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Rector’s Letter

How has it been for you? The most common word I’ve heard used about what we are going through is, ‘strange’. We know that awful things are going on out there but for some of us with roomy houses and gardens, beautiful countryside to walk in, and excellent local shops to deliver it has been bearable at least. But no one has experienced anything like this before and we don’t know what the future holds which is part of what makes it strange.

Chatting with people I have heard about the strains of home schooling. I have heard about some people who are lonely and very happy to have a call from somebody and others who prefer not to bother anyone. Funeral directors have told me about the strangeness of funerals where there is no consolatory hugging and no handshakes. My two young sons have missed friends and being given the chance to prove what they have learned in an exam. This is a small selection of stories I’ve heard about life under lockdown.

One of the most difficult parts has been the uncertainty. When is it going to end? Am I keeping the correct social distance? Can I take my mum out for a drive in the car? But most of all it just feels strange.

There are well researched stages of reaction and symptoms arising from lockdown. These are similar to the stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We will most likely at some point all feel these emotions.

These are all natural responses and we are not alone in feeling them. In fact, acknowledging them and working through them, helps us to move on. On the positive side the other topic mentioned time and again is community and people looking out for each other. We gather on Thursdays to show our appreciation for carers, we call our neighbours and check if we can do some shopping or fetch a prescription – or just chat. There hasn’t been one person I have spoken to who didn’t want this outbreak of caring for others, this kindness, to continue. We look forward to the good things that will grow out of the darkness. We want to keep that community spirit going. I wonder if we will manage to do so.

I hope we do. I hope we will make it our business to keep it going. The ‘new normal’ should have neighbourliness firmly at it’s heart. Even the smallest thing makes a difference, a phone call or continuing to appreciate the work of carers of every kind even after the crisis is over.

One thing I do know is that some people will have during the lockdown suffered tragedy, lost loved ones in very difficult circumstances, entered into depression. Some may have kept going throughout the crisis to collapse physically or emotionally when things begin to look better. In our determination to maintain the community spirit. Let us ensure that we maintain the kindness and not judge. That’s
God’s job) but help and understand. Let us continue to build a loving, kind, compassionate community. We are the body of Christ, his hands and feet on earth and this is the work that we are to do.

From Ephesians 4.31-5.2

Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us[c] and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


A prayer

Holy Father, in your mercy
Hear our earnest prayer
Keep our loved ones, now far distant,
‘Neath your care.

When in sorrow, when in danger,
When in loneliness,
In your love look down and comfort
Their distress.

May the joy of your salvation
Be their strength and stay;
May they love and may they praise you
Day by day.

Church of England and Government guidelines mean that there will be no church services for the foreseeable future. This does not mean that there will be no services, in fact, there will be many services; online, streamed on Facebook and other such social media and many people will be praying at home.

Like many other priests across the country I will be saying Morning Prayer every weekday morning at 9.00 and Compline on a Saturday evening at 7.00. in my home.

I will make copies of the services available for anyone who wants to pray along with me in their homes. If you know of someone who might want to join in please pass them on. Let us not lose contact with each other. Let us continue to be the Church even at a distance.

Let us pray for each other and for the world. Let us pray for fortitude and compassion and for hope.

I will post regularly on our website and Facebook pages. I am available on 07777692458 phone or text and email abranston2002@gmail.com I am praying for us all. If you have a prayer request please let me know and I will add your prayer to the list.

The Arrowvale Group of Parishes

Byton, Shobdon, Lyonshall, Staunton on Arrow, Pembridge with Moorcourt

Worship and prayer resources to use during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

If there is any way I can help even if you just want a chat call me on;
07777692458
If the line is busy do leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
You can also email me on abranston2002@gmail.com

Anna

Rev’d Anna Branston
Rector of the Arrowvale Group of Parishes

A prayer for us in uncertain times

Keep us, good Lord,
under the shadow of your mercy
in this time of uncertainty and distress.
Sustain and support the anxious and fearful,
and lift up all who are brought low;
that we may rejoice in your comfort
knowing that nothing can separate us from your love
in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

Anna Branston

Please do all you can to keep yourselves safe.

Rev’d Anna Branston
Rector of the Arrowvale Group of Parishes

Further up-to-date information on Coronavirus on the sites below :=

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

For further information please follow below links :-

Church of England/Safeguarding

Diocese of Hereford/Safeguarding