Janet`s April 2020 letter to the Community

As I write we are in the midst of a national crisis of confidence with the effect of Covid-19 beginning to bite.  The government is putting in place plans for additional hospital capacity and production of medical equipment.  We are not sure whether large numbers of people will soon be told to stay at home for their own protection.  We don’t know how long this pandemic will last or quite how disruptive it will be.  Many meetings and events are being cancelled and we may have to cancel church services.  At St Paul’s, we are following the direction of the Church of England and will respond to all official advice.

All of this can make us feel very anxious and unsettled.  Our normal patterns are disturbed.  And we cannot control events.  What we can control, of course, is our own behaviour.  The supermarkets have issued repeated statements that there will be no shortage of food or essential household supplies, and yet there has been panic-buying on an astonishing scale, with the actions of the anxious creating a problem for others, especially those who are not able to afford, or to store, back-up supplies.

We can respond to this “out-of-control” feeling by feeding our anxiety, by stockpiling whatever we can get hold of, and by focusing entirely on our own self-interest.  Or we can respond by being vigilant about hand hygiene, remembering that the vast majority of people who develop the disease will have only mild symptoms, and, while being sensible about our social contacts, looking out for our neighbours, especially those who are vulnerable.  We always have a choice about how we respond to difficult situations.  We can allow them to make us fearful, angry, resentful, bitter and self-centred.  Or we can allow them to be opportunities to develop our trust in God, to exercise self-control and to show kindness. 

All things pass.  This too will pass.  As we prepare to celebrate Easter, whether in church or in our own homes, let us remember that God’s love endures, that Jesus’ death and resurrection is a guarantee of our own eventual home with God, and that his presence is with us today, in all the challenges that life throws at us. 

I wish you a blessed and joy-filled Easter – and the strength to ride out the current crisis!


With every blessing,   


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