As we travel ever further into 2021, it strikes me that now is a good time to pause and reflect and look forward. When the pandemic began back in early 2020, few if any of us could have imagined how it would have unfolded. I think its implications, including over 100,000 deaths in the UK, were just too much for us. At the local level, I certainly could not appreciate the impact the pandemic would have on life at St Nick’s and its environs. Yes, it has been challenging, but I have also been stunned by the fleet-footedness and aplomb with which the team at this church have adapted to lockdowns, restrictions and the financial challenges.
At this point, it is not unreasonable to ask, ‘Where do we go from here?’ Well, it is tempting to make easy and ready predictions. I hope the experiences of the past year mean that we are inclined to be cautious about such prognostications. Nonetheless, there are signs of promise for 2021. The vaccine roll-out by the NHS in the UK is truly impressive. Millions have been vaccinated, with millions more to come. Equally, provided that we stick to the best health and social protocols there is real hope that we won’t have to go back into a full lockdown again.
At St Nick’s we recognise that we face significant challenges in 2021, but we address those challenges with hope and trust. We are blessed at St Nick’s with people who are unafraid to balance innovative ways to worship with our love of being together in traditional ways in our building. Whatever is thrown at us we shall face with determination. We do this because we are St Nick’s and our life together is grounded in the love of Jesus Christ. Equally, we know that this is going to be a tough financial year for everyone. Like so many parish churches our resources are more limited than many might presume. We are committed to using them to serve the local community, to build on the mission of God, and to ensure that we are here for service in years to come. We are not afraid of the challenge (though of course we’d welcome your help and support to see us through!).
We’re not afraid because our trust is ultimately in God. This is the God of community, life and love. This love is reflected in our bonds with each other. It has been such a tough year for so many of us. Covid has taken so many lives and cast a pall over so much hope. But still we are here. Still we hope. Still we love and we shall go on loving.
01 February 2021