We had our carnival last Sunday, just before Ash Wednesday and the rigours of the penitential season of Lent. Our party after Church was timely in that we had the opportunity to use up all the fancy foods of our everyday existence, and, indeed, it was a veritable feast.
However, this was, actually, a departure from our usual feast of pancakes and was full of all sorts of delights, sweetmeats and mouth-watering goodies. It was, of course, to celebrate, within the carnival atmosphere, the farewell to our dear retiring churchwarden, Blair, and his ever-loving and ever-supportive wife, Marilyn, and Abby, their beautiful and beloved pooch. Amid the celebratory nature of the occasion, there was a sadness, since we were both remembering with deep appreciation the unstinting hard work they have generously given over many years, and bemoaning their leaving the close community we have enjoyed together.
So, in song and verse, in laughter and tears, we made our fond and heartfelt farewells in the certainty that, despite being separated by tracts of land and sea, moor and fen, mountain and bog, we will remain forever friends, if not family, indeed. For us, in the fraternity of our Christian community, there is no east or west, north of south, “Brexin” or Brexit, free of slave: just one will for unity, inclusion, care and concern, which we have embraced together within the love of God.
As they drive into the sunset, (it is west, after all) we send them off with love and gratitude to their new home in Wales. There will be forever a welcome when they return, God bless them, Blair, Marilyn and Abby.
INFECTIOUS ILLNESS AND THE CHALICE (February 2020).
6 March 2020
To the Clergy of the Diocese
Dear Sisters and Brothers
We wrote to you at the beginning of February regarding good practice concerning coronavirus and control of infectious diseases in general. We want now to update our advice in the light of changing circumstances over the past month.
The Church of England publishes guidance to all clergy and congregations here:
We have decided to go somewhat beyond this advice in certain respects because of the mobile and international nature of our congregations and in the light of medical advice we have received. We preface this advice by re-iterating that coronavirus appears to present a particular risk to elderly people and those with reduced immunity or a pre-existing health condition. Our advice is given out of a mutual concern for the wellbeing of all members of our chaplaincies.
Infectious diseases seem to cause higher levels of public anxiety than other threats, perhaps because we can’t see them or sense them. And although social media can satisfy our desire for information they have the capacity to fuel anxiety. Avoiding panic is a key part of responding to coronavirus for all of us in positions of leadership.
This guidance is intended as a prudent response to an unusual challenge. It represents a set of sensible precautions to promote health and wellbeing in the conditions of our diocese.
We will keep in touch with you as the situation develops and plan to write again in the next couple of weeks. If you have any questions do contact us or your Archdeacon or our Chief Operating Officer. We will continue to monitor the situation and guidance closely. At the same time, our Diocesan website will continue to carry the latest updates from official sources – national governments, WHO and EU – so please keep an eye on this also.
Meanwhile, we pray that our chaplaincies and congregations can be oases of peace, loving fellowship and hope in times of anxiety. We continue to pray for those infected by the coronavirus, for those who care for them, and for health specialists and authorities who are combatting the spread of infection.
Yours in Christ
Was signed Robert and David