Blog from the vicarage – 10 October 2021

A message from the vicar of St Peter’s, Rev John Rainer

Dear friends,

One of the most difficult aspects of ministering to our parish during the months of lockdown was that of trying to help bereaved families and individuals whose loved ones passed away during that period. Even when deaths had nothing whatsoever to do with Covid 19, families were faced with serious restrictions on the numbers of people allowed to gather for funerals, and at one point were not allowed to attend at all.

Funeral ‘visits’ at that time had to take place either on the phone or online. I discovered that some of those who had died had lived very remarkable and outstanding lives. They were not simply special in the eyes of their families, but deserved the recognition that a funeral would usually provide. Instead, their friends and relatives in this country and abroad were not allowed either to travel or to gather in numbers to mourn and remember. Measures were taken to try and alleviate this, such as videos and livestreaming, but in general bereaved families were left with a sense of being robbed of something their relatives deserved.

Now that these restrictions have been eased to a considerable extent, I am proposing that in our parish we should offer these families an opportunity to gather and remember. For many years the church has used All Souls’ Day at the start of November as a moment to remember with gratitude those whom we have loved but see no longer. This year we will be using the Evening Service at 6.30pm on 7th November as the moment when we invite those recently bereaved to St Peter’s to celebrate the lives of those who died during the Covid lockdowns, and who perhaps did not receive at the time the recognition they deserved.

Over the coming weeks we will be writing to all the families we know of, specifically inviting them to this service. However, the service will be open to everyone, and will certainly contain a time for names to be read out, and candles lit in memory.

Please can we ask all of you to help us in making this service known to anyone who would find it helpful? Thank you.

COP26 Climate Conference

The first two weeks of November are the time when the UN Climate Conference comes to Glasgow. You are encouraged to pray that the world leaders who meet then will come up with positive steps to address issues of climate change. The charity Tear Fund is seeking to keep churches informed and I hope that many of you can use their materials and resources in your prayers over the coming weeks.

Work on the Hall Roof

Most of you will have noticed that this work is now well under way. We understand that it is progressing satisfactorily, and so we would ask you to pray for its completion, and that no unforeseen circumstances or adverse weather events get in the way!

With love and prayers,

John Rainer

Compassionate God,
Be with those who need you. The unloved, the friendless, the oppressed, the sick, the dying, the bereaved.
Take your love where we can’t, or won’t, reach.
Make your Spirit known in the worst places and times, so that all may benefit from the sacrifice that Jesus made for humankind.
It is in his name we pray. Amen