Dear Friends, Yes, We're off again into another new and uncertain year. Hello 2021. As I write COVID infection rates are still rising, Hospitals are full to overflowing, the promised vaccine seems to be taking longer than expected to be rolled out; we've bailed out of Europe and who knows what our government is up to.
On the plus side we've adapted to social distancing, hand washing, home learning, staggered starts, bubbles, risk assessments and self-isolating? We have been faced with the need to adapt, be ready to change practices, adjust timetables, readjust expectations and keep doing our best for everyone But adapting takes energy, cooperation, creativity and commitment. It draws on our deepest motivations and our personal spirituality at the start of this year.
In all this confusion and chaos I have enjoyed drawing inspiration from the wisdom of St Francis de Sales. Francis was a heart centred humanist Christian from around 1600 and a mystic, he is known for his spirit of optimism, hope, freedom and confidence in God's love Francis writes: When you encounter difficulties and contradictions, do not try to break them, but bend them with gentleness and time
He speaks about the trees that survive the storm as the ones that can adapt by bending rather than breaking with the pressure of the storm. Francis advice: Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.
It is within that inner spiritual calm that curiosity and creativity emerge to help us adapt to new situations. Panic and discouragement switch off our ability to bend and adapt to new situations.
All this is based on a deep conviction that we are loved as individuals. It is that sense of being loved that gives us all resilience through change. St Francis reminds us that: "The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will care for you tomorrow and every day. Either he will shield you from suffering or give you unfailing strength to bear it. Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings."
So as we begin this New Year perhaps we should heed Francis's final advice: "Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself...do not be disheartened by your struggles, but always rise up again and again with fresh courage. We shall steer safely through every storm, so long as our heart is right, our intention generous, our courage steadfast, and our trust fixed on the mystery of a loving God."
Help please! Another request for financial help, please. I’m reluctant to ask given the generosity that has already been displayed, but as you know our usual expenses continue during this lockdown with the only income coming from your good selves. If you are able to help, donations can be made online at our ‘give a little’ donation site. If you have online banking you can transfer money via the Church bank account, the details of our bank account are NatWest plc., Baker Street Branch. Sort Code: 56-00-14. Account: St Cyprian’s Parochial Council. Account Number: 12138126.
Parochial Church Council (PCC). The PCC will meet on the 21 January on Zoom at 7pm. THe PCC consists of our 2 Wardens, William Nye and newly elected Sarah Daniels, who replaces John Blackburne. Kyle Sawhney replaces Will Parry as our Treasurer, who thankfully remains as a member of the PCC. Sarah Johnson takes on the role of Hon Sec and we welcome her to the PCC. Chan Mayor continues as our Electoral Roll Officer; also as member of the committee are Mary Ashwin and Robert Gwynne. Myself and Fr Simon are ex-officio members. If you wish anything to be discussed or you have suggestions, please contact a committee member and ask them to bring the matter to the attention of the PCC.
With best wishes and prayers for the New Year & Epiphany celebrate on January 3.. Your Priest & friend
Some words of Saint Mother Teresa: ‘When you look at a crucifix you understand how much Jesus loved you then. When you look at the Eucharist you understand how much Jesus loves you now!’