Thoughts from the Vicarage – 4

Dear Friends of The Valley

Good afternoon everyone and here at the Vicarage the news is that the great Vicarage Allotment project is well under way. Mr Vicarage has so far prepared half the ground area, removed turf and done much raking. Seeds are sown, labelled and placed in warm places – like the top shelf of my airing cupboard! Also thanks to the kindness of others, onion sets materialised on our doorstep this morning!

And here we are, Friday and nearly the week end with a change of pace and rhythm as a way of making sure that the days don’t all merge into one.

Routine and purpose …

Over this week two things have become increasingly evident to me and I’m wondering if anyone else is thinking about these two words. I’m trying to develop a timetable each day which seems to be helping – with what I call bookends for prayer. So at 8.30 each day I pray the office of Morning Prayer, 11 am is Psalm 23 with the Lord’s Prayer and then Evening Prayer and Compline before bed. In amongst this I am setting time aside to keep in contact with people. If you would like a chat just let me know. None of us have any answers but keeping in touch will sustain us.

However we do it, routine can give us a scaffolding – a structure and shape to each day. And alongside routines, a sense of purpose is important. I sense that speaking to my own children who are home schooling (thank heavens for the teaching genes!). And, of course our purposes will all be different yet important.

Our world is in need of contemplative prayer, of courage and of compassion. There is plenty of space for purpose within those three ‘c’ words as I’m sure you will agree!

Most importantly of all – please build a structure into your day and week. The danger of a loss of landmarks and pattern is immense. I know – I couldn’t remember the day of the week the other day! If you normally did something on a Friday afternoon put it in your diary still and do something similar at home. Call a group member, drink coffee, mark it somehow. On Sunday morning watch the Church service from the Diocese broadcast (details tomorrow). Make each day different, and make the routine as close to usual as possible

Belinda churchmouse … is very annoyed as she noticed my mistake yesterday with her name. Mercifully she has forgiven me and tells me she’s seen a lot of funny humans asking if they can change their clocks forward by 4 months. All well and good Belinda but however much we’d like that to be the case, “No you can’t!” Don’t forget to change your clocks though – Spring forward one hour on Sunday or you’ll be late for church!

Talking of ‘found’ things Belinda’s so excited as she found paintings rolled up on our doorstep earlier today – thank you to whoever dropped them off. They’re now in my study window for those who pass by on their way to exercise or on an essential outing. Belinda reminds me that not every one can pass by. So, here we are attached and thank you ! Please take heed of the message, take care and stay safe.

Belinda’s exercise yesterday took her scurrying up the hedgerows, dodging the horse strings and traffic to Upper Lambourn where she tells me she saw the most gorgeous site – four little black lambs with their Mums – and no, she forgot to take a photo! Spring, that time of new birth, of re-creation and new life is springing indeed.

Belinda has also had time to listen to the radio and wants me to remind you about local radio conversations to inform and delight you

From the villages …

Wasn’t the applause for the NHS special yesterday evening – as I went outside the clapping, cheering and general cheering was quite emotional. We have so much to be thankful for at this time in terms of the NHS, social care and all the services we are able to access in this valley. That reminds me …

The level of volunteering has reached new heights. Have you seen the latest link to Lambourn’s efforts I am sure Eastbury and East Garston have similar – do let me know!

Only yesterday I received phone calls from locals offering toys, games and puzzles for children, offering lifts to Swindon hospital, offering space in a local building, offering a daily cooked meal from The George and the list goes on …

Thank you to all those who have put their compassion into action here and if you need help or assistance please use the link above.

And finally … for today

This Sunday’s readings are attached once again because some of you may have missed them the first time. Tomorrow’s email will have all the details you need for joining in with worship plus Songs of Praise as well!

Please stay home, stay safe and only leave home for the essentials. Let’s all try and keep in touch with one another and with God, praying that we’ll find new ways of growing in love for one another through these dark times

Mr Vicarage is calling me for a cuppa so I leave you now with every blessing.