Sue Mann

24th September 2020

During lockdown, the Southend Boys and Girls Choirs, along with past members, gathered online to record the song ‘We are One,’ by Brian Tate, to raise money for NHS charities. The words are:

When we walk, when we sleep, when we rise, we are one.

When we laugh, when we sing, when we cry, when we run, we are one.

And we shall love one another with all our hearts,

And we shall care for each other with all our soul & our might.

When we stand, when we fall, when we rise we are one.

We are one in the cold, in the heat, in the dark, in the sun, we are one.

When we’re hurting one another, that’s the way we hurt ourselves.

With our sisters and our brothers, we will rise.

And we do, and we try; we must live or we die.

We will reach, we will climb, we will rise, we will fly, we are one.

And these words shall be forever within our hearts.

And we shall teach them to our children and remember them in our lives.

When we walk, when we sleep, when we rise, we are one.

When we laugh, when we sing, when we cry, when we run.

We are strong, we belong, we are one!

It was a great opportunity for these young people to engage and work together in a really positive project.

I have noticed over the past couple of months, in some instances, morale begin to wane as, understandably, people acknowledge the reality of the fact that there is not a quick fix to the coronavirus. And, at this time, it is so important to remember that, as a global and local people, we are one. This isn’t to deny our unique God-given characteristics as individuals, communities and churches. But we are facing challenging times and the way we will get through it is to recognise our connectedness and our interdependence.

For priests, especially when faced with difficult decisions, it can sometimes be a lonely road, particularly when people grumble that things aren’t as they would like them to be, or as they once were. It is, of course, crucial to ask questions and reflect, and sometimes this means all of us being prepared to be challenged about our own views or ways of doing things, in order to grow and move forward. That is part of being a Christian and a church. But it is also important, as people of God, to aspire during these times to be a ‘can do’ people. Most of us are encouraged and energised by having ‘can-do’ people around us; I know I need such people to support and assist me in my role. If we remain a ‘can do’ people, we will be a ‘can-do’ church as I hope we have been through the past few months.

I believe, with God’s help, we can work together, as one, to be a ‘can-do’ people, locally, and globally. In this Benefice we have provided 1.5 tonnes of food to the foodbank since March and I am hopeful that we can increase our donations this month when we would, otherwise, have been having Harvest collections at church. Let’s aim to collect the same amount of, if not more, food this October than before. We have also been having some discussions recently about our church governance structures which have resulted in some very honest, challenging and, sometimes, painful discussions, but which have culminated in some very positive mutual support as we find  new ways of being community and working together. Can I encourage you all, as we move forwards in these unprecedented times, to remember that God calls us, to work together as one, as a ‘can-do’ church, in the power of his comforting, challenging and ‘can-do’ Holy Spirit.

With love and prayers for all of you.

God bless,