Dear Friends

We are thankful that the curve of infections has largely peaked across the country, although sadly people continue to die from Covid 19 and we recognise that we will be living under the shadow of coronavirus for some time to come with the necessary personal spacing and hygiene controls to protect people’s health and well-being.

As restrictions begin to be lifted and we look forward to regaining some things that were familiar to our lives pre lockdown, in reality we will never return to the way of living we have known. I wonder what you will take from this experience into the `new’ normality of life and what you have learnt about yourself, relationships and what you feel is important in the quality of life that you will lead from now on, with and without restrictions.

The hardest part I think we will all agree during the last ten weeks or so is the separation from people - family members, friends, work colleagues, neighbours and people we socialize and interact with. Many of you will have discovered and learnt how to use Zoom, House Party, TikTok and other online means of keeping in touch and you may have even shared in a virtual choir, orchestra, gym session etc. Many have said how difficult the lockdown would have been pre internet.

Naturally there is a nervousness about going into public spaces, sending children back to school and going back to work, but we are social creatures and even if you enjoy your own space, we are made for relationships and interaction in order to share, learn, care for and journey together. I feel for the mother, a nurse, who has not been able to hug or hold her child for over a month because of her exposure to the virus in her work and desire to shield her family. We all miss physical contact outside the relationships we may share in our immediate household and the thought of more months without a hug, cuddle or handshake is difficult for people to imagine. I hope the two metre swerve and nod of the head when we meet will not become the new way of greeting for ever and a day!

In our thought and concerns for what life may be like over the months ahead may we not lose sight or awareness of the potential consequence of the lockdown on our local businesses and people’s jobs and livelihoods in a potentially challenging economic climate. May I urge us all to try and shop locally and support local businesses. I know many people have become used to shopping online, but we do need our communities to flourish and the local shop, pub, post office, hairdresser, book shop,café, school, social group etc is part of our identity as a community and perhaps with our awareness of the positive effect on the environment due to decreased human activity, a local trip to a small independent trader will help to boost our local economy.

This month of course in Ashford in the Water, Rowsley, Over Haddon and Bakewell would have seen the wonderful Well Dressings and church Flower Festival in Ashford. They will be greatly missed, as will the opportunity to welcome and offer hospitality to many visitors. We must all think about how as communities we can arrange some social gatherings at two metres to celebrate our Community and what we value and appreciate about each one. We might be denied somethings at the moment, but don’t let that stop us living and growing together to be stronger in our continuing care, compassion and support for one another.

May god’s blessing be upon you and upon those you love and never be afraid for God is with us.

With love and prayers.

Take care and stay safe

Canon Tony

The Churches remain closed for now, but there is an Online Service every Sunday at 10 am on Facebook Bakewell All Saints or www.bakewellchurch.org.uk