Rector’s Letter

From the April 2020 ‘This Month’ magazine

We have an anchor

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

That’s the first verse of one of my favourite hymns, sadly absent from Ancient & Modern. I was reminded of it at Morning Prayer today which included the passage from the Epistle to the Hebrews (6.19, 20) on which it is based: ‘We have this hope as an anchor of the soul, sure and steadfast. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.’

Only the Rector and Curate were in church to hear it, and the doors were locked. Yesterday it was announced that all public services of worship in the Church of England are suspended until further notice. It has just been ordered that schools will close indefinitely in two days’ time. By the time you read this, our normal way of life may be even more buffeted out of shape.

Faith is essentially about living through change and uncertainty trusting there is a firm bedrock. Our faith will be tested in the coming weeks and months. Will we continue to believe that the love of God is infinite and unshakeable? Will we be able to show that Christian love is not a thin veneer of respectability but a tapping into the deep resources of the love of Jesus?

While we cannot gather together, we can still pray, read the Bible and encourage one another. There are many ways in which St Mary’s will try to keep in touch with the people of our parish, and keep people in touch with each other. There are many prayer resources and we will be making some available online, including worship behind the church’s locked doors.

Mary Harris (Pastoral Worker) is organising support for people who are isolated. You may be glad to receive this support, or offer it, or both. In particular, we want to help in the following ways:

  • Regular social contact by email and telephone
  • Listening and emotional support
  • Spiritual support through shared or individual Prayers and Bible Study
  • Deliveries of pre-paid goods and medicines (no cash)
  • Raising donations to supply and deliver small essential items

Please contact us for yourself or give these details to other people you know:

Parish Office telephone: 01270 625268
Parish Office email: office@stmarysnantwich.org.uk

Time to Talk mobile telephone : 07931 273674
Time to Talk email: listening@stmarysnantwich.org.uk

It’s the refrain from that hymn which makes it, not least the tune, which conveys a sense of being down at the foundations:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

Let’s sing it together at the first service after the suspension of public worship is lifted.

Meanwhile, my love and prayers for you all. God bless.

Mark Hart  18/3/20