Your Reflections: Sally Kerson

Sally Kerson is an LLM in the benefice of Ampworth, Chilworth and North Baddesley in the Diocese of Winchester, she sent her reflections on these uncertain times through our contact form- available on any page of the website.

The Prime Minister has set out his road map for ending the lockdown in the UK and people are looking forward to more restrictions being lifted as the weeks go by. The church also waits for the time when she can fling open her doors to everyone.

Meanwhile most of us have had to learn, very quickly, how to be a Christian presence on line.   Sunday mornings are now spent at home taking part in services or pre-recording sections, working together to keep everything interesting, informative and engaging to a congregation that we cannot see. 

In some ways it feels that the church is on its own journey with the scenery completely changed.  However, there are times when it is difficult reading the map in front of us and we wonder if we will ever reach our destination through a crisis that grips the world.    

One of the post resurrection readings was from Luke Chapter 24 v. 13-35  The Road to Emmaus is when two companions are walking together, and they are joined by Jesus, but they do not recognise him until they share a meal together.  Both these activities of walking and sharing meals with friends have been denied to us for over two months, so this truly is a story of deep meaning, reminding us in particular of the breaking of the bread and sharing together Holy Communion in our churches. 

The fact that these two companions on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Jesus only highlights the fact that we often do not recognise who is walking beside us on our journey of life.  But one of the most important parts of this story is the fact that Jesus listened to those on that road. There can often be the temptation when people are sad or low, to try and cheer them up without  giving them space or time to talk first. But Jesus listens, he values the experience of these two companions and he helps them to reflect on what they have experienced over the last few days in Jerusalem, his death and the women witnessing an empty tomb. 

During the time of lock down we have been called to listen to many people over the telephone and via the internet and in particular the bereaved.  Sadly we have been unable to meet with families in person before funerals have been conducted, but have listened to their stories and attempted to travel with them on the path of grief. 

The pandemic has certainly given the church and its people a great deal to think about over the months. It has challenged the way we see and everyone else sees the church.  We have had to discover through prayer and and reflection, different ways of hearing God’s voice. Hopefully as ministers we have become more outward looking in the way we have spread the word of God in our communities.  Now is the time to perhaps work out our own route map for the future of the church and all God’s people, without any restrictions. 

Sally Kerson 

St.John’s and All Saints, North Baddesley
St.Denys church, Chilworth
St. Marks, Ampfield

Submit your reflections via the ‘Contact Us’ form at the bottom of this page.

Your Reflections: Raylia Chadwick

Raylia Chadwick is the Reader Emeritus and Hon. Chaplain of Manchester Cathedral, she sent her reflections on these uncertain times through our contact form- available on any page of the website.

It is an idyllic spring day in the garden, my journal lying idly open before me – with closed eyes that feel the warmth of a noon day sun, and ears that take in the buzzing of the bumble bees and sweet singing of birds so tiny I could enclose one in the palm of my hand. As others have said before me nature is an open book, full of consciousness and knowledge, the Glorification of God for all to see.

Everything works by itself according to its Divine nature, moved by the Joy of the Spirit.

And what am I doing?

Absolutely nothing.

Not quite true. I pray for all affected by this terrible Covid Disease. The world is falling apart. And I ponder. It is the nature of a Reader to ponder.

Fragments of Gospel reflections flit in and out of mind …snatches of this and that never fully understood. Normally, on this day, I would be in the Cathedral chatting with visitors, delivery the Cathedral mid day prayers, facilitating a group, leading evening prayer…But to day is not a normal day. The Cathedral remains closed and silent, its clergy streaming daily prayers from their home setting on Facebook.

Yet what an opportunity this enforced isolation is! Oh the Joy of the Spirit unfettered by liturgy, truly accessible in the gentle stirring of a warm spring breeze – The Hebrew word for Spirit is ruach, the spirit of life itself, for the same word is used for breath, for wind. Surely the joy of the spirit – this ruach- moves in this garden; the Living Christ in whom you and I dwell and have our being. During Lent, just before ‘lock down’ in fact we had the Gospel account of the Samaritan woman at the well.

I am reminded of some of Jesus’ words to her…

‘Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…but the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth…’ (John 4:21-24)

The locked Cathedral, sadly isolated in the heart of the city, is deserted, telling its own 21st century story. Yet it looks like a relic from a bygone age. But Spirit and Truth will move where they will and somehow it is easier to ponder that, to experience its gentle movement, in a garden.

Ruach moves here, Divinely Ordained from the beginning of time, the phases of the seasons, Shakespeare’s ‘darling buds of May in next door’s garden, the gentle stirring of leaves, and the certainty of human goodness that the Neo Platonist Plotinus tells us is more beautiful than the morning and evening stars.

Are we on the verge of a new form of church where Spirit and Truth will shine in ever greater glory? A church for a different world? Where Resurrection will not seem a future Hope but a very Real Here and Now? What will Reader Ministry look like then, I ponder?

Of one thing I am certainly this warm and sunny day at this difficult time in all our lives – Let God prevail bringing us the Joy of the Spirit in Christ. There is no need to search for Him.

Raylia Chadwick
Reader Emeritus and Hon. Chaplain
Manchester Cathedral

Submit your reflections via the ‘Contact Us’ form at the bottom of this page.

Church of England Webinars

The Church of England have created a series of free webinars to offer practical ideas for Church leaders at a local level in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They hope the sessions will provide access to individuals, information and resources that will help to make a difference.

Webinars will take place on Zoom, lasting an hour. They will focus on a specific theme, featuring speakers from the National Evangelism & Discipleship team, and will include a Q&A.

Spaces are limited and registration is required in advance.

Full details, including sign-up links, are included below.

https://www.churchofengland.org/more/church-resources/evangelism-and-discipleship/webinars