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The United Benefice of Withington, Sevenhampton with Charlton Abbots, Hawling, Whittington, Dowdeswell and Andoversford, Shipton and Cold Salperton

This month's letter from the clergy

Dear friends,

These last few months have been very strange. Sadly it has not been possible to produce or deliver a magazine until now. Many things of course, are still not happening and some things may never be the same again. On the day I write this the Global number of virus cases has reached 8 million and although infections are on the decline here, elsewhere in the world they are still rising. A second wave in this country or another winter spike is a very real possibility. There will also be those who have lost their jobs or in other ways suffered hardship. Children have been stuck in at home and not able to be with their friends. 

For those who have have the technology, emails, video calls and zoom have helped to ease the sense of isolation, but we are very conscious of those who do not have access to such things. Having said that the sense I have is that there has been a lot of community support and people looking after one another which is most encouraging. It is often said that a crisis brings out the best in people and I think that has proved true.

There have been some positives for some people. Households have spent more time together, there have been times spent in the garden or on walks in the countryside. Air pollution has improved dramatically. In Church life we have had significantly more people join in our weekly zoom service than we actually had come to our church buildings. We need to think about all these things as we face the future, so that we don’t lose what has been good. Nevertheless I am sure we will all be glad that things are easing and we can socialise a bit more.

One book I have read during the pandemic has been ‘God and the Pandemic’, by Tom Wright. I would strongly recommend it to any churchgoer wanting to reflection what has been happening. We do not know why God allows these things to happen, but he is able to work through it all. Tom Wright interestingly argues that Romans 8:28 is best translated, “in all things God works together with those who love him to bring about what is good’ which highlights the fact that God works with us and through us to bring good out of bad situations. That is both a comfort and a challenge.

Take care and may God’s grace give you the strength you need