Sue Mann

25th July 2021

We have just returned from a family break in the Lake District, when we camped in the grounds of Rydal Hall near Ambleside, close to Rydal Water and Grasmere.

Whilst we were away, we enjoyed some walking, cycling, wild swimming and canoeing but I also had a chance to read some books and ‘top up’ spiritually. Our campsite was in the grounds of the Diocesan Retreat Centre and their library was available to use.

I read books by CS Lewis, as well as the challenging but inspiring life stories of three different missionaries including Gladys Aylward and Hudson Taylor, both of whom served in China, and one of a doctor serving in Liberia in the middle of the Ebola Crisis and it was interesting to note some of the similarities between the impact of the Ebola epidemic and the Covid pandemic. Sadly, this particular doctor is now suffering the effects of long Covid which she contracted whilst working in the UK.

All of the stories I read challenged me and caused me to reflect upon how much I am and would be prepared to give up in order to serve Christ and they prompted me to think about the stumbling blocks that regularly hinder me!

But I also mulled over the fact that we have all given up much over the past 18 months and in doing so we have learned to appreciate and value other things that we once took for granted and to, perhaps, meet God in different and unexpected ways.

I do encourage you to read some Christian books over the summer as they can be a great way of helping all of us grow in our faith, through increasing our knowledge and understanding of God by and providing us with inspiration as well as challenge. If you need any recommendations of good books to read, then please do let me know.

Having given up much over the past two years, many Covid restrictions have now been lifted, and for some people this feels like freedom but for others it raises anxiety levels particularly as we have seen an increase in Covid cases, including quite a number locally.

As a church we are now called upon to forge the best way forward and I will be working with the PCCs to discern the best way to approach this. I know that some people are, understandably, keen to sing again in church and do everything we did before whereas others are still fearful of coming into our church buildings.  Please can I ask for your prayers and sensitivity as we seek to move forward together in a collaborative, loving and mutually supportive way.

And please do remember and keep in your prayers those who continue to be isolated, for whom the past 18 months have really taken their toll.

As ever, please be assured of my love and prayers for you all.

Take care and God bless,