January Newsletter 2021

Welcome to our January Newsletter and to a New Year. 2021 follows a year of many challenging emotions for us all, a time for reflection also.

 We hope you were all able to link up with loved ones over the Christmas period.

 We should like to take this opportunity of thanking all of those who joined us for our virtual Carol Service in both France and the UK. A huge thank you to all our CWLs who made this possible.

We look forward to the New Year, a new dawn with Hope and continued thanks to everyone who has dedicated their lives to caring for others.

Thought for the month Provided by Jacqui Witing – Congregational Worship Leader

 Well – here we are entering the month of January and the start of a new year.  The month is named after the Roman god Janus. He was the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings – quite a portfolio. He is usually depicted as having two faces, since he looks to the future and to the past and at the New Year this is what we traditionally do.

But what a year it has been.  At the start, we thought that Brexit would dominate the headlines – how wrong we were. The coronavirus has affected so many aspects of our lives – education, work, social interaction and of course there has been the serious illness and tragic loss of loved ones. No need for me to repeat all the details.

It has not been all doom and gloom however. People have come up with innovative ways of keeping in touch both in social settings and in the workplace.  Individuals have raised millions and inspired and organised charitable giving.  Key workers have put their own lives at risk to help others.  A number of vaccines have been developed exceptionally quickly which we hope will check the spread of the virus.

But what of the future?  We can hope eventually for a gradual return to more normal life with the opportunity once more to visit family and friends; to travel; to go to the cinema or theatre; to attend sporting events. But, as I write these words, there is concern about the fast increase in the transmission of the virus in many areas so we are not out of the woods yet.

For many people, it is their faith which has kept them going, knowing that God is always with us and that he will give us the strength to cope with whatever life springs on us.  We have all heard the stories of people dying alone in hospital because family members were not allowed to visit – but God has been there every time so they were never truly alone.

We pray that we learn lessons from this terrible situation – there is the need for transparency and co-operation between nations; we must not forget that it is those in the least privileged sections of society who have been most affected by the pandemic and we need to share the world’s resources more equitably; and we all need to take responsibility for our actions.

Though we have been unable to meet in church, the virtual St Michael’s community has provided a regular contact and opportunity to worship together and we are grateful both for the technology behind this and for the individuals with the skills to harness this for our benefit.

We pray that 2021 will be a better year for you and your family.  May the Lord bless and preserve us and give us the inner strength and strong faith to face the challenges of 2021.