St Michael’s Vicarage, Alnwick
April 2021

Dear People of Alnwick,

As I write this we are preparing, as a church, to take part in the National Day of Reflection marking a full year since our country first went into lockdown in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

What a year it has been. We have, of necessity, learned a new way to be and to do. Our lives have been restricted in ways that, even for those who can recall wartime, we could never have imagined. We have been separated from family and friends; we have been unable to mark occasions of celebration and sadness as we would have wanted; travel has been more of less impossible and, in the media in the last few days, we have heard that many people are declaring that they fear they have lost the art of socialising.

Our ‘normal’ church life has been completely disrupted but, at the same time, we have learned new ways to worship and to show Christian friendship and love in this place. Thanks to the technical skills of a very few talented people we have managed to stream worship into your homes, to hold regular ‘Zoom’ coffee times and enjoy a fascinating Lent course almost as if we were in the same room.

In addition I have been greatly heartened at the way in which people have cared for each other through regular telephone contact or socially distanced visits.

And in our town generally I have felt an air of caring and recognition in the way people have watched out for one another.

Perhaps most of all we should be thankful for the way in which the vaccine process has been rolled out. Many of us are now receiving their second dose and the courtesy and efficiency with which this has been carried out is a cause for much gratitude.

So, as we follow the roadmap to recovery with important landmark dates in place between now and June we give thanks and pray that mutual respect and common sense will continue to prevail as we are give a fresh chance to consider a way forward in a changed world.

Easter, of course, gives us a roadmap to recovery too. Recovery from the darkness of Good Friday to the glory and celebration of Easter Day and Jesus risen from the dead.

In the sadness and the rejoicing of those three days (and all that it means for our future) we see love. We see God’s love demonstrated to us to in the way we have seen people cope with the difficult circumstances of the last year – not least in the way in which we have helped one another simply get through the difficult days.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s famous song from ‘Aspects of Love’ springs to mind: ‘Love, love changes everything.’ Indeed it does!

In a new publication from the Iona Community are the following words:

Everything dies.
Life dies.
Death dies.
Everything is done.

Except love.

Only love is not done.
Only love will not die.
Everything is finished except love.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

At some point everything will be done.
Except love.
Love is never done.

With every blessing for Easter and as you journey on.


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