Easter has a way of putting things in perspective

Stations of the Cross prayer trail in the churchyard at Sidmouth Parish Church

Stations of the Cross prayer trail in the churchyard at Sidmouth Parish Church - Credit: Rev'd Matt Selman

Rev'd Matt Selman, Team Vicar for St Giles and St Nicholas, Sidmouth, gives his Easter message to Sid Valley residents.

Much like the rest of society, churches have adapted to a lot of change in the last year. Before March 2020, public worship in the Church of England had not been suspended for over 800 years. In the 12 months since, many churches, including Sidmouth Parish Church, have done so three times in response to each national lockdown.

Rev'd Matt Selman

Rev'd Matt Selman - Credit: Rev'd Matt Selman

During that time, our activities have changed hugely. Services, where allowed, have been stripped back to the essentials. Congregations are masked, distanced, and doused in sanitiser at appropriate intervals. Communal singing has been absent throughout. Baptisms, weddings, and community activities have been mostly impossible; with the exception of those which reach the most vulnerable, like Food Banks.

We have learnt to live-stream worship and met for prayer via video calls. Choirs have recorded music by stitching together solo parts electronically. School assemblies have been delivered by video. Mourners have joined funerals for their loved-ones remotely, sometimes from the other side of the world.

Amid the challenges, churches have sought to avoid looking inwards and tried to stay true to their mission to be for, and among, their local and global communities.

Whatever the ups and downs, Easter has a way of putting things in perspective.

12 months ago, the Archbishop of Canterbury celebrated Easter from his kitchen and I did the same from my back garden!
Easter reminds us that it is not our activity or efforts which matter most. The central festival of the Christian year has a timeless purpose: to help us re-enter the story of God’s redemption of the whole world through the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our task is simply to receive that love that changes everything.

We’re glad to be back in Sidmouth Parish Church this Easter, albeit in a simpler guise. If you are able to join us either in person or online, we would love to welcome you – see our website for service times: www.sidvalley.org.uk/ourchurches.htm and book via email at: sidmouthchurchbookings@gmail.com and do look out for our Stations of the Cross prayer trail in the churchyard.

God bless you this Easter.

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