As another week draws to close, it feels strange that we are about to enter August. I know I've said this before, time does seem to have a puzzling dimension at present!
I continue to pray for you, and hold you in my heart, as we try to discern together how we might emerge from this season as a gathered community. I'm not sure if the image of coming out of the wilderness helps you - I'm reminded that there was much confusion, uncertainty, fear and separation for the Israelites as they came through exile, that John the Baptist emerged as something of a wild man as he emerged (maybe that resonates with those who have had the much needed first haircut!), that Jesus was led to a time of testing after his wilderness experience.
The vast array of emotions that you are sharing with me in conversations and emails suggests that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to feel. We will need to be able to share our stories, to be able to listen well to each other, to accept that how we feel will not always be how others feel, and so ongoing gentleness and compassion is vital. As we begin to gather in worship - outside this Sunday, weather permitting, I know that for some it's taking too long to re-gather, for others it's too soon. Each of us must make our own decision when we feel ready. We will continue to stream the services on Facebook and Youtube, and I thank you for your ongoing grace as we continue to do the best we can.
We are, of course, more than people who share a Sunday experience, and the Foodbank project is a wonderful opportunity to put our faith, our commitment, our belief, into action. Do please take note of the ways you can donate, and the items that are particularly needed. I want to reiterate the thanks from all involved for the number of volunteers who have come forward to support this project.
We are also people who pray - as the Epistle this week says "we don't always know how to pray as we ought but the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words", such an incredible message. We have been providing space for an hour of individual private prayer on Sunday afternoons, and this week will be changing this slightly in that the first half an hour will be an opportunity to be led in prayer, with the second half an hour space for your own prayers. All are welcome, for all or part of the hour. The new regulations mean that you will need to wear a face covering when you come into the church building.
So as people who worship, who serve and who pray, I want to continue to encourage you as you navigate your own path out of lockdown. I want to reinforce again that we need not be afraid, again as St Paul says in our Epistle this week, nothing, no height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate us from God's love.
It is in that love that I send my greetings to you all.
With every blessing
Rev Becky Waring
Vicar St Martins Knowle
Area Dean Bristol South