Rev Jo’s Letter – June 2021

Last month I wrote about change. This month it’s about celebration, something sadly lacking over the last year. 

As you will read elsewhere, we have (thanks to our wonderful fundraiser, Sandra) enough money to complete phase 1 of our planned restoration, as long as we can persuade RCC planners not to insist on our using lead, which is far more expensive and would probably be stolen. That’s one cause for celebration. 

We have four weddings in the benefice over the summer, another cause for cele-bration, and a sense of some normality is returning to church life. 

On July 11th we are holding a Thanksgiving service in Ryhall church with a Pentecost theme to give thanks for so many things—the relaxation of Covid rules, the fact that we have been kept safe throughout the pandemic, the community spirit which has done so much to keep spirits up, our return to worshipping in church, the transformation of our churchyard from a mass of brambles and ivy into a beautiful place for us to find peace and serenity, the generosity of donors to our fundraising, and so much more. The service will be informal, with activities of various types and a guest appearance by Ian and Paula’s puppets. You are all extremely welcome so come along and enjoy coffee and cake afterwards 

There is to be a village fete on Saturday July 17th in the grounds of Ryhall Hall, and we are most grateful to Nick, Janine and their team for organising this. Another cause for celebration as we return to the ‘old’ way of life. You will see a poster for this on page 5. If you are able to help or to donate items we should be delighted. 

Back in my teaching days I had a male colleague who frequently bemoaned the existence of ‘compulsory fun’ (another colleague was forever organising events we had no wish to attend, saying brightly ‘It will be such fun; you will love it.’) As an introvert I have always shared his view, but recently I came across the words of an Indian mystic When you cry and weep, when you are miserable, you are alone. When you celebrate, the whole existence participates with you. Only in celebration do we meet the ultimate, the eternal. Only in celebration do we go beyond the circle of birth and death. Wise words even if you share my ‘compulsory fun’ aversion. 

We are now almost back to the ‘old’ pattern of services in church. Full details are, as always, on page 16. A few ‘regulars’ have not so far returned to church and I do hope they will shortly, though I must admit that during lockdown just one Sunday service Zoomed from the warmth of my kitchen had a lot to recommend it as a regular Sunday event in comparison with two or three services in chilly and uncomfortable mediaeval churches… 

The one thing we have all missed is singing. As I write this in early May, I have no idea when the ban will be lifted. Bishop Donald thinks it could be Christmas before congregations can sing. Who knows – but I shall be very glad when we are finally allowed to do so. I think a Songs of Praise with the well-known hymns we all love will be called for. What will you vote for? Jeru-salem? All things bright and beautiful? O Lord my God? Love divine? Or perhaps something less tradi-tional—the choice will be yours.