I never thought I would ever look forward to having my hair cut but it has happened in the past month.  Sartorial elegance has never been my strong point but, blessed though I am with more hair than most other

men of my age it was good again to look less like one of those objects that were once put into fields to scare

off crows.  It has been marvellous too to see my grandchildren again after months apart and to have to warn the neighbours in advance that screams heard in our garden would not be from child abuse but sheer larking around.  As I write this we are about to be allowed to have meals out with friends and even to hug them.  As we reach

the height of summer we are finding restrictions at last being lifted and life potentially getting closer to what it was once like.

Of course problems remain.  We talk about a return to normality but we have no idea of what that normality will be like.  There will be long term effects of the virus.  The education of young people has suffered dreadfully, there are huge financial and employment problems to be met.  People are finding it difficult to get an appointment with their GP and there has especially been an upsurge in mental illness.  Then there is the more immediate problem of holidays, where it is safe to go and whether a holiday might have to be cancelled at the last moment.  We are not going to return to where we were (if we ever do) for a very long time and we must accept that.

We need however to remember three things as we look forward to the future with more optimism than we would have done (say) in March.  The first is that it is negative to live lives of fear.  As a sufferer from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) I know that arguably the most dangerous phrase in the English language is 'What happens if...?'.  We waste our lives if instead of taking sensible precautions we also allow our lives to

be taken over by a terror of the virus returning and affecting us.  There is too much to live for to do that;  life

is too short and too precious.

The second is that as the danger recedes we must never ever forget the work done by those who created and distributed the vaccine that has been the gateway to where we are now - or those who have worked so hard

to help the victims of the virus, often at a cost to themselves (my younger daughter who is a hospital sister

has had the virus twice).  If ever people have been doing God's work it is them.  We have taken the medical profession for granted for too long;  this must surely stop now.

The third is that the Church is always there for you and always will be, Covid or no Covid.  For all the superficial changes in its life and practices its message remains as unchanging as its buildings.  We are there

for you and we always will be.  And since God cares as much for those without faith as He does for those

who believe it is there for everyone.  So if you need us, just contact us!

Have a great summer and think positively!

                                                                                                            With very best wishes, Paul.