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St James' Church

    Lost and found…. reflections on a pandemic


At last, the branches of the large oak tree in the vicarage garden are

covering with leaves. They have been bare for so long it is a very

welcome sight. And with the successful rollout of the vaccine

programme there is a hopeful spirit in the air as restrictions are

slowly eased. I’m so looking forward to visiting family and friends at

home and sharing meals again together. But it will also feel very

strange as it’s been so long. As we begin to pick up the threads of

normal life again, I’ve been reflecting on the last year.


We’ve all experienced a great deal of loss; loss of control over our

lives, loss of freedom, loss of the everyday routines and activities we

were used to. We’ve missed family celebrations and holidays. Some

have lost jobs and there has been tragic loss of life. I’ve found it

heart-breaking to hear the experiences of the bereaved families, of

the funerals I’ve taken, some who weren’t able to see their loved

ones before they died. Our hearts go out to them. 


The pandemic has robbed us of so much and we lament and grieve

those losses. But there have been blessings and discoveries too.

I’d never heard of zoom before the pandemic and now I use it .

regularly. Technology has provided a virtual space to meet, an

we’ve had people join our online services from as far away as

Nigeria!  I have discovered the joy of playing cards with my children

and I hope that doesn’t get lost as the busyness of afterschool clubs

and swimming lessons begins again. 


But particularly wonderful has been the community spirit that has

built up and the generosity that has been shown. In the Southern

Evening Echo recently there was a lovely letter from a couple

thanking a young lad called Thom, who lives in West End, who

delivered a newspaper to them every day through the first

lockdown. An elderly gentleman in West End who is housebound

now has his dog walked every day by a neighbour. They live in the

same street but hadn’t met before the pandemic began. There are

many stories of kindness, generosity, and connection from this last

difficult year And of course, the NHS and key workers have been

amazing and worked so hard and sacrificially. 


We’ve lost so much but we’ve found things too and as we emerge

from this time; we have an opportunity to shape our lives

differently. We could slip back into old patterns or we might decide

to do things a bit differently. I hope we can build on the community

spirit that has flourished and I intend to treasure and appreciate

those seemingly small things in life I took for granted before. Inviting

family and friends into my home. Sharing a meal. A hug. 

These things are precious.


Rev’d Vicky Maunder