Vicar's Letter July
On Sunday July 5th, it’s the 72nd anniversary of the start of our National Health Service and we’ve been asked to say thank you to all the key workers, volunteers and all those who supported us and continue to support us since lockdown started in March. At St Stephen’s we’re holding a special ‘thank you’ service when we’ll publicly express our gratitude and also pray for those who have been affected negatively during this time. We’ll be hearing from some people who have helped and continue to help others since lockdown began: a barrister, NHS worker, volunteer shopper and others.
Being grateful and saying thank you is so important in our faith. It goes beyond mere politeness. It’s an acknowledgement that we can probably survive on our own but we only flourish with inspiration and help from others; we need each other. I am what I am because others have helped me, shown me the way, supported and loved me. Secondly, regularly saying thank you to God reminds us we are not as much in control of our existence as we’d like to think. We are upheld and given what we need from God who created us and our world, and who continually sustains it. Saying thank you for everyday blessings reminds us of this.
For the first time, I’ve had a ‘thank you’ from my granddaughter for the present I gave her on her 13th birthday. Oh, don’t get me wrong I’ve had regular ‘thank-yous’ but I could tell these were written by her with her mum standing over her with the proverbial big stick. This year, the thank you just said ‘Thank you, Nanna, for my present.’ and came the day after her birthday without her mum knowing she’d written it. This warmed my heart knowing she acknowledged me and was grateful for what I’d given her. I wonder if God feels the same when I say thank you in my prayers for what I’ve been given each day.
In the service there will be poignant moments when we remember those who have died with Covid-19, especially, on this Sunday, those who worked in the NHS. The Black Lives Matter movement is reminding us that so many of those workers who died were of South Asian heritage. We will also pray for those who have lost jobs, those who are now far worse off financially and health-wise, and the poor and those in poorer housing whose lives have been touched to a far greater degree by Covid 19.
Do join us on Sunday 5th July, whether on our Facebook page or YouTube channel: to say thank you, to remind ourselves of how the after-effects of Covid-19 are still afflicting our nation and to pray that we will play our part in the changes which are needed.
Blessings - Jan
- Revd. Jan Ashton
Vicar of Hightown, Liverpool