A letter from Rev Paul 14th June 2021
I seem to have had a plethora of chapel anniversary services recently and my thoughts have fallen neatly into three points.
We look back – and rightly so but often nostalgically! We give thanks for those who had the vision in the first place and those who have sustained it through thick and thin. It is wonderful to hear testimonies and stories of services in the past, chapel anniversaries and Sunday school anniversaries – “had to get there early to get a seat”. Further back in this area the visits of John Wesley as recorded in his journal enable us to literally follow in his footsteps.
We’re still coming to terms with the effects of the global pandemic. Much has been ‘paused’ and enforced upon us but much has continued successfully. Pastoral care and contact has been and continues to be offered through regular phone calls, cards, flowers, cakes, zoom catch ups etc. The pause button has hopefully been / is being lifted and reset to go.
We’re beginning to think about it more and more. The ‘when’ questions for church folk and from those who use our buildings. What will the future look like? We have an opportunity now to shape it, to re-assess (as has been said before). What can we, or should we, pick up again? What do we do well? What can we put to one side? What can we do that is new or different (and not just for the sake of the novelty of it)? What can we offer now to our communities?
At the chapel anniversaries in the future what will be the story they tell as they look back to 2020/2021 saying: “Ah yes, the pandemic years”. Will they give thanks for what we did to continue sharing the love of God and for the legacy we left them with?
Captain of Israel’s host, and Guide of all who seek the land above,
Beneath Thy shadow we abide, the cloud of thy protecting love;
Our strength, Thy grace; our rule, Thy word; our end, the glory of the Lord.