Rector’s Letter – from April 2020 Magazine

Dear friends,

I’m sure that none of us would have imagined as we read last month’s magazine that a few weeks later all our services would be cancelled, our church doors would be shut and almost every aspect of our present and future lives disrupted. This is a very confusing and draining time for us all. We feel that our whole world has changed. Although we know this is temporary, it doesn’t feel that way. We view the future differently now. Our general sense of safety feels threatened. Many of us are disoriented and are feeling bewilderment, anxiety, loss and many different kinds of grief. Our grief is individual and collective and we are reacting to it in different ways, ranging through a host of different emotions and ways of thinking.

How are we to manage all this grief as individuals and as a community? There is no easy answer, but according to David Kessler who has written extensively in this field, understanding the stages of grief is a start. He emphasises in an article I read recently, that this is not a map but it provides some scaffolding for this unknown world. There was denial early on: This virus won’t affect us. There’s anger: You’re making me stay home and taking away my activities. There’s bargaining: Ok, if I social distance for two weeks everything will be better, won’t it? There’s sadness: I don’t know when this will end. And finally there’s acceptance: This is happening; I have to work out how to proceed.

It is important to name these feelings to ourselves and others in order to let go of them. Holy Week will give us an opportunity to do that as we accompany Jesus and his disciples on that final journey to Jerusalem. My aim, with the support of Peter and Jeanette, is to provide materials which may help us all to acknowledge our sadness, fear and anger in the presence of our loving God and come to a place of acceptance.

In a book published last year, David Kessler has added a sixth stage to grief – Meaning. Even now we are finding the light of meaning in the midst of this crisis. There are many small resurrection moments. We are appreciating the simpler things of life. We are seeing the importance of our friends and family. We are learning that loving kindness is what counts. And we are finding that we can do church in a completely different way, that we can stay connected and grow in faith. We will not celebrate Easter in the usual way this year but I hope that each one of us, in the midst of our grief, will feel the joy of the Resurrection and continue to walk in the light of Christ.

With love to you all,