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Dear all…

How are you doing?

Do you have what you need?

Are you well?

I wonder how you would answer these questions…? Perhaps you are (like many of us) a bit concerned about the virus that is making headlines around the world at the moment. Perhaps you have started methodically washing your hands every 30 minutes or an hour (as I have – do you have a song that you sing whilst doing so?). Perhaps you have sought out some of the dwindling stocks of face masks and/or hand sanitiser and gazed in wonder at the empty shelves in the supermarket where the toilet roll used to be!

Perhaps at this stage you can still feel light-hearted about the challenges and dangers posed by the epidemic, or perhaps you find that you are deeply worried for yourself or for vulnerable friends, family members and neighbours?

However you are feeling, I want to encourage you to not to fear! Fear is, obviously, natural at difficult times, but (also obviously) rather unproductive and unhelpful… It is often said that the bible contains the phrase ‘Do not be afraid’ (or similar) 366 times; one for every day of the year, including leap years.

One of my favourite of these verses is Isaiah 43.1:

‘Do not be afraid, I have called you by name, you are mine’.

Rather than letting ourselves become overwhelmed or frightened by events around us, I want to encourage us to do three things.

1. To make a conscious effort to not be afraid – but rather to pray and trust in God’s love and care.

2. During the spread of the new coronavirus, to follow the best hygiene practice in protecting ourselves and others from the spread of this disease.

3. To keep a look out for each other – and maybe to practice asking the three questions I started with above!

You see, if the worry and disruption caused by the Covid-19 Coronavirus shows us anything, it is that we are deeply connected to each other, and to the world – for better or for worse.

Our choice is not if we engage with each other and the wider world, but rather how we engage with each other and the wider world. During this time of concern, let us choose to engage kindly, responsibly and lovingly with those around us.

As Christians too, there is such a need for us to choose how we engage with the world… Do we engage lovingly, responsibly and kindly, or do we rather retreat behind walls of self-interest and self-protection?

As you will know, during the month of March we are considering Stewardship; that is, how as faithful disciples of Jesus we steward and share the resources, financial and otherwise, that are given to us (you should all get a letter from me and some detailed information soon!). As we consider our giving to the church then, perhaps it is good for us to all to recognise again that we are all connected to each other (for better or for worse) and that our God’s invitation for us to move from self-protection and fear into abundance and freedom is accepted through community and through generosity. It is accepted by asking each other how we are, and thence by opening ourselves to the needs of others, and sharing what we have.

So at this concerning time, let us choose to step out of fear, into generosity and love, and let us remember to ask each other and the world…

How are you?

Do you have what you need?

Are you well?

Every blessing to you all,


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