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August letter

August letter.
Dear everyone.
A story which has inspired many of us during these very trying pandemic times is about retired Captain John Moore celebrating his hundredth birthday. He set out in April to raise £1000 by walking 100 laps round his garden to raise money for the National Health Service which is doing such a wonderful work in caring for those who are suffering from the coronavirus, at great risk to their own safety.
His dream, a modest dream, was to do his bit to help. What he was doing however as one of the older members of society caught people’s imagination and nearly 33 million was raised for the NHS.
This gesture and his dedication to completing the venture seems to me to have been one of the finest reasons for bestowing a knighthood upon anyone. Reflecting on his journey from local fundraiser to knighthood, he said: ‘when you think that about four months ago I was just Tom Moore now I’m Sir Tom Moore, no one would ever have believed that in that time it would happen to me. I’ve been really honoured that this should happen,and thank you everyone who subscribed to the fund-I really appreciate it, and thank you all very much.’
I find however something of a deeper challenge that we need to consider. It’s this. Let no one write off older people as being unable to contribute to the well-being of society. Yes, young people and people of all ages need a tremendous amount of encouragement. We must be wholeheartedly behind helping others, but let us also remember that the elderly are not to be treated just as if they have passed their sell by date.

People of every age have something to contribute. Each person is unique, and their contribution can be unique. The Prophet Joel looked upon ‘the day of the Lord’ as a time when every kind of human being will have something to contribute to the well-being of all-including the fact that the elderly will have good dreams to inspire them on their way
May we all share the vision of the prophet Joel in the days ahead and pray for the day when all kinds of people will contribute to the well-being of EVERYONE – a time when The Spirit will be poured out, and all will see a vision of what many of us would describe as ‘the glory of the Lord’ seen in human affairs.
With prayerful good wishes,
Sincerely,
David

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July letter

July letter.

Dear everyone.

At the present time are a great number of people feeling very lonely. Due to the pandemic, many people feel that some essential parts of their lives have disappeared and they have become  disoriented. They badly need to share their thoughts, and to receive assurance from others that their lives really matter.

We may all have a responsible role in this area. It may be that we get lots of phone calls from people who are very nervous or depressed. How important it is that we give them  quality time. If we meet someone in the street for instance we might well begin simply by saying ‘hello’ to them, but it frequently calls for a bit more than that. We must make time-even just a few extra moments-to ask people how they are, listen to their response and give them an encouraging word of some kind to help them along the rest of the day. It can work wonders!

One of the sayings of Jesus was ‘whoever shall compel you to go with him one mile, go with him two’…This saying was based on an obligation that, according to Roman customs at the time  , a Roman soldier passing by a Jew could order him to carry his pack for a mile, but Jesus is saying  we must be prepared to help people  by going the extra mile. The first reaction on our part may be ‘this is going to make extra demands upon us.’ This may be true, but on the other hand it will help to improve our capacity as human beings to use the gifts of communicating that we have been given, in a very constructive way.

There are circumstances of course where the pressures on us may make it necessary to be brief in our help, or there may be some other very good reason; but  there are still many occasions upon which we can go that extra bit further with people who need support and company. In many cases it may be an advantage to get to know them by name, and let them know us by name as well.

The ’extra mile’ uses of our gifts can make this world an easier place to live in. It may be the means of other people catching the habit of being friendlier too. Especially in making the lonely much  happier.

May every blessing be yours,

Sincerely, David

PS. As from this month I’m celebrating the 60th anniversary year of my ordination. All being well in the not-too-distant future I’m hoping to have a book published entitled ‘In times of transition.’ More later!

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July letter

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June letter

June letter.
Dear everyone.
Things are starting to get a bit easier in this pandemic period; but there is still a long way to go. We all need to keep on our guard. There is still for many the strain of isolation, the unknown, and the unexpected.
Talking about the unexpected, I discovered that my fishpond had sprung a leak, one fish had died. On top of everything else that needed doing, here was something else that is an extra job to do. We have found that there is a hole somewhere around about halfway down the depth of the pond. A neighbour has kindly offered to help at a later date to repair it..
When I looked in the pond immediately after temporarily filling it up to a safe level again, I had a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. Amongst the seven larger fish there were three extra small young fish that I had never seen before. So surprised was I to see them that I went back to the pond later on, and they were still there. Putting in freshwater must have disturbed the deepest part of the pond which brought them to the surface.
It is so easy for a great number of things to go wrong in times of crisis that make people feel depressed . Our worries may be trivial compared with the desperate situations that are faced by many, but nevertheless in facing up to problems of any kind it is important that we keep things in the right proportion. The right attitude of mind I believe is summed up well in the words of St Paul where he says……’fill your minds with those things that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honourable.’
We all have to learn the art of being thankful for the positive things that happen . Even if we feel there are only just a few :these are things that we can hold onto. They will eventually help us to keep a sense of balance, and go forward with more confidence into the future.
May we all support the needy who have all kinds of worries with our prayers and our actions, and give thanks for the splendid way in which many people in their work, and in many cases, in spite of their own needs and frustrations, help us all along our way.
With all good wishes,
yours sincerely,
David.
.

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May letter

 
Dear everyone
At present most people,to put it mildly, are finding life difficult. On the one hand there is the fear of lives being shortened by Covert 19.On the other there is a great adjustment that needs to be made by the restrictions of lockdown. There are those who feel isolated and extremely bored .Others are so busy that they find it difficult to fit everything in . If we are deeply involved in any kind of caring or providing role and helping people through very difficult traumas created by the virus, we may well find ourselves in danger of overload- exacerbated by an increased number of emails and telephone calls.
For pandemic reasons If we are 70 years plus there are frequently good neighbours and friends or maybe even family that do our shopping for us, and help us in other ways. We are deeply grateful to them all. There are many others whose livelihoods are in serious danger, and it is very difficult to see how in the future people are going to cope with the tremendous losses in work,trade and income.
In times of crisis we have to take a step at a time, even a day at a time in order to get adjusted to change. We cannot force things, or simply avoid problems. We have to continue exploring life and we need to travel with neighbours and friends. Never has there been a greater time to work closely with those around us and with friends through difficult days.
A hymn often sung at weddings and even funerals ends with a chorus which goes ‘and it’s from the old I travel to the new. Keep me travelling along with you.’ The word ‘You’ here reminds many that there is, from a spiritual point of view, a friendship that can become a reality to us by faith which is much deeper than human friendship.
Personally, I am missing one-to-one pastoral contacts with people, especially through police chaplaincy and dementia care home visiting, as well as my family and friends. It has been very sad that I have been unable to see those in care homes dying as the result of the virus, many of whom I had got to know quite well on weekly visits in recent years and built up a very simple rapport with many of them.
Although it has not been possible to fulfil pastoral roles in the usual way , I like many others have been regularly remembering especially in my prayers, all who are facing corvid-19 in these difficult days-especially at midday in prayers@12.
With all good wishes and every blessing-that we might soon see brighter days ahead.
Yours sincerely,
David.

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April letter

Dear Everyone.
The latest corona virus has created a crisis throughout the world. There are many things that can frighten us, but this one affects us all. Dealing with this pandemic has bought out the best in many people. Many now confined to their homes have found their neighbours extremely helpful.
Many are vulnerable because of their work-doctors nurses, all who work in hospitals, police, fire ambulance services, army personel, the many people who do all kinds of humble cleaning tasks those who distribute our necessities and serve us in our shops. Many others whom we may not have realised how important their work is deserve our appreciation, thankfulness, and our prayers of support.
Crises however do have a creative side. They create situations where we have to act quickly, and that means we have to enter a very rapid learning curve at whatever age we may be. We need to act positively in order to help others, and also to remain positive and stable in our own personal lives as well..
Everyone of us have a responsibility to support all kinds of people around us, known and unknown and those who have lost loved ones in a situation where it is very difficult to grieve together with friends and families..
Whatever your outlook on life and situation may be ‘May the peace of the Lord be with you’, especially as we go through these very difficult days
Sincerely,
David.
Please join us if you are able wherever you are at ‘prayers@12’time -even with a few moments of quiet reflection for those in need of our prayers.

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monthly letter

March letter.
Dear everyone.
Last month was for me a special celebratory one. In the year 2000, on my birthday, I was appointed as one of the chaplains to Nottinghamshire police. It is a role that I have enjoyed tremendously. Throughout my ministry I have served in many different kinds of chaplaincy work-hospitals, including psychiatric hospitals, schools, the car industry, mayor’s chaplain in St Albans, care homes, the RAF police and their dog training school and the oil industry.
When the time came for me to ‘step down’ from the responsibilities of actually being in charge of churches, the invite to become a chaplain to the police as part of an ecumenical team was a real God-send.
It is often said that the role of chaplaincy is one of ‘loitering with intent,’ but not of course with a malevolent intention! There have been many experiences over the last 20 years that have happened, in a confidential way, which I have been privileged to share in with both police and civilians who work in policing, in all kinds of traumas, life stages, and changed circumstances. Even with brief snatches of conversation with officers and people who are very busy about their work, it is surprising how much one can be involved in giving a word of encouragement, and feeling a sense of usefulness in listening to and sharing things with others.
Later in this year, all being well, I shall be celebrating the 60th anniversary of my ordination as a presbyter in the Methodist Church. There have been many challenges to face up to, but they have certainly been very fulfilling years.
I personally see ministry as a lifelong calling, but I believe for every person there is a role, a calling to fulfil. As long as we have our cognitive skills, it is important that we use them as fully as we can. We must all be willing to help others to find happiness in their lives and fulfilment in worth-while ways of life.
With all good wishes,
Sincerely David

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February letter

 

Dear everyone.

The first of February was a fine sunny day. I thought I will go into the garden and clean up the  leaves that have made the garden untidy since they fell in the autumn. It had been windy overnight, and lots of dead branches have been blown down from the trees, but   the wind had also blown leaves off the lawn and paths. either into neat piles, or into the borders. What a pleasant surprise!

Ecologically I’m told, untidy leaves in a garden are valuable for insect life and the protection of some plants.  You don’t always help a garden by keeping everything perfectly tidy! Leaves can be safely left for a time and some will naturally get mulched into the ground.

Quick results in any walk of life are not always the right answer.  In the parable of the wheat and tares Jesus reminds us that wheat and tares are often sown at the same time. Damage can be done to the good things that grow if we are in too much of a hurry to get things tidy and in order.It may be necessary to wait until the harvest time comes, in other words, the right moments of fruition, before the separation can take place.

There are some things of course need dealing with straight away because to act slowly would destroy things that are good, even the well being of people. Let us pray that we may all have true discernment, true wisdom and knowledge. and take great care that we do not think that everything we do should be done in a hurry!

May we all learn to be good gardeners, good carers of the universe and the people within it.

Every blessing,

Sincerely,

David.

 

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January letter

Dear everyone
As a schoolboy I played in a small school orchestra, As a beginner on the violin, I played the second fiddle part.
Life often begins like that . We are rarely chosen to be leaders at the beginning, but we need to learn how to do things properly first!
We may find ourselves playing in a secondary role for a very long time, but we have to remember that every role that we undertake can be important. There are always situations where someone has to fill a ‘back-up’ role or called upon to suddenly fulfil a leadership gap. Many have been brought into a lead role like that. For some it comes at a very late age, although management today often calls younger people into management responsibilities. We may surprise people what we are able to do later in our lives, but there does have to be an attitude of mind all the way through that encourages us to discover the most useful roles we can fulfil in the world and in the process we all need to us discover what humility is all about.
John Bunyan who wrote the book Pilgrims Progress,in one of his hymns wrote this.
‘He that is down needs fear no fall, he that is low no pride; he that is humble ever shall have God to be his guide.’
No one should be excluded from finding a role that is of service to others. We should all be willing to work from humble beginnings.
Megan Rapino, named as Guardian footballer of the year felt that her global exposure and success had only been made possible by the supportive teamwork of her colleagues. She went on to say however that in a wider sphere too that ‘everyone has a responsibility to make the world a better place.’
May her words as an outstanding sportswoman ring home, not only in sport but by people in all kinds of circumstances and lifestyles.
May God’s blessing be with us in this New Year as we persevere in our tasks-to ‘make the world a better place.’
With all good wishes,
sincerely,
David.

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December letter

Dear everyone,,
An advert on the back of a Nottingham bus said ‘travel contactless.’
I quickly realised it meant that if you travel with the right ‘app’’on your smart phone and swipe it near the travel card sensor on the bus your fare is then paid.
My mind however quickly went in a very different direction. In life we are all travelling on a journey, and on that journey none of us can travel ‘contactless.’ We need the contact, the support of other people.
We are living at a time when many have less and less close contact with other people in their daily affairs. Digitalisation has been a great boon to communications, but it means less contact is actually made directly with other human beings. People drive past our houses. A few might wave to us because they know us by sight. Families do not live close to each other. Often if we want to make a transaction by computer or phone there may be a choice of up to 10 letters or numbers that have to be pressed. Even then we cannot be guaranteed an answer by a real person. Those living on their own especially can find themselves without support in their times of need..
‘No man (or woman) is an island’ John Donne reminds us, and there is also a spiritual dimension to this as well.
An important part of the Christian message for instance, is that with the coming of Jesus into the world we are celebrating a unique way in which God himself enters into human affairs. When He comes, He is to be known by the name ‘Emmanuel’, meaning ‘God with us’, in other words ‘God in contact’ with us, strengthening us through his coming, in our journeys through life.
My hope is that we will all find on our journey, a faith that will help us, keep us in touch, and guide us- through our friendships, through the help of good people of all kinds. and through to that source of strength which is ‘beyond’ ourselves.
With all good wishes for a very blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year..
Yours sincerely,
David.

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