A year has now passed since the country first went into lockdown and on the 23rd March 2021 we acknowledged Covid Memorial Day remembering all those affected by the virus and particularly those 126,000 who lost their life. Over the past few weeks things have started to look brighter with over 25 million people receiving their first jab. Easement of lockdown restrictions a real possibility and the first step, children and young people returning to school and college, well underway. It's very tempting to fool ourselves into thinking this pandemic is in retreat.
The opposite is the case across Europe, rising infections in France and Germany and a third spike in Italy all remind us that this virus is far from beaten. If we look further afield into Asia, Africa and South America the situation is even worse with low vaccine roll out and reduced medial provisions for the population. Do make room in your prayer time for our neighbours around the world who are hurting very much more than we are at this time. We need to remember that this is a global pandemic and things which happen in other places can come here in time. So let's continue to be vigilant and maintain social distancing for a little longer.
Our Easter celebrations will again be disrupted by not being able to meet in person and celebrate the Lord's resurrection and for many of us that will be a great disappointment. However, if you like walking or cycling why not join our Socially Distance Walk of Witness around all the churches of Stamford. It starts at Great Casterton and continues to the Congregational Hall in Broad street (4 miles away). En route there will be fifteen stations of the cross to stop at, take breath and reflect on the passion of Christ as you travel.
At the moment it is not possible to advise when our church buildings will be open again for worship. Hopefully just a few more weeks to endure lockdown. Many, I know, find this a strain but, as I have said on a few previous occasions, our grandparents had it worse and we have a lot to be thankful for. That, of course, does not neutralise the hurt which many are experiencing in cancelled operations, increasing mental health issues and severe restrictions in celebrating the lives of those who have died.
We will have a lot of catching up to do in all aspects of collective thanksgiving, celebration and remembering when the current concerns of infection reduce, and our NHS is safeguarded from being swamped.
Many of our medical and scientific experts repeatedly tell us that this virus is not going away anywhere fast. It's just another disease we will just have to live with. You should be in no doubt that we, the church, are not going away either. If anything, our faith has become stronger our church services more diverse and the expectations are that some of the lessons learned during lockdown will carry forward into future activities.
Last month I alluded to an increased care for creation which has come about as a result of our five week Lenten course. Work has already started with an enthusiastic group of church members looking at the biodiversity in church land and buildings in Great Casterton. Hopefully it can expand into other areas of village life. Keep an eye out in this newsletter for monthly progress reports on what's happening. We may need your help in achieving some of our goals.
Together we can make things better in our community because being a good steward of God creation is a biblical principle in which we are all collectively commissioned to participate.