It is traditional at this time of year for this letter to give our love and good wishes to all the young people moving up to a new year at school, or to a new college, or – particularly exciting – to university or the world of work. But we all know that this year has been very different for them as for all of us. Their education has been turned upside down since March, their exams were cancelled, they weren’t able to have their end of year celebrations or say goodbye to their friends properly, and there’s been confusion over the allocation of grades. So it’s an extra special heartfelt ‘good luck’ to them as they prepare for the next stage of their lives (and huge thanks to their long-suffering teachers…).
For the rest of us it’s been a strange few months too and I think particularly of families being separated because of the ban on travel until recently. My own daughter was unable to return to England for four long months to take up a new job, but finally made it here at the beginning of July and has just had her first few days actually at her place of work and not in the back bedroom on Zoom, in pjs! Many of you will have similar tales to tell of your own family members.
Thank goodness for this lovely church community – phoning, collecting medications, doing bits of shopping, having cups of tea in a socially distanced way in back gardens, dropping round with flowers, cards, good wishes – I could go on.
And so we adapt, learn to do things differently and look forward now with optimism and hope – bringing with us some new ideas which have emerged during lockdown and ready to welcome our new minister with confidence. ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go’ (Joshua 1:9)
Good luck to our young people – and don’t forget your facemasks!