When the first lockdown happened my life changed overnight, as it did for most people. Those familiar events which I had structured my life and work around were suddenly cancelled. I have to admit that I was quite glad at first that some of the mundane meetings were no longer happening. Then I began to think about the things I was looking forward to that were no longer possible: barbecues with friends, weddings, family gatherings and holidays and I struggled with that (and still do).
In amongst all that though, I found God and hope in unexpected places. My husband supports higher education students and, during the busy times, pre-Covid-19, we would often pass like ships in the night as he came back from work at the time I would leave for work in the evening. Yet now he was working from home, so we got to do normal stuff, like eating our evening meals together. I had more time to act as assistant gardener for him, especially during that first lockdown when the weather was so brilliant. God is with us in the seemingly ordinary things as well as the difficult parts of life.
But God was there in the bigger stuff too and that has given me hope. Following the Black Lives Matter protests, there was a lot of press discussion about a statue of Robert Clive in our town square. This led to conversation with two Church of England vicars and a URC minister. We all felt the need to grapple with some of the difficult social justice issues and so have launched Faith Matters, a series of conversations that explore how to respond to big issues in the light of our Christian faith. The conversations are challenging and sometimes hard, but God is with us and, often, in order to see hope we need to face the things we’d much rather ignore.
James is a Methodist Presbyter in Shrewsbury where he is the minister covering the town and also Bayston Hill and Bomere Heath. He is passionate about equality and longs to see a church where everyone truly is welcome irrespective of their gender, sexuality or race.