A Letter from your Associate Priest

Dear friends

 

I have been so impressed at the way the communities of Bere Regis, Affpuddle and Briantspuddle with Turnerspuddle have responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, looking out for others, sharing and caring via the schemes set up, the rainbows, teddies, the clapping that has definitely got louder on a Thursday evening, our wonderful village shops run with such care for staff or volunteers and customers, the surgery and pharmacy, I could go on – thank you all of you, As I write this in the middle of April, none of us really have any idea what will have happened two weeks hence when this magazine is hopefully delivered to your door. I imagine we will still be in lockdown and I imagine that we all cope with the situation in different ways. Did you get on and do all those jobs that needed doing at home in the first couple of weeks and are only now learning a slower pace of life or are you more like me, hoping you don’t run out of time to get round to doing all the jobs that need doing. I have enjoyed a slower pace of life; I even washed my car myself the other day – can’t recall the last time I did that. I have enjoyed the beautiful weather, making good use of paths that are now drying out in my exercise time. This area of Dorset is certainly one of beauty, it has been a delight to notice how the trees and hedges have come to life, to notice a few bluebells and then, only a few days later, see a carpet of them. The birds are singing louder, or maybe that’s because they are not competing with traffic and aeroplanes, the natural world just seems calmer as if it is breathing a huge sigh of relief. I have also started to attend to the Vicarage garden, my excuse for leaving things as they are for the birds over winter is no longer a valid one. I must say that whilst it is quite large, it appears to be the easiest of the borrowed gardens we’ve been stewards of so far. It doesn’t have the ‘wild’ areas that we’ve had before, overrun with brambles, cow parsley and the dreaded bind weed. At the moment there is no sign of frog spawn in the pond, but I have seen signs of at least one frog who manages to keep out of Zinnie’s way. Having fallen in the pond last August, when only 7 months old, on a visit to her new home, Zinnie is wary of water, she does enjoy leaping over it and she is becoming attracted to the weed in it, which sometimes sticks to her beard giving an impression of the monster from the deep lagoon! Hopefully, if there is anything else living in it, she will leave well alone.

 

Because of these strange times I have had to embrace social media a bit more than I did before. I had only recently joined the village Facebook page and, as a rule, I wouldn’t normally post on it, but I can now post pictures and words, thank you to those who have liked my posts or made encouraging comments. It’s not a natural thing for me and I’ve never even tried twitter or Instagram! The telephone has been vital for keeping in touch with parishioners and I know that many in the congregations are using this method to keep in touch with those who are more isolated than usual. Thanks to Rev Jenny Alidina and her husband Naj we’ve managed to have streamed worship since Mothering Sunday in the Benefice via Zoom. It’s been encouraging to see that each week participants have increased as we’ve been able to meet together for Sunday worship, Holy Week Night Prayers, Good Friday morning Messy Church and in the afternoon an Hour Reflection at the Cross. The streamed worship will continue on a Sunday for the foreseeable future, if you’d like details please email me.

 

After the pain and distress of Good Friday and the excitement and joy of that first Easter morning, the disciples were probably a bag of nerves. Not knowing who and what to believe about Jesus, frightened that the authorities were looking for them, they locked themselves away, they went into isolation. Of course, we now know all about isolation, but we are doing it to keep people safe, to look after the NHS and carers and therefore to save lives. But just as the disciples were frightened and anxious, it’s the same for us. Whilst it looks like the peak may have been reached, there’s still really no knowing what our future will look like. But just as Jesus appeared to the disciples after the resurrection and said ‘Peace be with you’, he says it to us today. God’s love is peace and is emphasized through the dedication, sacrificial love and skill of NHS personnel, medical researchers and all other key workers who risk their personal safety, God’s love is also apparent in every person, adult or child, responding to the call to stay home where they can and therefore save lives. We must not give up, because such sacrificial love brings hope and possibility to us all.

With blessings for a safe Eastertide, Sandra.

Rev Sandra