Minister’s letter

We will not be producing a printed newsletter for April, but we would like to share the Minister’s Letter which was written, in advance, for that April Newsletter.

 

18th March 2020

Dear Friends,

These are unprecedented times. You will know by now that we have needed to cancel all public worship and all activities in our Churches until the beginning of May. At that time we will review the decision in the light of current advice. As most of you will not be going into the Church, we have decided to halt the production of the newsletter for the time-being. Hence, this letter is being sent to you by email.

Please assume, unless you hear otherwise, that all services and all activities in the Church planned for the remainder of March and for April will not be held. Very sadly, this will include our Holy Week services and our Easter Celebration. We have also had to postpone our Young People’s Service, planned for this coming Sunday. However, this service can be shared with us at another time and we look forward to that very much indeed.

These are unprecedented times. Such crises bring out the best and the worst in people. Sadly, we only hear about the worst. However, the best is also being shared across the country, as people rally to support and help those in the greatest need. In our churches, we have strong networks of pastoral care and support. If you find yourself in need of supplies, in need of prescriptions to be collected or in need of a friendly chat, please do not hesitate to ask, either through your Pastoral Elder, through your Church Secretary or to me. In the current circumstances, loneliness is the most dangerous threat. Please don’t feel bashful about asking for help or support. In these times, it is vital that we rally to support each other. However, it is also vital that we observe good hygiene practices and stay safe. If you want to open your windows and play opera to your neighbours, then please do! My favourite is Traviata!!

One thought that comes to mind is that we follow one who reached out to those who were isolated and cut off from society to give them acceptance, inclusion and a loving touch. That showed huge courage and immense compassion. In the current circumstances it is a very difficult example to follow, but one that nonetheless gives us a huge challenge.

At the end of April we say farewell to our friends David and Trisha Legge. David has been a Minister in Nottingham for over 10 years, has been instrumental in helping us form the North and South Nottingham Areas, has been a colleague for me as a Pastoral Consultant for Nottinghamshire and has worked tirelessly to service the Synod Office’s IT needs. We shall miss them both in Nottingham, but wish them both a long and happy retirement.

I have no wish to make this letter overlong, but I would like to add a thought for the season. The current crisis is making us feel afraid and wary of each other. A recent book by Rowan Williams entitled ‘Meeting God in Paul’ focusses on some of the apostle Paul’s more challenging ideas. One of these is about the radical freedom that relating to God brings us. Rowan Williams writes: “Christian freedom is the liberty to let God do God-like things in you – to give life, to promise forgiveness and reconciliation, to communicate hope in word and action.” I cannot think of a better description of the lasting effects of the resurrection of Jesus than this.

God knows our every need and will level mountains into plains and rough places into smooth pathways, if we can only learn to ask and to trust. If we make a straight path for God into our hearts and souls, God will make a straight path for us. The truth of the resurrection that we celebrate at Easter is that God will always bring new life. No matter how hard something seems or how final some disappointment or ending appears to be, God will always bring new hope and new possibilities. We open our troubled eyes to look in trust and there will be God, standing beside us to strengthen us and going before us to show us the next step on our adventure through life. The great message of Easter Day is to ‘let go and let God’ and to bathe in the freedom that comes with the knowledge that we are loved and accepted.

Please note that I will be on holiday from Monday 13th April to Wednesday 22nd April inclusive. In the case of a pastoral emergency, please contact either one of the Secretarial Team or your own Pastoral Elder.

I wish you all a very happy Easter! Please take care and stay well.

God’s richest blessings,

Chris.