Thoughts from the Vicarage 66

Dear Friends of the Valley

It was my hope that I would not have to write again as I did in March this year.

The News …

We are all absorbing the news that another lockdown will begin tomorrow Thursday 5th November and that public worship is to be suspended. This news comes just as we have celebrated the women and men of the Church whose example of holiness inspires us and remembered not only the great named saints of the past but also the cloud of unnamed witnesses.

In some ways this is not unexpected. We heard that a second wave of the virus was highly likely before Christmas, but despite the efforts the majority of people have made, and the great sacrifices of many, not to mention the huge efforts all churches have made to be secure and safe places, the Government believes that a national lockdown is necessary to protect lives and our NHS.

We had hoped that exemptions may be made for places of worship, but this has not been realised, although the senior faith leaders in England have issued a letter to the Prime Minister asking him to reconsider this and setting out their reasons.

You can read the letter here:
https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/Faith%20communities%20letter%20to%20Prime%20MInister%20%28ii%29.pdf

Once again, our sacramental life, and the great hope, stability and encouragement people of faith take from corporate worship has been disregarded. It appears that very little attention has been paid to corporate worship that directly feeds our commitment to social action and engagement with social welfare – even the Government have admitted is fundamental to the wellbeing and fabric of society.

Abide by the law

Of course, we will abide by the law, as we have been doing since March. As corporate worship is suspended from Thursday 5th November until Wednesday 2nd December, we will go back to a period of Eucharistic fasting and making acts of spiritual communion. Our Valley churches will all be open for individual private prayer where you will be most welcome. Should you, or anyone you know need support of any kind please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Christine.

Our commitment to be a praying presence for and in the Lambourn Valley will continue through zoomed Morning Prayer, Compline and the private prayer of many souls. Our Archbishops’ have asked us to consecrate Thursdays during this period of lockdown to prayer and fasting.

Thoughts from The Vicarage

will continue, along with readings and prayers to all those whose details we have, and we will send the same out in the post to those who are not online.

Hopefully, we will all continue to be actively engaged in outreach to our neighbours, our communities and the vulnerable. On a simple level maybe send a cake or some chocolates round to a neighbour or someone you know is struggling. Drop a cake up to the school or the surgery. Remember how much pressure lots of people are under and send them something to say that they are appreciated and that they matter. Or of course simply pick up the phone, call someone and give them 15 minutes of your time – you might be the only person they talk to all day.

Would you like to volunteer?

There are a number of elderly people who have relied upon The George for a meal during these past months. The George is closing and staff, like Alex are having a well-deserved break. So they will not be providing that service.

Are you in a position to help?

Would you be able to cook a simple dish, cook an extra portion to share with someone who is alone and would certainly appreciate it? If so and if you are interested in helping out please contact myself and we can have a chat.

Please do touch base regularly with those who you may know to be particularly isolated and those who have asked us to do so. If you are aware of anyone in any particular need or who is in any way at risk, please speak to me immediately.

Let’s continue to Be kind. Be generous. Be full of hopeful expectation. Please pray for one another, and for me as I pray for you.

We know much more about how the virus behaves and how to take measures to protect ourselves and those around us. We also know that we are strong as a Valley community, and maybe even more united and closer than we were in March.

This is largely because we took on the call to care for each other, to walk in each other’s shoes, to continue to come together when we were allowed for worship, and to reach out in love and friendship to those who needed us.

In doing these things, we learned more about how to live out the gospel in new and more profound ways and responded to Jesus’ mandate to love our neighbour. Please pray for each other and be assured of mine.

With love and every blessing

Julie