Rector's Blog

Autumn 2020

Inaugural message from The Rector, Rev. Andrea Jones

Inaugural message from The Rector, Rev’d. Andrea Jones


As the seasons of the Church’s year unfold they cover all aspects of our human experience.   We have times we celebrate with joy (Easter), times of saying sorry (Ash Wednesday), times of feasting like Christmas and times of abstinence like Lent.  The different services and traditions we hold and keep help us to feel closer to God.  On Ash Wednesday we mark our foreheads with ash, on Good Friday we kneel before a cross, at Christmas we sing traditional songs and welcome the new born Jesus in a service at Midnight and on Easter morning we gather at dawn in the cross in our churchyard to celebrate Jesus’ defeat of death.  These rituals are important to us. They are very important to me and have been all my life.

This year with the arrival of Covid-19 everything changed. During the holiest week of the Church’s year our church doors were locked. We could not celebrate together the Risen Christ at dawn. We could not light candles at All Souls to remember those who have died.  When our churches re-opened services we have not been able to sing and we have to follow new regulations to keep us safe.  I mourn a lot of what we cannot share at this time – not least the friendship and camaraderie of our social events and the fact we shared handshakes and hugs – touching is now denied us.

However, this stripping away of so much of what we are used to has made me realise afresh that God is with us, still with us, always with us whatever we are going through. Most of my life I have felt pretty much in control of things.  Now it can feel like things have spiralled out of control. We are anxious about the future, we face restrictions on our freedom, which even though necessary, are unprecedented in peace time.  Yet God is still with us. I once met with some Pakistani Christians who visited the Diocese of Manchester from the Diocese of Lahore. They faced terrible persecution in Pakistan as well as being at the “bottom of the heap” in the eyes of society. Yet their faith shone through and they never doubted that God was with them.  I feel I have much to learn from Christians who don’t have it as easy as I do.

And in the midst of the pandemic the Holy Spirit is at work! New creative things have happened in lockdown. Different ways of worshipping God and sharing our Good News have appeared.  Not everyone can meet on Zoom but it is a way of many of us being able to share in worship on those Sundays when churches are not allowed to open.   The clergy team who are a rather disparate lot geographically now meet not just twice a week but daily for Morning Prayer.  The Celtic Compline services which we post on Facebook are seen by many – we have even had feedback from Australia.  We’ve seen lots of new ideas about sharing and fundraising and being together.