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Benefice Safeguarding Officer: Rita Harrison-Roach is the Benefice Safeguarding Officer for Rogate with Terwick and Trotton with Chithurst Benefice.
email@example.com or Rita can be contacted on: (01730 818339)
Rector’s Letter – July 2020
‘Christ Centred – Community led’
‘Physically, not socially distanced!’
Thursday evenings in lockdown have been a true outpouring of our communal thanks to the NHS/Carers and key workers, when we have stood outside clapping and clanging as an expression of gratitude for the care and selfless acts have been humbling. Yet something even deeper has been going on, an expression of being in this together even when we are to be apart and physically distanced. Solidarity is not about sameness or even agreement. It is about how we live a shared commitment to certain values, and beliefs that unite us than divide us. I have rather missed the standing outside, communal sounds and noises of near neighbours and church bell. However, on 5th July we are being asked to step outside again to have one final clap for all ‘Carers’.
As a church we have adapted and moved to online worship, with many logged on whilst sitting in gardens and in our homes both near and quite further afield in USA, Singapore, and South Africa. In the longing for church buildings to be open once again there has been renewed reflection on what it means to be Church. The stories of people expressing Christ’s love and hope in many practical ways in local communities has sharpened reflection on what it means to be ‘sent out’ by Christ. This has been particularly inspiring when it has been about a ‘doing with’ rather than a ‘doing for.’
Lockdown has been a time for ‘heroes’; the 100 year old ‘Colonel’ Tom Moore walking for the NHS, together with Marcus Rashford, the England and Manchester United footballer, for persuading the Government to provide food vouchers during the school summer holidays to children who are eligible for free school meals and many up and down the country doing amazing volunteering and those working on the front line.
It has been a time to reflect, and to think and pray over the inequalities and plight of many, together with untimely deaths and sickness sometimes as a direct result of the virus. It has also been a time for questioning of our nations’ way of marking its history, its statues and how we deal with the dark and its more glorious times. It has brought to light how we need other people. Both young and old still need to grow and learn with others. We have seen community in its varying ways supporting and working together to bring hope and stability to those around, in what has been an emotional rollercoaster for many.
As we move out of lockdown, the issues of injustice and racial inequality still need to be tackled, together with the ever increasing need for food banks, which highlight an underlying low pay culture together with credit issues, and, how we are to care for the aged, and less able, whilst finding our way to live the ‘new normal’ with the virus. This is quite a daunting task. As Christians we believe all lives matter, and that we are to love God and neighbour, whoever and wherever they maybe, in or out of lockdown.
The Church, filled with the Spirit, is called to model the new humanity. I am reminded during Easter, when Archbishop Justin Welby said that after Covid-19, ‘we can’t go back to where we were before’. As we emerge into the future to what is now deemed, ‘new normal’, physical distancing will inevitably continue to be required but let us not return to the social distancing of the past. In a good way, pandemic has brought us closer. Let’s not stay apart.
Let’s rise to the challenge, and make for joy, hope, love, peace the central facets for our ‘new normal’ even at a safe distance. Are you up for it? Our Churches are open for prayer, enter in. All are welcome.
Yours in Christ
PS. I would like to thank so many for all their contributions to our online services and to those who make it possible. There is no news as yet to when our Churches can resume worship. Funerals can now take place in Church with limited numbers, sadly no other services except for private prayer (at time of writing). Our prayers are with the bereaved, the many couples who are awaiting to be married, and those to be baptised. We await news from Church and Government.
Please note that services, within the United Benefice are still suspended, but online worship continues.
There are new regulations around weddings and funerals, and for more information,
please contact the rector:
The Revd. Edward M. Doyle 01730 821576 firstname.lastname@example.org
For Services at Home and other information