Paul’s letter

As we slowly leave those painful periods of lockdown and restriction behind us, we are emerging into a world that increasingly feels much like the one we inhabited before anyone had ever heard of Covid-19. It is though strangely different. We cannot undo all that has been witnessed and experienced since March 2020. The pandemic has changed us – who we are, how we are with one another and how we view the world.

As society continues to “open up”, this does feel like a new beginning. It’s certainly felt like that in church. As a church community we have necessarily proceeded with caution these past 18 months, not wanting to put anyone’s life or health at risk. In recent weeks, however, we too have tentatively begun to relax some of the measures that we have lived with since we returned to our premises. As a result, our worship has had a more familiar flavour of late – and I’m not talking about the bacon served at Café Worship!

Our task now is to seize the opportunity to make the most of this new beginning, to not slip too quickly into oft-trod patterns and old routines. In the words of a prayer of the St Hilda Community that I frequently turn to, we need to be open to the possibility of God’s Spirit daring us to ‘try new steps, explore new patterns and new partnerships’.

At the General Church Meeting in June, I spoke of the opportunity before us to do just this - recognising that, with limited resources (human and financial), we need to identify some priorities and focus on them. Building on our past, we are continuing to explore an approach to mission that has food at its heart. We hope to be able to have more news to share with you about this – and what this could look like – in the coming weeks and months. As we continue to seek to witness to the love of God in Christ Jesus, the hope is very much that we will be able to make the most of this new beginning that we have been offered.

A final word from me on this newsletter, which is now “under new management”. We are extremely grateful to Andrew Fox for editing and producing this magazine over more years than I can remember. It has been a real labour of love for Andrew for a long, long time, and we owe him our thanks for his ongoing dedication, commitment, and care. Thank you, Andrew. We are, of course, delighted that Yvonne and Simon Turnbull have offered to pick up the baton thus ensuring that the newsletter continues to be held in safe hands. Thank you both. I look forward to receiving regular reminders that it is time for me to write something. Andrew, I can safely assume, will be relieved that this task no longer falls to him!

With every blessing, Paul.