Lent Greetings 2021 from Preben & Margaret in Clevedon

Dear circuit friends,

We hasten to say that this is not what our beautiful little town usually looks like, and certainly not your typical walk along the promenade to the end of the pier. However, as I [Preben] write this we, like everyone else, still find ourselves too often in a rocky place with lots of bumps on the way. Still, we can see across to Wales, and never fail to stop and do so on our constitutionals. You all continue to be in our hearts and minds, and we pray for the day when again we can cross borders and meet in person, with no restrictions in the way. Whenever, however this may come about.

Clevedon Pier

We continue to be busy with the bungalow in getting it converted, no, not to another denomination, but from a 2-bedroom semi-detached to a 3 bedroom one. The garage has gone, and as soon as the electrician has been, and blinds and curtains are in place too, we can really start savouring our new dining room. The back garden is also being developed, and we now have a lovely pond and a central water feature to enjoy. Only this morning, I ordered what will be my man cave for the top end of the garden, where I can sit and write my books. Talking about which, I have one being published in April and a second one to follow a couple of months later, so watch this space!

We are still both waiting for our second jabs but expect to have them within the next month or so. And Margaret continues to hope and pray that her knee operation may become a reality soon (as she has waited for well over a year), but with over five million people on waiting lists for routine operations, we cannot but be patient.

I attended the Bristol District ministerial Synod by zoom this week, and there were 121 ministers present across five screens! Joe Rooney needs to know that one gentleman who asked for permission to ‘sit down’ after 40 years in ministry gave credit to the great man, Joe, as he said, “Joe Rooney said to me many years ago that it is alright sometimes to grow weary in the ministry, as long as you never grow weary of it.” Wise words, I think, and they had obviously stayed with the gentleman throughout his ministry.

Hands up if there is anyone among us who is not weary at present? Weary of the continued uncertainty about when and how we can meet up with our families and friends, especially when we live in two different nations (albeit less than half an inch from each other on a map). Weary of trying to think of new things to do with such limited opportunities and restrictions on our freedom. And yes, even weary of daytime television! How many repeats can one take?

Having said this, and in all our weariness, we remember that Lent is probably the right time and okay for us to think and feel like we do, as we remember the total physical and mental drain experienced by Jesus during his Passion. As He gave – and indeed gives – His all for us on that cross.

Margaret and I wish you all a continued safe and prayerful journey through Lent as together we approach the hope and the assurance of Easter Day. The church council at Kenn Road, where we worship, agreed that the church will reopen on April 4th, yet with all the usual restrictions and safeguards in place. At least those who wish can choose to meet ‘live’ and   however briefly. Other churches have decided to wait until the following week, while a few are looking even further ahead. For ALL our denominations in Clevedon, zoom and/or recorded services will continue on-line as an ‘alternative’ way of worship, both now and beyond, when the Pandemic is finally over.

Wherever and whoever we are, may we all find Jesus in the highs and lows of our lives and never fail to praise His holy name. This is precisely what I have tried to do in my first book, “Living Through Lockdown”, written between March and December last year. And, as I said earlier, watch this space.

God bless you, and we look forward to our virtual circuit farewell service by zoom on Ascension Day.    

 Every blessing

Preben & Margaret

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Roger Simms

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