Dear friends across the parish,
In a letter dated 23rd September 1725 to the lawyer William Fortescue, the poet Alexander Pope wrote: ‘Blessed is the man who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed’. From time to time we may share his feelings when circumstances turn against us. For the past 18 months the congregation of St Paul’s Church Foxdale, aided by other people from the village, have worked hard to rebuild community engagement with the Church through Messy Church and Soup Lunches as well as maintaining a monthly Sunday service and connections with the school. Alas, further problems and potential dangers with the ceiling have meant the closure of the church yet again. (It was closed between November 2018 and the autumn of 2020 for similar repairs.) This is a heart-breaking situation for all concerned and belies the efforts and dedication of church members to keep the church active in the village.
However, it has also been written ‘Nothing worthwhile is achieved without patience, labour and disappointment’. As we think of many events from the Bible most involved trial and tribulation, not least those events surrounding Jesus’ birth, life and death. This month we are in the time between the end of Epiphany and the start of Lent, we begin to leave the joy of Jesus life and teaching behind as we turn to face the harsh reality of what these would mean, his betrayal, trial and execution, the apparent failure of all he had come to earth to achieve.
As Christians we know the Good News of the resurrection and the hope that it brings, the promise of new life, forgiveness and salvation. From tragedy and disappointment a glorious new horizon dawns for all creation. As we gather information about the exact nature of the repairs needed in St Paul’s Church and their cost we are in a similar in between time. We do not know what precisely lies ahead but we can trust that the God who raised his own Son from death will not leave us bereft.
Please pray for the ministers, churchwardens, congregation and villagers of Foxdale at this distressing time, that God’s will is done and His kingdom continues to be built there.