Good morning everybody, I hope you’re all well and keeping warm during this sudden outbreak of snowy weather. Of course none of this compares with the winter of 1947, when the snow came in February in unbelievable amounts, lasting several weeks. The lowest temperature in the country was recorded in Bedfordshire at minus 21 degrees C . At that time, I seem to remember, that the deepest drift in the country was some 7 metres, and I also remember, one of the worthies at our Bodnant Ave Church, recalling that he had been out with a snow plough clearing the roads, and was invited into our house for a cup of tea; when he returned, the snow had been so heavy and the wind so strong, that he could no longer find the snowplough which was completely buried.
I also remember going over to Peterborough and climbing Wardley Hill the A47 with snow piled on either side of the road to a height of 6 feet. That was in fathers elderly Ford 8, which had no heater and warmth was maintained with travelling rugs and a bottle of Brandy. Of course, in those days, even in normal weather, cars on the road were very few, with basically, almost none at all during the winter. Sledging was possible on the roads because no salt or grit had been sprayed. I remember sledging down Highway Rd Hill pavement, and the trick of course, was to jump up and down the curbs of Bodnant Ave, and skidding to the left to bring the sledge to a halt at the bottom of the Hill to avoid sliding into the road.
Interesting memories, but my advice today, would be to stay in as much as possible. Please keep a check on the elderly, and those living alone. In the case of concern, contact your minister, younger church members, elders and community leaders, for advice. In extreme cases, the emergency services are available. Do not venture out unless it is absolutely necessary, and hopefully within a few days the weather will moderate, and the snow will disappear.
As we reach the the second week of February, twelve million UK citizens have received the first dose of the vaccine, and the infection rate shows signs of beginning to fall. We expect that the massive load on the NHS will begin to ease somewhat, although the present weather may increase the load on A & E.
The total of those dying and bereaved as a result of Covid-19 is just beginning to fall, but each death is a mighty loss to loved ones, and in our prayers and actions we must remember them.
There becomes an awareness that the UK and the EU must share vaccine resources, not only across Europe, but with the poorer nations of the world – great news, realism at last!
We should not expect a sudden relief of the lockdown measures, but, even after vaccination we must continue to behave as if we ourselves were infected, for the protection of all within the community. Stay at home, wear face protection if in contact with others, leave good spacing, and comply with the lockdown rules, these simple measures will relieve the pressure on the NHS faster and save lives.
The general consensus of opinion within the URC, is that circumspection calls for normal church meetings for worship to be suspended until such time as it is clear that there is no longer a high risk of infection. In the meantime, there are a vast number of virtual services which are available and are distributed by many kind hard working Christian people.
Our Synod moderators have issued advice on protection against the effects of the pandemic, which can be found at https://urc.org.uk/church-information-guides/3689-guidance-from-the-synod-moderators-on-closing-church-buildings-for-public-worship.html
As usual, with this email, I attach the service for next Sunday 14th February, at this early opportunity. The service is in the form of low level technology, so that those who have access to simple emails may receive it, and may forward it on to our other brothers and sisters whose email addresses I do not have, with minimum effort, should it be felt appropriate. Now that folk have established a routine for those to whom they forward a copy of the service, I commit the circulation to Blind Carbon Copy. The pdf contains the hymn words, largely from ‘Rejoice & Sing’, so that you may sing along, as I know you do. Some prayers and the readings for the day, from the Revised Common Lectionary, on which the URC Prayer Handbook is largely based are included. Under normal circumstances, a modified version of this service would have been shared with Oadby URC.
May I once again remind you of the very excellent services and devotions which the URC is providing at: https://devotions.urc.org.uk/
Blessings to all, as you remain in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for all you continue to do.