Dear Sisters and Brothers,
This will be my final weekly pastoral letter after some 16 months of sending these out. At the beginning of the pandemic with the first lockdown none of us could have foreseen how long this would take. We are all aware of the issues that have arisen both with physical health and mental health for so many people and so many families and those most affected in our hearts and in our prayers.
As we begin to move forward, we must all seek to do so with a degree of caution, with understanding and most of all with grace and love one for another. As we begin to gather again in our churches for worship, as we return to singing then we must understand that it will take some people a while to feel confident and comfortable to return and those who do return may still seek to exercise caution for their health and the health of others and this we support.
As I sit here writing this letter do you, I am aware of one thing at this present moment and that is the heat. I don’t tend to do this sort of heat very well; I wilt a bit at the edges one might say. Whilst I enjoy as much as anyone else the sunshine, the warmth and the vitamin D, the heat is something I must deal with. Going out with a hat and my factor 50 protects me against this harsher element.
We British however I known for our discussions of the weather. My friend Ken who lived in Melbourne said he understood it when he came from Australia to England. Where he lived the temperature and weather range at that time was not very great, yet when he came to the UK, he said he experienced at least three seasons a day most days winter spring summer or autumn and not necessarily in that order. I can remember my mom and my Gran complaining about the for summer we might be having when it was overcast but cool even raining and then after three days of unrelenting sunshine, they would say “Ooh! we could do with some rain”.
There are days when we may set out especially with our families when we suddenly decide we need a car with a bigger boot for all the changes of footwear and outer protective garments we might need. I suppose the best thing to say is that we are always prepared or at least should be. The saying is there’s no such thing as bad weather just bad attire.
So just as we are prepared for the vagaries of our climate in this country the sudden changes that be set us, so as we begin to see the opening up of this society around us, we must be that prepared. As we would seek to share our umbrella in a rainstorm with another and as we will and as we share our factor 50 if someone was caught short, then we must show the same care and attention attention not just now but into the near future.
As we go forward our church newsletters will continue to be a source of connexion between us, please continue to offer various contributions that we may share the things we find joy in and that we may learn of things we didn’t know about before.
Whilst I have enjoyed putting together these pastoral letters and the written services those things will cease as I’ve said because already the busyness of the business of church has begun to pick up. There is much that needs to be caught up with, there is much that needs to be planned and much in these be dealt with in the present.
So, we continue to move on together safe in the hands of the Lord our God and comforted in the love of God shown to us in Jesus Christ. May we rejoice in the blessings God sends upon us and may we offer ourselves as a blessing to those around us.
Whatever does lie before us we keep in our hearts those words of John Wesley
“The best of all God is with us.”
In God’s love,
Rev. Mark Barrett
Superintendent Presbyteral Minister of the North Wiltshire Methodist Circuit.
Presbyteral Minister for Bath Road, St. Andrew’s and Rodbourne Methodist churches.