Welcome to The Glaven Valley Benefice

Thoughts from the Rectory

 for February 2021

Rev Richard LawryDear all,

Are you a fast learner?

A crossword clue I was confronted with recently was “Period when one learns fast (4,4)”.  The solution was “Lent term”.  Which was quite neat – education and theology interwoven!  And it got me thinking.

Fasting is an ancient discipline, of course, still practised in one form or another by most of the great world religions.  In the Christian tradition, fasting is still associated especially with the period of Lent, which begins this month (Ash Wednesday, 17th February).  Often these days, rather than, say, going without food for a period or cutting out one meal a day, fasting is broadened to other things like going without chocolate, or avoiding alcohol, or shutting off social media!  The idea is that by denying ourselves some luxuries, our vision is sharpened: we appreciate the essentials, and become more aware of the essence of things – for Christians, our loving and providential God, who can sometimes get side-lined in our busy-ness.  And of course, when we forgo the luxuries for a while, we also then appreciate them more!

In this difficult pandemic period, we are being denied things, but not of our own volition.  We are being forced to fast, as it were.  We are being deprived of human touch, and face-to-face meeting, and social celebration.  And it’s not enjoyable for any of us.  But I wonder whether – to return to the crossword clue – we can use this imposed fast to learn.  We are being reminded of what’s of real value – human company and contact, friendship, love, and care.  Not the material things, but the personal, emotional and spiritual things.  For me and for many of us, the most important thing of all is the reassurance that God is with us, in this as in everything, and remains closer to us than we can imagine.

We’re all desperate, I’m sure, for this Covid trial to come to an end.  But maybe we can at least use it to reflect on what’s vital and what we want to take with us, when we come out the other side.  This Lent, more than ever before, could be something to help us.  To help us “learn fast”!

New cameras for live-streaming services

During this latest lockdown, we’ve had to return to online services only (with no congregation physically present), and to restrict ourselves to the one Benefice Service a week – at 11.00, streamed from Blakeney Church.

As mentioned last month, a wonderful donation has enabled us to install new cameras in the church, and thus for the online worshipper to be able to enjoy different views of different parts of the church, according to what’s happening in the service.  So our services are now being streamed live on Youtube.

The link for the “St Nicholas Church Blakeney” youtube channel is:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC136-AnLk8jNoBAw3b9kV_g/videos?view=57

and you then just scroll down to the relevant day’s service.

Do join us on any Sunday – or of course you can watch any service later at a time to suit you.

We will generally go live from 10.45 for the 11.00 service.

We will also be holding a short Morning Prayer on Wednesdays during Lent at 11.00.  These will go out via Zoom, with the link varying according to the person leading.  If you’d like to know more, please contact me, and I can put you on my general email list to receive further information.

As ever, please do contact us, if we can help in any way.

You can contact me on [email protected]  or by phone on 740686.

Other information is available on our benefice website:  www.glavenvalleychurches.org.uk

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