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Great Casterton Parish Council

Serving the people of Great Casterton

Clerk: Derek Patience
29 Priory Gardens, Stamford

Tel: 01780 753066

Revd Bob's March Newsletter

We've had some beautiful winter days just recently when the rain has kept off and the sun has shone through. Dog walking along the river at Tallington on such days in the clear, crisp air is a real delight and we have noticed that the birds are becoming more vigorous in their song as if to herald the hope of spring. There's still some way to go but as the evenings begin to draw out the longer days and milder weather are encouraging. And now that Lent is here we are on the journey to Easter Day which falls rather earlier this year on 1st April.

Until then we will be doing our best to keep our Lenten discipline as a means of reminding ourselves that this is a season of reflection, a time to consider the things that really matter in our lives. The discipline is intended to help us by stripping away some of the many distractions that bombard us from all directions. It seems that the world we live in is only too keen to distract us, to entice us to look further at this or that.

Although I have never been on Facebook, I have a Twitter account. I find that social media can be one of the most distracting things. Recent disclosures that it is addictive and designed that way has come as no surprise. Any spare moment, almost anywhere can be used to catch up and scroll through the latest postings. Depending on whom you have chosen to follow many can be very interesting and point you further towards interesting articles or breaking news; some is just plain enjoyable and fun but it is a distraction which can draw us away from where we are and rob those moments of casual reflection and thinking. For this reason, at least in Lent, I've decided to delete my twitter app from my phone and after a bit of withdrawal in going 'cold turkey' in this way I am not missing it. In fact it's quite a relief in a strange way; I do find constant news updates and the latest revelation of this or that to be rather depressing; catching up with such things just once a day is quite enough.

The best form of communication I find to be direct interaction and conversation with others. Conversations that I've had within the past couple of weeks have proved to be a real help in my Lenten journey. For this reason I think one of the best changes in our culture in recent times has been the increase in Café culture. It's always a great pleasure to go for a coffee with a friend and I count myself fortunate to have such friends and to be mobile to enjoy such times.

It has caused me to reflect on the number of people in our community of all ages who are lonely and the gloom of winter can be particularly hard for those who find themselves in this situation or are housebound. However good our media and social media there is no substitute for human contact and I am particularly pleased that the initiative to start a 'Good Neighbour Scheme' in Great Casterton seems to be getting off the ground after the first open meeting held by the Rural Communities Council in the church hall in February. In many respects a good neighbour scheme does nothing more than good neighbours already do but by setting this up there is the opportunity for those who feel isolated to have a point of reference to call on others to help out with a visit, a hand with the shopping, or a lift. I hope that those of you with the time to help and those who could do with a hand will respond to this new initiative. More details will be posted as this develops to the next stage.

Community is central to the Christian message and not just the church community. We are each called by Jesus to 'love our neighbour as ourselves' and at a time when so many seem to want to fragment and divide our communities by dogma and prejudice this is a value and message that needs to be worked at. The Good Neighbour Scheme gives us all an opportunity to draw closer together as a community and to bring a sense of belonging to those who are feeling marginalised.

With every blessing,

Rev Bob