The New Reality

If you have an overwhelming urge to explore the weightier theological ideas, this is the place to seek fellow-travellers.
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Post by Pam » Tue Sep 15, 2020 7:44 pm

Good to hear! God never stops surprising us!

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Post by rogerjames » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:28 pm

rogerjames wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 7:02 pm
....I fear, however, that CO-19 will become part of our epidemiological backdrop and we can expect it to offer an on-going threat for some time. It is not in the nature of effective pathogens to kill off their prey species and fizzle out - why would they? They will "want" to keep us going for as long as possible.
Roger
I'm afraid we may soon find ourselves back-tracking as stricter precautions are advised. We are already considering how best to handle big occasions like Remembrance Day and the Christmas season. Live church services are being re-transmitted on Facebook and this seems to be appreciated. The churches are also examining their social role in the village - the support they can offer to those in need, and how to deliver this.
Roger
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[Outlandish Proverbs No 155]

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Post by Ernest » Sat Sep 19, 2020 9:41 pm

I suspect that many churches will be reviewing what they are doing and will be doing. Things change so quickly that we could be back in lockdown in days.

But as it is all so unclear, I won't second guess what might happen, although, so far, the indications are that Public Worship will continue both online and in Covid Safe, Church Buildings.

I fail to see why pubs and social entertainment venue's have remained open, albeit with early finishes, why churches like ours, only open twice a week, perhaps on a third day a week for a Baptism, Wedding or Funeral, strictly controlled, should be obliged to close again?

The longer lockdown really damaged the mental health and well being of many, young, old or just middle aged, who were isolated from their loved ones and from the things that they hold dear. It damaged those young people who missed out on exams, and than were damaged again for the results fiasco.

It damaged uni students who were kicked out of their accommodation, but were expected to pay for it, even though they were not living there. It disrupted many businesses and put hundreds of thousands out of work, which will become worse when the furlough finishes at the end of October.

Targeted lockdowns are kinder, and I think that will happen. Government trying to control everything from the centre, was slow to react. We need more local autonomy regional or centred on specific communities. Damage limitation and saving lives has to be the priority for us all.

There is a blame game going on at the moment, when we should be uniting and fighting the enemy, which is a disease, we will have to live with for the future, hopefully with a viable vaccine, like the Flue vaccine, which can be updated, year on year to enable people to live lives in the new normal.
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Post by rogerjames » Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:48 pm

It is a simple concept to regard rules or guidelines as a minimum standard and to set yourself a high bar. We speak of "going the extra mile" - that's what applies here. I have to say I am aghast at the rash, ill informed, dissenting behaviour we are seeing around the country. Sometimes it seems as if the only compliant organism here is the Covid-19 virus, meticulously following its 2 rules: 1. reproduce; 2. spread.

We have the means to slow it down and buy ourselves time to get vaccines into play. Instead we could find ourselves facing a post-Christmas crisis. It's a tough call - but not impossible - we need to control what we do.
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Post by Ernest » Mon Dec 07, 2020 7:23 pm

We have stuck to the rules whatever they've been throughout. The only time I travelled further than our local area during the lockdown was when my wife was in hospital following her stroke in July, when I had little choice to travel to hospitals outside our home area as we had no choice where she was sent for treatment. The first hospital was closer to us where the acute care took place, but is in a different CCG budget area. So when it was time for her rehab, they sent her to a hospital allegedly in our funding CCG area, but further and close to inner London, which cost me £10 each day I travelled.

The rules are clear and simple to stick to. The only confusion has been in the additional rules put in place by the Church, which has complicated worship a bit more than needed. But we go further than the rules, as we want to keep our people safe. Our Vicar looks like a Martian or Space man when he distributes communion, with gloves, mask and visor, a bit off putting for children coming up for a blessing. The good thing was a relaxing of the Mask wearing rules when leading, or preaching from the chancel, to allow us to be heard clearly. I have been back in Church since Jen recovered since 2 Oct and back leading or assisting with preaching since then.

I still miss the pastoral visiting and taking home communion to people in care situations, as the Risk Assessments just make it unviable. So people have not had communion since March, which is a shame and a loss to them.

But the risks are mitigated if people are sensible and obey them, Sadly, to many are showing their own selfish self interest or misguided beliefs to theirs and others detriment.
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Post by rogerjames » Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:05 pm

rogerjames wrote:
Mon Dec 07, 2020 6:48 pm
We have the means to slow it down and buy ourselves time to get vaccines into play. Instead we could find ourselves facing a post-Christmas crisis. It's a tough call - but not impossible - we need to control what we do.
Roger
So - we shall not be seeing any of our family "in the flesh" this Christmas - but this is not a tragedy for us. It's just one of those things you do because you must, to keep them safe. We shall speak on the phone, or Zoom, knowing that eventually, when we are through this mess, we shall - hopefully - meet up again. We are quite able to enjoy our own company. However, not everyone is so fortunate. I know of many folk who have relations in care homes or hospitals where normal visiting is impossible or at least very difficult to arrange. I know of parents of school children with all the difficulties that go along with that these days. NHS staff, carers and school staff will be having a terrible time of it. I think not having a clear end date to all this makes it all the more frustrating. Time to be strong!
Roger
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[Outlandish Proverbs No 155]

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Post by Ernest » Thu Dec 17, 2020 5:27 pm

We can see our family, they live just across the road. But our daughter in law is shielding still because she has kidney problems combined with disability through the blood clotting disease. She is in a bubble with her parents, as he father suffers dementia and she wants to support them. Our grand children all five are now adults. The eldest is at Uni and working in London, the next down is a ICU nurse again in London and is in residential accommodation. The next one down is a Para Medic in London, but stays in a flat there. The youngest two (twins) boy and girl are both at College locally, while living at home.

We wave across the street, but Jen is high risk due to her stroke earlier this year and underlying conditions and I am the same due to diabetes and being over 70. I am back in Church ministering, but in a very Covid safe way. So, I will be taking part in services over Christmas with two preaching opportunities and general stuff leading when needed. I can't do the home visiting which was a large part of my ministry or even take communion to people because of the risk to them and to me, which is quite frustrating. I console myself by prayer and editing and producing the parish magazine. Which used to be 40 pages, but in the lockdown has become an online publication with sometimes up to 60 pages. I have pledged to cut the number of pages, but I keep getting interesting content to put in. People have nothing else to do but send me stuff and I can't resist it.

Probably a 1st world problem?
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Post by Ernest » Tue Dec 22, 2020 6:04 am

After three days in Tier 4, we appear in our area to back to the days of full lockdown from March this year. Non-essential shops are closed and we have the reintroduction of lines waiting to get into supermarkets, where already, following the chaos of Dover being blocked from sending trucks into France, some fresh food is running out (despite the Supermarkets saying they remain fully stocked).

I want looking for Sprouts and other Christmas goodies and found none. But I can't complain as it is only me who consumes sprouts, as my spouse hates them with a passion.

But local corner shops remain open and our local one, about 300 yards away is doing a roaring trade. I suspect that before the virus, they were a lot quieter.

We are fortunate to have them, as they work on the "Arkwright" principle, of Open all Hours. Our local Pub is closed, but as it serves takeaway food, they appear to also be doing a roaring trade. And customers I presume can treat them as an off licence, you can get your fill of alcohol in cans or bottles, cask beer being banned.

I can remember from my youth, being sent to the local pub with a jug to collect several pints of cask beer with a couple of shillings to pay for it. So much for the rules about selling to underage people, in the 1950's, scant attention was paid to those rules.

I have to admit that the smell of the beer put me off drinking it, until I became old enough to appreciate it. Now, after 30 plus years of being tee total, I can appreciate the joys of soft drinks and no hangovers.

I know that pubs and the hospitality industry are hit hard by the virus changes, and that there will be some that will not survive, but we have three pubs in our street, so perhaps some levelling off is overdue.

Our local food bank is appealing for help, as their stocks are being denuded by those falling through the cracks of the welfare state, and poverty and deprivation, even in our relatively affluent borough of North Kent is obvious. We have people begging on our streets and the police are not moving them on. I carry some loose change specifically to help out when I can, and the old saw about them using drugs or alcohol is not true. A number of them are migrants who receive absolutely no support from the state and rely on charities to support them, but those very charities are now suffering a fall in income.

Our local Sikh Gudwara is out on the streets feeding the homeless, who had all but disappeared during the first lockdown, but now are back. The local authority is working to get them into housing, but it is all short term and reliant on government support, which has been reduced in recent months, just when it will open. Our local charity which provided a winter shelter, led by the Churches in unable to function due to virus regulations, so there is literally, no where for homeless to go.

A sign perhaps our our broken society. I pray for their relief and donate where I can to those seeking to care for them. God help us to be generous to those less fortunate than ourselves. Amen :votive1:
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Post by Joyce » Tue Dec 22, 2020 1:07 pm

You make some good points,Ernest. I'm reminded of an incident mentioned to me by Rev Richard Haggis. He came across a tramp begging in the street and hesitated. Richard had misgivings about handing the man money he'd only go and spend on booze until it occurred to him that that was exactly what he was about to do with it himself : he was on his way to buy wine for dinner.
The thought that anyone is without the wherewithal to be sheltered and fed at any time, let alone winter, is frightening. Praise the Lord there are those among us willing to make a contribution to easing the situation.Few of those on the streets now could have grown up thinking that was where they'd end up. Not all are authors of their own misfortune and even those who are still need food and shelter. We all do.
On another note,it seems to me every generation throws up a demographic of unforeseen poor. I often think about this.
Who'd have envisioned, as we watched the millenium fireworks, that in 2020 we'd be considering children who had no internet-connected laptop at home as so educationally deprived and endangered that our powers-that-be would in the name of equality be sending all pupils back to school in the midst of a killer pandemic ?
A decade or two further back than that, the idea that a family would one day have so many bills to pay to keep a household going that they'd have to rely on charitable donations as a matter of course would have been unthinkable. Some of us in i-church are old enough to remember when it was absolutely normal to have no TV service, phone or car to pay for, and we weren't considered poor.
Going back in time a little further, there were so few 'single parents' the term hadn't even been coined. Widows were called that and sympathised with. 'Broken homes' were heard of and considered tragic, but weren't all that commonplace.The needs of changing times give us more and more to spend money on.
When Jesus said there would always be poor to receive charity it was in a slightly different context, but it looks as though it will continue to be true. What next will technology and social changes demand of our income that will render perfectly respectable people paupers ?

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Post by Ernest » Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:04 am

Thanks Joyce

A reminder that poverty has affected many generations. Being brought up in a single parent family (after we left care) I can remember times when the only food in the cupboard was a loaf of stale bread, which would be dampened and put into the oven to freshen it up. We all had free school meals as our fathers earnings were breadline rates and he sometimes was unemployed for months at a time.

I recall writing her about visits to the National Assistance Offices, where civil servants seemed to revel in humiliating people applying, telling them to sell something if they needed money. We had nothing worth selling at the point, and the Church (RC) came to help sometimes and provided bedding and furniture. All of our clothes came from second hand shops, the forerunners of the charity shops today, as did our shoes.

We were not the only family in this situation, many others were in the East End in the fifties and early sixties. I only had money when I left school and went to work, and couldn't save until I joined the Army, when it was compulsory to open the old Post Office Savings Book and make an allotment of pay into it.

Today the situation is probably more dire, with families living in poor accommodation, land lords who refuse to make repairs and the insecurity of being out of work and a benefits system designed to punish, not help.

I have read the cases made for a Universal Wage, which makes sense to me, it would cost billions, but if we decided to scrap the plans for HS2 and the Nuclear Deterrent, we could possibly afford to do it? Why we need obscene weapons of mass destruction I fail to see. But the military are brain washed by the need for it, because they don't have the resources to defend the country or our allies by conventional means.

I am a pacifist these days by inclination having seen the results of the constant wars supposedly fought to protect our interests or peace support operations in recent years. We've signed up to defend half the know world, without regard for the consequences on the world if a world war started.

But signs of hope. Israel is making peace deals with some Arab countries in the middle east leaving only Iran as the remaining country wanting their distruction.

This conflict is the running sore in the middle east and peace there could change every thing elsewhere. I pray that it is so.
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Post by Ernest » Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:41 am

We are once again in Lockdown. Which could last well into February or longer.

Churches can stay open, but the wisdom of that decision feels fraught with risk for many Clergy and others, who wonder why the privileged treatment?

We are already closed due to our Vicar and family in quarantine, one of the family having been contacted by track and trace as having been in close proximity with someone who tested positive.

It happened on Saturday, which meant that our Sunday service was cancelled, and in my view now, we will probably stay closed until the lockdown ends. It seems sensible to protect people due to the virulence of the new mutation which is spreading so fast.

We have just got used to being open, but will now revert to online worship as soon as the Vicar is able to reset worship from his study. I will deliver prayers and sermons prerecorded like last lockdown.

But we have two church funerals, which I am involved in next Friday and on the 19th, also the funeral of a close friend at the Crem who died two weeks ago.

Who will officiate is open to question, particularly this Friday as the Vicar will still be in quarantine. Our retired priest hasn't been well, so not sure who will stand in. But the Vicar will find cover, I am sure.

Prayers for all who are worried about their Churches remaining open during the lockdown, Clergy and Laity alike. :votive2: :votive2:
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Post by Ernest » Fri Jan 08, 2021 6:43 am

As an update.

The Vicar is clear. Covid tests on his family all proved negative. This is good news. Church will remain closed for now, but he has streamed Morning Prayer this week, which has helped.

This Sunday we will stream a service of the Word for the Baptism of Christ, which I will lead and preach. We will do the renewal of Baptism vows as part of that service and we will also have pre-recorded music from our Choir.

Next Thursday, we will open for Public Worship with a mid-week BCP HC, which normally has a low, manageable attendance as a trial but Sunday will be a streamed HC from Church, at which I will participate with prayers and reading the Gospel.

All of this will be discussed with the PCC in a zoom meeting this weekend, but it is likely that a publicly open midweek communion will continue with Sunday services streamed until the lockdown ends.

Sunday services are the ones where we get a higher attendance, but those sides people who we have are currently either sheltering or two families are affected by covid infections and will not be available until Mid-February at the earliest.

The concentration and priority is keeping people safe, so cleaning down after every service is something which is now routine. We provide freshly printed service sheets for each public service which are collected and safely disposed off after each service.

We have a reduced capacity with a maximum of 40 in church at any one time, and those acting a sidespersons have the responsibility to close the doors when that capacity is reached.

I am involved in a Church funeral today, which has a maximum attendance of 30 according to the legislation. And so far, that has been adhered to by families and undertakers. We now have three more funerals in the next few weeks, none of which are covid funerals, all are people who have died through what would be called natural causes.

So, I am praying for vaccinations sooner, rather than later for all, to at least reduce the numbers of people suffering from the virus and dying. :votive1: :votive1: :votive1:
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Post by Joe Parrish » Sat Jan 09, 2021 6:22 pm

With a county population of over 460,000 we have had only 365 deaths so far, and only 10 of those were ages 0-44, born since 1975, after which most every US child got the MMR measles-mumps-rubella vaccine at 12-14 months and booster at 4-6 years, that turns out to be amazingly protective; also many 45 and older had the mumps, which is apparently quite protective, especially if they also had rubella and/or measles. So we are in a relatively low covid area in Knoxville. But most all smaller churches still closed--that is generally all Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian churches except for the large Episcopal Cathedral which had nearly 100 attending last Sunday, widely separated, masked, and pretty well behaved on social distancing. Baptists are open.
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Post by Joyce » Sun Jan 10, 2021 2:18 am

That's interesting about those vaccines, Joe. Here the most vulnerable tend to be in the age group that had measles,mumps and rubella before the vaccines were developed. Their immune system for the most part prevented their catching those viruses again,so why doesn't it help ? Is there any research into this phenomenon ?

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Post by Joe Parrish » Sun Jan 10, 2021 4:55 am

Hi Joyce,
Mumps seems to be the closest to covid, but some find their immunity to mumps fades more quickly than others. An immunologist can check one's titers (remaining immunity) for mumps, measles, and rubella. If the titer is low, an MMR booster is given. Rubella's coat protein is about 27 percent similar to covid, so it adds protection, as does measles. But apparently at least 7 percent need the MMR booster after only a few years, which is probably what will also be needed for the covid vaccines.
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Post by Ernest » Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:42 am

What is interesting is that there is no discussion that I have seen about the MMR/Rubella vaccine in the UK. Talk of drugs which help those affected by the virus, but no mention of thses.

If medical science is supposedly sharing information, I wonder if our medics are sceptical of the evidence presented?

I had mumps in the 50's, so to young to remember much about it, but given that I didn't get it afterwards, I presume that the immunity must have been viable as an adult.

My children received the vaccine in the seventies, so they should have the immunity, but no way of checking for the evidence of that immunity.

I wonder if our government are even interested in exploring the evidence? Being so focused on the three vaccines now approved for use.

So I will continue to pray for early vaccination for all. :votive1: :votive1:
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Post by rogerjames » Sun Jan 10, 2021 8:16 am

Ernest wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 6:42 am
What is interesting is that there is no discussion that I have seen about the MMR/Rubella vaccine in the UK. Talk of drugs which help those affected by the virus, but no mention of thses.

If medical science is supposedly sharing information, I wonder if our medics are sceptical of the evidence presented?

I had mumps in the 50's, so to young to remember much about it, but given that I didn't get it afterwards, I presume that the immunity must have been viable as an adult.

My children received the vaccine in the seventies, so they should have the immunity, but no way of checking for the evidence of that immunity.

I wonder if our government are even interested in exploring the evidence? Being so focused on the three vaccines now approved for use.

So I will continue to pray for early vaccination for all. :votive1: :votive1:
It's a huge field of activity where we usually only see the tip of the iceberg, Ernest. The fact that the recent efforts have resulted in a selection of approved vaccines in so short a time gives us some idea of what goes on behind the scenes in terms of surveillance, thinking, learning, research, testing and vaccine safety - not to forget safe manufacturing, packaging, distribution and delivery. How often do we give this any thought?

Huge respect and thanks to all who have been playing their part in this worldwide endeavour - such a stark contrast to the doubters, dissenters and disinformation-merchants who seem to flood the social media with their wild conspiracy theories.

Let's remember the importance of "Wisdom, Intelligence, Diligence, Patience and Perseverance".
This translates into every one of us setting our personal bar high, and behaving as if we are infected with Covid.
Roger
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Post by Ernest » Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:57 am

Thanks Roger.

I did a bit of research on the MMR/Rubella/Measles reports, most of which are in the USA and the WHO who have reported on it. Only one British Newspaper picked up on it and there is nothing published that I could find from UK sources.

Perhaps we are playing catchup on this, being so busy with our own concerns?

But I am doing exactly what the government says in terms of how we should be. Only going out to Church for those streamed services that I am leading or participating in. And once a week to shop for essentials.

Mask wearing in public places and shops and keeping strict distances from others, unfortunately, not everyone is so conscientious. I have to go for Physical therapy to an Osteopath once every six weeks and I keep them because without them my mobility would be impaired. As it was in the first lockdown when her clinic chose to close. Thankfully they reopened in July so I was able to resume treatment. The first appointment was a double one as so much recovery work was needed.

The vaccine is being portrayed as a game changer, but until everyone is vaccinated, the risk of acquiring the infection and passing it on. So many unknowns still. Does the vaccine give permanent immunity, or will have to be repeated annually like the flue jab? Does it stop you getting the virus entirely, or just reduce the effects on you? Does the vaccine prevent you infecting anyone else, if you are asymptomatic? This is the government is pushing the "Act Like you have the Virus" hash tag.

Promising everyone a vaccination by the autumn is a tall order, but hopefully achievable, but there is a substantial minority who apparently will resist the vaccine, and that will present a long term risk to the rest of us.

So, I continue to pray for all to accept the vaccination for their and for others protection. :votive1: :votive1:
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Post by rogerjames » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am

I aim to be as single-minded as the virus unconsciously is! I do not want to provide it with a place to grow or a means to spread. It's quite a simple plan.
Roger
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Post by Caroline » Tue Jan 12, 2021 9:20 am

Simple, but effective Roger!

Ernest, attention certainly has been paid to the potential of the MMR vaccine in the UK.

There is a response to the research done elsewhere here and brief details of research being done here. That excerpt suggests that there is some protection because of a similarity in structure between the coronavirus and the rubella virus. Logic says that means it would always be a very poor second to a dedicated virus. No doubt it was thought that the majority of effort should be concentrated on developing a proper covid virus - the outcome being that we got it at a very impressive speed.
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Post by Ernest » Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:36 am

I will receive the vaccine (not sure which one) on Thursday Morning. Jen my spouse, who is Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, has not be called yet. Perhaps they are just working on age groups?

But we have gently requested that we be done at the same time to avoid four separate visits for both the initial and booster doses. We await a response.
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Post by Joyce » Tue Jan 12, 2021 2:43 pm

Goodness knows how they group people, Ernest.The only person I know who's had the jab is 61. Perhaps you've been called because you're diabetic ? Having said that, so am I and I think I am a year or so older than you. I've had a don't-call-us-we'll-call-you text from the surgery.I suspect it's done by computer and we all know about those. :biggrin:

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Post by Ernest » Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:45 pm

Since this morning I have managed to change the appointment to ensure that both me and Jen are being vaccinated on Thursday afternoon. Flexibility from the person dealing with the lists. Otherwise Jen would have to wait until next week for her age group.

They had not picked up on her critical vulnerabilities including her stroke in July, which added another issue to those she already had.

But to be fair to those doing the call ins, they have over 32 thousand patients to get vaccinated, so they can be forgiven over looking one or two.

We still don't know which vaccine we will receives, but whichever one it is, we will be truly thankful.
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The New Reality

Post by Joe Parrish » Wed Jan 13, 2021 8:47 pm

Our federal guidelines just changed, and I'm scheduled to get one Jan. 30 and booster March 2. As it turns out food handlers are getting theirs at the same time. It would be nice if anyone working in a soup kitchen would be able also to get their doses. Some of the food lines here in the States are enormously long. My former church has seen the demand for their Sunday food rise by over 50 percent.
Peace and blessings,
Joe

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Ernest
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The New Reality

Post by Ernest » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:47 pm

We are apparently being given the Oxford Vaccine. I took a friend for her vaccination this afternoon, just over a week since she lost her husband.

I have been asked to deliver a Eulogy at his funeral on 28th Jan, which is an honour,

John was a steadfast Man, Christian, Carpenter and Joiner and a former District Commissioner of Scouts in Kent. Sadly, his last two years involved increasing disability and dementia and lengthy spells in Hospital (not virus related). He went down hill after a spell in Hospital at the height of the covid peak last year and needed residential nursing care until his death. Meaning his family were unable to see or to visit him.

Sometimes life is so cruel to so many and this pandemic has demonstrated that loss so dramatically.

Prayers continue for those affected by the virus, those who have died, and those in need of vaccination, which is either delayed or not available for some time to come. :votive2: :votive2:
Where there is hope and love there is life!
God is Life!
God is Hope!
God is Love!
God Is!!

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