Latest Vicar's Letter

Much as we’d like to, we can’t pretend that 2020 never happened. It was a tough year for so many people in so many ways and not one that we will forget. However, 2021 is here, the hope that vaccines will make a big difference is a growing reality and we can look forward with fresh hope.

But even with this fresh hope, not everyone will be reacting the same way. This past year has had a profound effect. Just after I left University, I did a gap year in Uganda with the Church Mission Society. Part of the training looked at culture shock – the impact that arriving in a very different place can have on you. But we were also taught about reverse culture shock – the impact of returning to your normal place after being immersed in another culture.

Consider your food shopping experience. We are used to supermarkets but East Africa has market stalls all selling the same limited number of vegetables.  It was a shock arriving in Uganda and seeing the food poverty but there was also the shock of returning to England and seeing the wasteful abundance. Different people react differently to the same experience.

I’m excited for what 2021 may bring and I know the same will be true for many of you. We have all missed so many things – family, friends, church, singing to name but some – and we can’t wait to see people and do things that we haven’t been able to do for a long time. But I’m also anxious. It’s not a feeling I fully understand or know why I feel anxious, I just do. It feels the same as the reverse culture shock when I returned from Uganda. As the enter this new year, be aware of how different people are experiencing different feelings. Are you excited and can’t wait to socialise? That’s great but be gentle with those who don’t feel the same. Are you nervous and just want to hide under a blanket? That’s fine, go easy on yourself.

Psalm 40:1-3 says

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire

he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”

 

The reminder of this Psalm is that God is with us, he is the one that gives us fresh hope and he is the one who will “put a new song” in our mouths. We can put our excitement and anxiety before God and know that he cares. What happens next will be different from what has been but the same God is there who still cares. He is still our source of joy and comfort and he is the one whom we can trust anew in this new year.

Blessings

andy