Good morning everyone
Today, 21 March, marks exactly a year since we went into that first lockdown. A lot has happened in that time. I feel I have learnt a lot about myself, I feel I have drawn closer to the people I care about, and closer to God. I feel like I have been able to sift out what is important to me and to cherish it. I trust that we will be able to build on all that we have learnt this year.

We have some good news to share this week: it’s official, we are “re-opening” the Church, and hope to start back in the Church building for worship at 9.30am on Easter Sunday. We will also keep going with the virtual services for the time being.

In line with a phased return, our live worship will be a “Service of the Word” to start with, sadly not a communion service just yet. As in previous lockdowns we continue the practice of no congregational singing, wearing face masks inside the building and observing physical distancing as before. I really look forward to a time when I will no longer have to phrase things in terms of prohibitions… We trust that this time this is really it: now that the Church is open we will stay open. I am really looking forward to seeing you all again.

It is officially spring this week: having more than 12 hours of daylight each day certainly helps. My blessing for this week is in the form of a poem that both celebrates spring and anticipates the end of lockdown. 

“Unlocked” by Hannah Stone:

I am unlocked when frogspawn bubbles in puddles and ponds,
I am unlocked when the first daffodil                                                                
    blows its trumpet from a muddy pit,
I am unlocked when catkins confer unearned epaulettes
   of golden dust on passing shoulders,
I am unlocked when song-birds pierce the dawning day
   with messages about nests,
I am unlocked when I observe new ivy tendrils
   strengthen their hold on falling trees,
I am unlocked when I no longer count the minutes spent outside,
I am unlocked when I no longer flinch 
    at two-tone sirens passing in the street,
I am unlocked when sketchy plans begin to colour themselves in,
I am unlocked when a hand extended is grasped and clasped,
I am unlocked when my hands are no longer empty.

Virtual Service 21 March