Revd Noreen Russell writes this week on the importance of names in ancient Israel and reflects on the words of a comforting hymn, where God calls each of us by our name and redeems us from our wrongdoings. Names remain important to us, as Dale Carnegie reminded his readers in his famous book 'How to win friends and influence people': 'There is no sound sweeter to a man than the sound of his own name.'
At St Luke's, which is part of the Church of England, names are still important. Just inside the entrance to St Luke's stands the enormous font, at which many have been baptised, or christened, with their names given them formally at that time. All around the church stand memorials carrying the names of people who have had their earthly remains buried there. On one grave, there is the name of a long-lost son, killed in Turkey in the First World War, whose body is in a Commonwealth War Grave near where he fell but whose family wished to record his name alongside theirs. Back inside the church, the beautiful stained glass on the East Window carries a memorial to another person; take a look when you are next in there.
Writing of being back in St Luke's, the Newsletter carries news of a planned reopening in mid-April. The Parochial Church Council met via Zoom on 10th March and discussed the issue well into the night. The government's roadmap and evidence, a 60+ page document, had been studied and it was noted that evidence in mid-December 2020 and early January 2021 had led SAGE to conclude that places such as St Luke's could easily have 'superspreader events'. This was a change from the previous advice. The PCC decided that it would be safer for everyone if the reopening were to be delayed until at least after the next major stage of the end of lockdown on 12th April, if the government tells us that stage will occur then.
Of course that was a huge blow since that means that we cannot celebrate Easter Sunday in St Luke's this year. The PCC takes the view that the two major commandments from Jesus, 'Love the Lord, your God, with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbour as yourself' mean that we must act to protect one another as part of our duty to Christ.
That is not to say that Holy Week, the approach to Easter, will be ignored. We shall do our best to see that it is marked and honoured, in a legal way, so please keep an eye on the Newsletter, Facebook and this website as we approach that time.
We shall reopen with a service of Holy Communion, which will be carried out as before under strict covid conditions, with only the bread being distributed. After that, you can assume that there will be regular Sunday services at 1000 a.m. once again.
As the lockdown continues to be lifted and we are cleared for more actions together, you can expect a busy year ahead. The St Luke's team has been working on restarting and revitalising church activities and is building a programme of new ones. We hope that these will be welcomed as offering more opportunities for the Tittensor village community to come together.
Finally, this week, we mark the passing of Barbara Fieldhouse, a friend to many, very well-known in the community and a servant of the Lord throughout her life. She had been living in a nursing home for over a year as infirmity gradually took hold of this wonderfully resilient woman. We plan to mark Barbara's life at a memorial service later this year, since funeral services remain sadly restricted at this time. Anyone who knew Barbara would say that she was a faithful person whom the Lord would welcome into his arms. May she be at peace with the Lord. Amen.