Janet`s letter to the Community

Janet’s letter to the Community

I wonder how 2021 was for you, and what you are hoping for in 2022?  I imagine that for many of us the last year has been one of mixed fortunes.  There will have been highs as well as lows, which, for some of you, will have been significant: the death of loved ones, the pain of continued separation from family and friends, or the loss of employment and income.  These are all difficult and painful, and it takes time to process them and to recover.  We need to be kind to ourselves and to each other as we continue to navigate through these extraordinary times.

Let us also spare a thought for those for whom 2021 was agonisingly traumatic.  I’m thinking here of the people of Afghanistan, especially the women and girls, whose lives have been dramatically circumscribed, and the large proportion of the population who are facing starvation this winter.  We may be able to do little for them, except to donate to appeals.  But we are able to help those Afghan refugees who have arrived in our community safely, but having lost everything: their homeland, their income, their possessions, their family members left behind or killed, all that they hoped for the future.  I cannot imagine the pain of arriving in a new country with nothing, after weeks of fear and uncertainty, into still more uncertainty in meagre temporary accommodation, not speaking the language and with minimal knowledge of our culture or the way our society works.

The Diocese of Chelmsford is working with statutory agencies to support a significant number of refugee families.  Items particularly needed locally are:  shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, paracetamol, ibuprofen, women’s hygiene products and baby milk powder.  If items are left in church in January, I will make sure they get to where they are needed. 

If you are not able to make a material donation, could you volunteer to help those seeking to learn English?  English for Women began in Chelmsford in 2016 to support women with limited English language skills to learn through topic-led discussion groups, aimed at reducing isolation and vulnerability through developing language competence and an understanding of English culture.  We at St Paul’s began a group in early 2020, which then came to an abrupt end.  Covid-permitting we are hoping to re-start the group early in 2022.  If you would be interested in supporting this initiative I would love to hear from you.

We cannot do everything, but we can play our part.  Can we make 2022 a year of generous reaching out to those in desperate need?  I wish you all a very Happy New Year.   


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