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Pastoral Letter 26th November 2020 from Rev’d David Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends.

My first pastoral letter to you was written as we sat amid lent and had just been informed of the first national lockdown. Since then I have written a pastoral letter to you 37 times, which leads us to this weeks letter, my last message before we enter the season of advent. For many receiving this message you will not have entered a church building since that first pastoral letter, for some that will have been a huge burden and for others it might have been a slight relief! However, what must be recognised is that the church has not ceased to meetnor have we failed to continue to share and show the love of God within the communities we are called to live and serve within at this time.

Our journey within this difficult season started in the liturgical setting of those early disciples distraught at the loss of Jesus, uncertain as to the way ahead and lost within the new season they found themselves within, we reflected on the need to recognise that dark time as a chance for prayer in isolation, as we awaited Easter and the coming life and light of God. As we move into the time of Advent, we are once again encouraged to recognise several key elements, like the shepherds welcomed to such an amazing moment we are invited by God to consider his presence with us and the effect that has both on our lives and in our world.

Yet we meet in the midst of a tiered system of restriction a need to remember that this virus has little care for the date and further need to reflect, therefore, on how we share the change God brings into our world when we ourselves feel frustrated or simply fatigued by the lockdownismsof our current situation.

This year Christian Aid have written materials for Advent based upon the theme of waiting, that wilderness waiting of John the Baptist, that frustrated waiting of the prophets, that expectant waiting of Mary, the hopeful waiting of Anna and Simeone. In the materials produced there are a set of intercessions, with each of the concerns for our world reflected upon alongside the words love will find a way. As we journey this Advent, might we hold those words, love will find a way, in our hearts. Whether we meet for worship in our congregational spaces, whether we see friends or family for the first time in some time, whether Christmas feelslike we would expect, God, and Gods love, continue to find ways into our lives and into our world. So we rejoice this year, because God found a way, and He was born for each of us.

As always I am truly grateful for the way in which you continue to support and share the love of God with one another, for the messages you send and the fellowship that we continue even in this isolating time. Thank you for the phone calls, emails, letters and waves you continue to offer one another in this season, I look forward to a time when we can once again be with one another, yet until then, your supporting of one another continues that nature of fellowship we each need so very much.

With every blessing, David