Pastoral Letter - w/e 7th November 2020

Dear Friend from Bridport United, Uploders Methodist or Hope and Radipole United Reformed Churches,

As announcements of a renewed level of lockdown started out on Saturday last, I was mindful of that old expression about taking two steps forwards and one step back.  Although, in truth, it felt like quite a few steps backwards and I couldn’t hep but think ruefully instead of the Spike Milligan song, “I’m walking backwards for Christmas!”

Ah well I suppose we are still some steps further up the hill than we were back in March.  We’ve got experience of  dealing with the challenges, the shortages, the aloneness, the masks (and steamy glasses!), the sanitiser (and dry skinned hands!) and all that that?  We don't like them but we now know how to deal with them with good old British ‘stiff upper lip’ / ‘Keep calm and carry on’ mentality?

We also have an idea of how to offer ways of engaging with God even in the midst of a pandemic.  Sufficient of us have developed the skills in Zoom, video services and even photocopiers, not to mention penning weekly to fortnightly communications and ensuring you have some contact from the church as well as service resources and opportunities?

I confess despite all my brave words that my heart dropped on Saturday and it has taken until now that I write this (on Tuesday) for me even to try to think positively and try see light at the end of the tunnel!  So if you’re feeling a bit low and thinking ‘It’s ok for him …” then I do know what you mean.  Honestly! 

My mind though strangely went to Acts 7 when, after some months of the early Christian community growing and doing well, they encountered their first taste of persecution, and, with Stephen’s death, the first ever Christian martyrdom.  I bet that felt far more than two steps backwards too!  But if you get a chance to read his testimony and his explanation of the faith and the good news that we all associate with us (and of course believe), I do think it might, just might, remind us why we are a part of this church in the first place and, what is more, hopefully encourage us to get up, wipe ourselves off and get on with it? 

They did and countless generations since have done so is we can too!

Among those generations have been countless numbers of folk who have shared the Good News in various ways and I had the delight this week, while hand-delivering the Written Service to various Bridport members of dropping in to visit Peter & Sheila Benwell.  I had a particular reason, which was to formally hand Peter a special certificate, marking 50 years of faithful sharing of that Good News in his role as a Local Preacher, one he has fulfilled since 1970!  It’s a shame that I didn't aim my camera rather better as I video the presentation ready to be shown during the Zoom service this week and apologise I didn't capture the event quite as professionally as I would have wished   Nevertheless, it was a high point in a difficult week that made us all smile and laugh!

With love and prayers for you,

Your Minister,

Peter