Pastoral Letter: w/e 14 November 2020

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

Well I don't know how it’s been for you but it’s been a better week for me?  I suppose after the disappointment of a second lockdown, there is the realisation that, firstly, it not as strict as the earlier one and secondly it both shops and us are better set up for it.  Thus, strange and abnormal as it is, it is still somehow familiar and sealable with?  Well that’s how I’ve felt anyway.  

It has been a pretty full-on week even without a live service to prepare for and of course included Remembrance Day in the middle of it.  Originally I had been booked to lead the Market Day Service at United Church Dorchester (UCD).  Normally it is a 15-20 minute service starting at 10:30 but for the 11th of the 11th it was moved to 10:45 to incorporate the Act of Remembrance.  Lockdown of course put a stop to that, but since UCD have reopened for Private Prayer I turned up and joined in with the dozen or so folks sitting and praying in silence.

At two minutes to 11, a recording of the Last Post was played, followed by those familiar, yet still precious words “We shall grow not old…” and invited folks to stand in silence.  After that the Reveille and finally the Kohima Epitaph and that was that.

Except it wasn’t, because I realised how, despite its simplicity (or maybe because of it) the act of remembering together was as powerful as ever, if not more so?  I remember as a young teenage believing that such acts would wither on the vine and become irrelevant over my lifetime.  

I realised though, in my later years that it wasn’t an act of glorying in victory as I had mistakenly thought, but rather, as well as honouring those who lost their lives and expressing gratitude for those who fought and survived, it is also an opportunity to consider the horror, waste and loss that war engenders, in the hope that it will teach us better ways of dealing with disagreement in the future?

Talking of the future, don't forget that Bridport United Church would still like to collect new and nearly new toys for families whose children may not get much of a Christmas this year, to be distributed with the hampers collected by our friends at St. Mary’s.  If you were considering donating, please contact Sue Herman to arrange dropping off the toys?  We hope to have a blessing of the toys on 6th December if the lockdown has eased as is currently planned?

 

With love and prayers for you,

Your Minister,

Peter