Church of England Diocese of Winchester South Wonston

Easter is the Church's great festival of change...

2 Apr 2021, 3 p.m.

The Revd Writes…

Easter is the Church’s great festival of change. As the natural cycle shifts firmly into the warmer weather of spring and the abundance of new life that is now so evident all around us, so the Christian year celebrates the resurrection of Jesus – from death to life. In the words of the great Easter hymn by John Crum (1872-1958) “Love lives again, that with the dead has been: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.” New life always stimulates hope. The turning from fallow to fertile and the possibility of engaging with a new energy drives the capacity for transformation. Time for a change and perhaps the willingness to do things a little bit differently. Redecorate, restore, rethink, resurrection.

Re-emerging from Lockdown will inevitably take some time to readjust to a life that we all want to return to ‘normal’. For more than a few the scars of enforced confinement will take time to heal and the need to rebuild confidence. The latter perhaps best done slowly and carefully. The world has changed, and the effects of those changes may well take some time to assimilate and to understand. Religious faith undergirds a wisdom that acknowledges the need for patience in rebuilding. The quest then will be to reorientate ourselves in a post-pandemic world that continues to be dangerous, constantly under the threat of a virus that can change and adapt too.

The economic costs of this past year have impacted several large institutions which we may initially have thought to be impregnable but are now needing to restructure and reorganise to be able to continue in our newly changed world. One such is the Church of England, which along with many other charitable bodies has sharply felt the loss of income not least because of the inability of local churches to fundraise on the ground. Within the Diocese of Winchester, a programme of rationalising resources means that several posts are being reconsidered and some are needing to be axed altogether. Part of this new pattern means that the Lower Dever Benefice (South Wonston, Barton Stacey & Bullington) will be dissolved and in consequence means that I, as Rector, will be leaving in the not-too-distant future to take up a post elsewhere. I want to take this opportunity to reassure everyone that though there will be less clergy resource available this will not mean the closure of any of our churches. St Margaret’s, South Wonston, All Saints, Barton Stacey and St Michael’s, Bullington will continue to function as normal for now and in whatever new pattern of working emerges, even if Services are led less frequently by priests in the future.

Change often arrives in unpredictable and unexpected ways and is sometimes unwelcome. Yet the coronavirus crisis has shown how human beings are flexible and pragmatic, hardworking, with a God-given instinct to survive that engenders a resilience to flourish even in the toughest of times. Such Easter life is always worth celebrating.

“Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been: Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.”

God Bless. Mark