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St Michael and All Angels' Church, Bodenham




St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham The Chancel, St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham


Welcome Pilgrim to St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham

The Lytch Gate, St Michaels and All Angels Church, Bodenham
Welcome to St Michael and All Angels' Church, Bodenham

Rector: Revd Paul Roberts 01568-797863 / rector@maundchurches.org.uk


Churchwardens:

Mrs Vivien Moffitt 01568-797379
Mr Tom James-Moore 01568-797330


In the aftermath of the flooding of the Church, services will be held in the School until further notice.

The Vicar's Monthly Message

02/04/2020

Dear Friends

It is always tricky to write something that will not be read for at least a fortnight, but in these challenging times it seems even harder to know quite how our daily lives will appear in two or three days’ time, let alone two or three weeks’ time. It seems likely, though not certain, that all but the most essential social interaction will be suspended, including our community events and routines. Quite how our churches will celebrate the great feast of Easter is uncertain

Faced with the challenge of COVID-19, it is tempting to look back to times gone by for reassurance and comfort; but the past is not without its challenge too. Much good has come out of the Hertfordshire cathedral city of St Albans (not least my wife, Rosie!). The story of St Alban holds much for us in our troubled times. Alban was a Roman citizen in the town, then called Verulanium. He found a Christian priest knocking at his door after the town curfew. At this time the Christian faith was outlawed and to harbour such a man could lead to serious consequences. However, he took the man in and over the next few days talking together, Alban was converted to Christianity. When the authorities discovered that a priest was being hidden, they challenged those harbouring him to give the man up. Alban, swapped clothes with the fugitive and allowed him to escape, and gave himself up in place of the priest. The proconsul was so annoyed that he ordered Alban to be executed, and thus this 2nd Century Roman citizen became England’s first Christian martyr. To my mind this story still sends a powerful message about neighbourliness and sacrifice.

The Cathedral of St Albans continues to be a place of warmth and hospitality and in less troubled times a centre of pilgrimage too. I was impressed by a statement put out by the Bishop of St Albans recently regarding coronavirus – you may have seen it. He encouraged us all to follow four “golden rules”:

1. Each one of us can think about how we can protect and support our neighbours. So much of the public rhetoric is sowing fear about the danger of other people. So, taking all the official precautions, offer help and reassurance to others – and don’t demonise anyone or any group.

2. Think about who may be suffering more than me. For those of us who are healthy there is much less to worry about but the elderly, the housebound and those with chronic health conditions may be very anxious. There’s nothing like a friendly voice to offer solace when someone is worried. A smile can bring cheer, even on the phone. If you visit, follow all the official precautions or don’t go.

3. Don’t give in to panic and start hoarding food. There is plenty to go around, so practise the Christian discipline of sharing. Ask your neighbours what they need and do you best to help them get it. If you are self-isolating you will of course need some supplies.

4. Live today to the full. None of us ever know what the future holds. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6. 25–34), Jesus challenged his followers to live each day fully and not be afraid. Every time we are tempted to give in to fear we need to make a conscious choice to respond in trust and openness.

We will soon be approaching Easter, a time that reminds of life overcoming death... it is a season of sacrificial love making all things new. This is likely to be more poignant this year than in recent times. I pray that we may continue to strive to be good neighbours to one another and to show practical love to one another. I leave you with a prayer (also from St Albans!):

Dear God our Shield and our Defender, guide and protect my neighbour in this time of health emergency; deliver them from all harm and may your love and care ever grow in this place. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord,

Amen.

With every blessing

Paul
 

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