Dear friends at Holy Trinity,
As you will see in the attached pictures, all is well and everyone is smiling here although the lovely sunshine we had is almost forgotten now after a couple of weeks of full on rain.
COVID numbers are not too alarming in Chelmsford at the moment but they are rising in South Essex, so we are buckling up for the next rocky ride, while trying to think creatively of what we might do at Christmas.I would be interested in your thoughts on that. What is happening to the Cathedral Carol Service? Here, I have heard of “stations of the crib”, of a Christmas walk around the church yard with “hang a prayer on the Christmas tree” and “put a present at the foot of the crib”, and also of a “living posada” project where the local clergy (all men!) dress up as Joseph, Mary and Jesus and visit their congregation members and bring them a small gift.
At Ascension with All Saints we are looking at possibly flying a drone over the parish bounds and putting candles/boards/other up at strategic places to make all people aware of our presence here among them, plus, we are going to put messages on lampposts inviting people to take part in a Christmas tree challenge by sending in photos of their Christmas tree which will then be acknowledged on the church website etc – and there will be a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols with pre-recorded music by the choir, and possibly a small music group (which might include a Viola da Gamba….).
In any case, despite all negative reporting: the main message is: “Christmas is definitely NOT cancelled”.
There is, of course, much uncertainty over jobs in the community, and also grief and a sense of loss of community. Some have lost loved ones recently and that is particularly hard now, of course. I was really sad to hear that Lindy died so suddenly! But I also hear that she had a very good send-off and the messages on facebook and website have been ever so lovely to read. Please know that we remembered Lindy in our prayers here as well.
In other news, I have been asked to be part of a Diocesan Environment group. We will have our first meeting tonight (on Zoom) and I am looking forward to seeing what they have been working on – apparently there is an ambitious project of getting Chelmsford Diocese carbon-neutral by 2030!I also had a great meeting with Armel, Sarah French and the Abbot of Keur Moussa Abbey in Senegal and a project manager called Gustave: we were thinking about how links between Holy Trinity, Ascension with All Saints, A Rocha and Keur Moussa could help us all to think outside our own boxes and be inspired to work together for the care of creation. Watch this space! :o)
I am looking forward to having a bit of time off between 21 and 31 October (save a couple of funerals). We are planning on exploring the local area a bit more, going “down” to London and “up” to Cambridge on a couple of days. I will send some pictures.
I am always happy to hear from you as you are very much in my heart and on my mind! Please note my new phone numbers below.
With much love also from Colin and Sally,