Easter is here once again, the second Easter in which we find ourselves restricted in our worship as well as our daily lives. But just as Easter brings new hope in our risen Lord; and the spring it brings new hope with the blossom appearing and weather improving; so we have new hope for the future, we are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. We can get outside again and enjoy the sunshine. Hopefully soon we will be able to resume some sense of normality and start to meet up, for a walk, for coffees or just to catch up with each other. Easter will see us open our churches for services once more, the chance to meet and share worship together.
But things will also be different. Some can’t wait to get out and about, others will be more cautious. We need to give people time and space to get used to whatever our new normal will be. Many of us have had a chance to reflect and have decided to make changes to improve our ‘normality’. For some, this has been to give up some of what they were doing, for others it has been to do something different. The challenge now is how to make our new resolutions happen, and not to get drawn back into our old ways. How do we make that work?
This challenge also applies to us within our Benefice. With Revd Manette moving on to a new post things will be different, there will be changes. But we also have new opportunities. We have had more people sharing our on-line worship than we used to have coming to Sunday Services. We need to explore how we can continue to support them alongside resuming our regular Sunday Services. As we open up again, many of our volunteers will be unable to carry on with the help they used to give. We need to look and see how we can continue with our many activities, how we can encourage new helpers to come forward. The more people we have, the less the burden for everyone. ‘We’ are all the ‘church’, we all have a calling, something to contribute. No matter how small your part may seem to you, it is part of the whole, the Body of Christ, here in Great Barton and Thurston.
Within our Lent group we have been discussing what our churches will look like as we start to open up again. We have had a chance to reflect and think about how we can reach out and share our faith; what changes we need to make; what we may need to stop and what we can do differently. We have looked back to the early church to see how they shared and supported each other, to see what this can show us how we too can reach out, to share and support all in our community.
I have also had the chance to reflect on my calling over the last year. As you may have read in my previous newsletters, I had felt called to serve God and was training to be a Reader, but I was unclear about where this was leading me. I have thoroughly enjoyed the training but I felt that God was asking more of me. Following a visit to Israel in November 2019, I have felt increasingly that I was being called to ordination. I spoke with Revd Manette and she agreed to support me. And so I have now started to explore this further. As I write, I am going through the process of discernment and I would ask for your prayers to support me on my journey. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I do know that I will be here to serve in this Benefice in whatever capacity God has lined up for me. I look forward with excitement to whatever the future holds.
As I said at the start, this Eastertide is an opportunity for a fresh start, to step out with hope into a new future. I look forward to walking that path with you all as we start to share time together again. May I wish you all a very Blessed Easter and I hope to see you all soon.