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A Message from Fr Paul Seaman

Dear Friends,
I write on the day after the announcement by the Prime Minister of more wide-ranging restrictions of the current lockdown being lifted early this month. This includes allowing churches to once again hold public services, albeit without any singing! This is of course good news and many are welcoming these changes.                                                                      
However, there are others who are genuinely concerned that these developments are premature amidst the fear of a second wave of the virus. There is clearly no risk-free option and getting the right balance between concerns relating to public health and the need to restart the economy is a very fine one. Once again we are all called to be patient with one another, as we all share our different opinions about what we believe the right way forward should be. Some people are still very fearful about mixing with others, while others can't wait to get back to socialising, even in a distanced way. Everyone's fears and good aspirations need to be respected and considered if we are to continue to work through all these things together, building on that greater sense of community that many feel we have come to know over the last few months.

One of the frequent messages that we hear in the Bible, including from Jesus himself, is the message to not be fearful. We are told that there is no room for fear in love and that perfect love casts out fear. I appreciate that this is easier said than done! For one of the marks of being faithful is to shun fear and trust in God's promises and His ability to carry us through even the most difficult of times.

While we are called to not fear, we are called to be alert! To be alert to the needs of others around us; their worries and anxieties, their stresses and strains, their joys and sorrows. We are called to be alert to what is going on around us, in our local community, in our national life, in the arena of international affairs: to affirm what is good and to challenge and confront that which undermines the dignity and worth of every human being.

At this time we especially need to 'stay alert' as the government reminds us, yes- to do all we can to limit the spread of the virus, but also to ensure that other 'viruses' don't infiltrate our lives and our communities, causing harm and/ or deep unhappiness for us or for any of our neighbours.

So 'Stay Alert' and look forward to the days ahead, free of any fear, but renewed in hope for the future, despite the serious challenges of these days.

With my prayers and best wishes,
Fr Paul Seaman (Rector of Pulborough)


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