good afternoon. It is a gorgeous spring day and it is really lovely, to count my blessings, to have the chance to pause and notice that. It has been a really full on week so far, as you might imagine, as we try to adjust to a world we could not have imagined, and try to balance grace, community safety and legalities around things like weddings and funerals.
It seems that each morning we are waking to a strange new world. We have had to close the Church doors so that people aren’t encouraged to congregate, and that is clearly a very serious thing, but that does not mean that the Church is closed- we are still in the world and in the community in the name of God. Church happens wherever people pray, wherever people care for each other, wherever people notice and help, wherever we are. We are going to have to learn a new way of being Church and doing Church in the next weeks but we absolutely have the training and the tradition and the language and the heart to do that, and to do that together.
News from Bishop Steven of Oxford …
An extra email today from Bishop Steven arrived today. It is meant for clergy and church officers but I think that everyone should have the chance to read it if they would like to, to get a sense of the world we are adjusting to as a Diocese and also to get a sense of the excellent leadership we are being offered by our Bishops. https://mailchi.mp/oxford.anglican.org/coronavirus-ad-omnes-240320
If you are feeling sad or conflicted about our churches being shut – you are not alone. But we do need to remember to that this is a time of “WE” not “I” however painful that is at times.
In other news …
J.R. Tolkein’s words in The Fellowship of The Ring made me smile … “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Have you had some ideas about what to do with the time that is given to us – here and now? I have heard of such a wide variety … learning a new language, digging an allotment, countryside walks with photography, water painting and fence painting. Let others know what you are doing and share your photos.
From school … I received the beautiful Hosanna leaf photo attached for you to enjoy today!
Belindachurchmouse … has been out and about again and came back from having squeezed through the doors oh she says, let’s light a candle in Church!
Erm, sorry you can’t- Church is closed. But you can still light a candle in your own home and pray, or get someone else to pray with you down the phone: or you could email a member of the clergy and ask them to light a candle in their home and pray for you there. Happy to help always!
And finally … for today
We have been invited to pray the words of Psalm 23 each day at 11am along with one another by Bishop Steven along with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope. I commend it to you it speaks of God’s great love for each person, that He is with us giving rest to the weary, comfort and guidance to the perplexed. It’s attached to this email, if that helps.
And if you are feeling a bit alone please make sure that you are not more lonely than you have to be. If no one has called you, call someone else – and if you don’t know who to call, you can always call myself or Christine – there are some conversations that might happen most easily with one of us and we are very, very keen to carry on having those conversations.
Thank you for all your care and support that I know you are sharing with your communities. Please stay at home, please social distance if you really need to be out and about and, above all, let us hold one another in prayer, pray for the valley, the Kingdom and our world.
Off to see what’s happening out in the Vicarage garden now, see you soon, meanwhile, God bless