Greetings from the Rector,

As I write this, our Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just been pounding the desk during his lockdown briefing.  The stay at home mantra is being replaced by control the virus and we are soon to be allowed unlimited exercise- there is potential for us to be fitter than we have ever been when we return to normal.

That return to normal will not be happening during this month’s magazine, with 1st July being listed as a possible date for the reopening of pubs and potentially our local churches; this reopening conditional on the fact that the rate of infection, or r-value, will need to be below zero.  Those who cannot work from home are being encouraged back to work, and by the time you read this some classes at our local primary school may have started back.

This period of uncertainty, as the lockdown rules begin to be relaxed, almost feels harder than the initial lockdown, simply because of the uncertainty about what will happen next.  We like to be able to plan, we want a date in the diary when life will return to normal soon, when the things we took for granted will be returned to us.

All this pontificating begs some questions about what we consider normal to be, and exactly what bits of normal do we want to return to?  What aspects of lockdown life do we want to keep post-lockdown?  What do we value the most and why?

During May our local postie Chris wore fancy shirts and even a lovely floral dress, raising a phenomenal amount of money for Hope Hospice and, in the process, bringing humour and joy to our village.  Others have demonstrated wonderful creativity and community spirit with memorial garden renovation and spectacular photography whilst walking in the beautiful land we are surrounded by.

The end of May was Pentecost and the birthday of the church.  A birthday when the Holy Spirit came to continue God’s relationship with each and every one of us, an ever present source of comfort, strength and hope in these times of crisis.  Church has never been about the buildings, as beautiful as they are,  Church is about the community that gathers and blesses their community through prayer and deed. 

Our churches continue to pray for our communities, and we welcome prayer requests for anyone you would like us to pray for.  Simply contact us using the details in this magazine, or via our Kinnerley Benefice Facebook page.  No prayer request is too big or too small, and we can pray publicly or privately.

Each one of us will be experiencing this crisis differently, and the danger with online church and social distanced interaction is the temptation to struggle on in silence, putting a brave face on it whilst struggling underneath.  Social media is especially bad for making everyone else’s life look fabulous and not encouraging people to share their struggles. 

Lockdown is tough, choosing to keep people safe by keeping your distance when you want to run up to them, give them a big hug and make sure they are okay really sucks.  We are human, and the coronavirus has forced us to confront two of our greatest fears- our mortality and social isolation- personally prayer has never been more important.

As someone who has experienced a lockdown birthday, it would be fabulous to have a huge party when lockdown restrictions are finally lifted- when we reach the coveted Covid alert level one, and celebrate our country being free from the disease.  Until that time let us encourage one another, those of faith and those of none, to continue to support each other, showing love to our neighbours whilst keeping one another safe.

God bless you all.  
Revd Chris