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May Letter from the Curate

Looking back at April it has been a rollercoaster of a month with profound moments of grief and others of great joy. We were thrilled to see so many people back in church on 4th April, Easter Sunday and it was such an apt day to return. On 8th April, we also celebrated Nick Hopkinson’s year of being High Sheriff in Cheshire. Not an easy year at all, but what Nick and his teams achieved has been phenomenal including the preparation of 1000 food hampers for families in need, and part of a team raising a couple of million of pounds for different projects. There will be more elsewhere in the magazine on this! It was particularly pleasing to see so many being recognised in our community for their services and there were several very surprised people, including me, at being on the list!

Little did we know that the following day, we would receive the sad news of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. That day was also the anniversary of the death of my own father one year ago in lockdown circumstances. The verses of Ecclesiastes 3 were never more pertinent “ For everything there is a season, A time for every activity under heaven….a time to cry and a time to laugh.”  And isn’t that reflected in the Resurrection Story? The grief of Good Friday is superceded by the joy of Easter Sunday! In life, there is indeed joy in the midst of sorrow.

Over the 50 days now between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday all of us have the opportunity to reflect on the resurrection. The message of the resurrection has never been more needed or more powerful at this time when people have suffered so much yet look for hope and meaning in their lives as we return to some sort of “normality.” I preached on the 3rd Sunday of Easter about the proof of the resurrection, the eyewitness accounts of the Christian story written only 50 years after the events themselves, the resilience and determination of the disciples to risk death to spread the news of the resurrection and, of course, the individual “faith” stories we all have where we have experienced inexplicable coincidences or seen God at work in particular crossroads in our own lives.

The Queen, herself, and the rest of the Royal Family also participated in the grief many have felt. Despite the role of the monarch, she was on Saturday 17th April, a lonely widow, stooped with grief and sitting in alone with few of her family around her. One would have had to have a heart of stone not be moved by her sadness and to empathise with the way COVID had also impacted her own life.

The music chosen was particularly meaningful and of course chosen by the Duke. The words from Psalm 104 arranged for choir and organ by James Vivian presents a poem about the creation of the world, emphasising the order of the world and the sovereignty of the God who created it and maintains it. The Jubilate by Benjamin Britten is a song of joy and thankfulness to God and belief in a world without end.

A woman of great faith, I have no doubt that Queen Elizabeth will have tremendous support from her family and  God in the weeks and months ahead and will know that death does not have the final say. The Easter event marks a powerful transformation, in which Jesus takes our pain and despair and transforms them with the love that resurrects us from the death of suffering. I pray that would allow this truth to permeate our hearts in the weeks leading to Pentecost, lifting us out of despair and enabling refreshment of our souls.

May God’s blessings be with us all throughout the coming month.

The Rev Dr Jenny McKay

Posted on May 1st 2021

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