Our Minister with Pastoral Care, Rev’d Pat Billsborrow, sends the following Message for the month of May 2020 ….
How strange it is to be sitting at my computer writing this letter when we have not been able to gather for worship in the physical sense for three weeks and have more separation time to follow. Those of us with the technology and the ability to use it have been able to join together from a distance and we can be grateful to Chris and the Circuit Team for their hard work in putting the services together, but we might ask the question where will we be at the end of it all. Will we all flock back to Church the Sunday after the Government say that we can, and be exactly the same as we were before, or will we have spent the sabbatical time reflecting on what our faith means to us and where it is taking us in the future. I had a telephone call a few days ago from a lady who got to know me through a pastoral matter a while ago, she was asking how I was coping and in conversation I asked after her father. Both of them father and daughter are practicing Roman Catholics, she said he was coping alright, she had taken some shopping and left it on the step, he was filling his time by reading the Bible, beginning at Genesis and moving on from there. I suspect he might get a bit confused as moves through the Old Testament but I found his decision to be a positive one, one which might give him much to talk to the priest about when this is all over. Many of us might well be doing something similar, taking a book of the shelf which has been there for many months and finding that it speaks to us in a particular way, or for those of us who are able to go out and exercise discovering what a wonderful world it is we live in when it is not filled with noise. I have noticed how much bird song there is around when it is not drowned out by the traffic, and seen nature blooming more and more each day as I have walked around the area with the dog. The creative world is not on lock down but is continuing apace as it always does and will continue to give us hope when so much of life seems hopeless to so many people.
So what of the future, I suspect that many of us will look forward to going back to a world as we knew it a few months ago, but in so many ways that will have changed and similarly within the church in some churches including Castle there will be spaces that were not there before, and we will be sad as well as the need to celebrate lives. But there will also be a challenge, if the church in general is to be a meaningful presence in the eighbourhood we need to be able to tell the story of Jesus in word and deed in a new and more vibrant way, it will perhaps feel strange opening our doors to those who have never before met him, but in the same way as we have many of us found new neighbours through this darkness helping us to see the light, so perhaps we need to look to our wider community with a new vigour to be evangelists as well as disciples.
My prayers are with you during this stressful time, and I look forward to the day when we can celebrate together and actually cry in the cry we were not able to make on Easter Day,
Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, Alleluia.