Dear Church Friends,
How is everyone? We are having to get used to Lockdown Two! Once again life has changed for all of us this week. Our ability to socialise has been severely restricted, although we are allowed to meet up with one other person in a public outdoor area.
I have looked back at my early communications to you and on 21 March I wrote; “I am available as the central point between our congregation, so please email me if you feel the need”. This is still the case. Keeping in touch with one another is most important as many people feel isolated and lonely and would welcome a phone call. We may not be able to see each other face to face, but we can keep in contact.
I should like to thank Val for leading our Communion Service last Sunday. It was very uplifting and special to be there and participate in Communion knowing we would be unable to hold worship in church for at least another month. The music from the Faure Requiem was perfect for reflection on All Saints Day. Val also celebrated All Souls Day (2nd November) within the Service and she lit candles and read out the requested names of people now departed. This was much appreciated by the 20 people who attended this service.
Every day the Daily Telegraph reprints an article from 100 years ago. I was fascinated by and could hardly believe what I read in the article in this week’s Monday’s paper. It was headed ‘ Scarlet Fever Epidemic. Position and Outlook.’
In 1920, November 2 was on a Tuesday and the authorities were worried about the disconcertingly rapid rise in the number of cases of Scarlet Fever. There are so many similarities with the current Covid-19 epidemic that it is uncanny, the main difference being that children and young adults were the worst affected 100 years ago.
Scarlet Fever was always around but normally each year there were two well defined waves, the first peaking in May and the second starting at the end of September and peaking in the New Year. It was also a very unpredictable illness as sometimes it had the deadliness of a plague and at others it was very mild. At that time there was no specific prevention or treatment as no form of inoculation had been devised. In 1920 the authorities were getting very worried by the speed at which the disease was spreading and were considering a short, temporary upheaval to ordinary life with the possible closure of ‘schools, places of public amusement and resort’. Scarlet Fever’s complications could be crippling and last for years following an attack which in itself had seemed mild enough. The article hoped that everyone would accept cheerfully whatever restrictions had to be imposed. Phrases like ‘What goes around comes around’ and ‘Deja vu’ come to mind!
Autumn Watch has been on our screens over the past two weeks and every programme emphasises the way in which nature helps us to find solace and respite and is so beneficial to our mental health. In Autumn we can look at the colours and listen to the sounds. At sunrise this morning myriads of geese were flying overhead on their way out to feeding grounds, calling to each other as they flew. Apparently 85% of the world’s population of pink-footed geese overwinter in the UK, having made the 600 miles journey from Iceland in 2 days. Yesterday’s programme showed footage of two blue tits on the ground. One was ‘out cold’ on its back having presumably flown into a window and the other was pushing its beak under its friend/partner to try and revive it. After a few moments the little bird fluttered back to life and turned onto its feet; the other one prodded it again; this did the trick and they flew off together. The lesson from this is ‘don’t give up’. In May this year on the Knepp Estate in West Sussex, a pair of white storks hatched and successfully reared three chicks. Two weeks after the first chicks arrived another pair of storks also hatched three chicks. It is the first time in over 600 years that storks have bred in the UK. Many of us will have seen storks on their nests on visits to countries like Portugal, but probably never expected them to breed in our country. As one of the autumn watch presenters said “…nature is the candlelight in the darkness to guide us through; so stay connected to nature; to the wonder and beauty of the natural world; protect it, enjoy it and treasure it…” God will provide.
Unfortunately, this year as a church we will not be able to hold our usual Remembrance Service or collect any donations towards the Poppy Appeal from the congregation. If you want to contribute, those of you with computers will be able to download a poppy poster and make a donation at the Royal British Legion’s website. www.britishlegion.org.uk
Sunday Zoom Worship
Rev Jim and Rev Janet will be providing a Zoom Worship based on the weekly Home Service printed sheet. If you would like an invitation please let me know and I will send you the weekly link.
The Sunday worship will usually begin at 11am but this first Sunday is Remembrance Sunday so worship will start at 10:15am and be finished in good time for people to go outdoors, or tune into a cenotaph service on TV etc.
Sunday Communion Services
Rev Jim and Rev Janet conduct a regular Communion service on Sundays at 7pm. This can be accessed on Zoom and by phone. People should ring Jim – 01253 896371 or Janet – 01253 896056 for details and access.
God is with us, surrounding us with his peace, in all situations and all places.
I have three Christmas Cacti. They spend the summer outside and the winter in my porch. One always flowers before the other two and is already giving me pleasure whenever I walk past it.
There are many blessings around us. We give thanks for small things that give us pleasure.
Let us pray.
We thank You, Lord for many things, the blessings of each day,
For home and food and family and guidance on life’s way.
We thank You for the earth and sky, the beauty all around,
And things we take for granted, Lord, the gifts of sight and sound.
We pray for those less fortunate and those who lost their way,
For those in trouble and despair, Lord care for them this day.
We thank You for your wonders, Lord, below us and above,
But most of all for hope and faith and Your undying love.
Words by Iris Hesselden from the Friendship Book for 2004
Please join me in saying the Grace together.
May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and evermore. Amen
God Bless you all