Compared with every other year I have known, moving into August feels very different this year.
Usually in August many families are setting off for an overseas holiday, others are planning time away in large family groups. Some are looking forward to music festivals. For many years going to a festival in Oxfordshire was an important part of our family summer.
At Christ Church some of us had expected to start this August at the East of England showground near Peterborough for the New Wine Summer Conference, a wonderful time of worship, teaching and spending time with friends.
Instead, the showground has been used as a Covid testing centre and New Wine went online. A shorter, 5-day conference has been released on the New Wine website. The advantage of this is that we have been able to go to the sessions whenever we wanted and not have to miss out when two events clashed.
If you haven’t caught up with this, even if you have never been to New Wine, then you can watch it all at breaksout.new-wine.org
In one of the opening sessions, Danielle Strickland, speaking from Canada, started with that famous verse from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians:
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” She suggested that in this time when so much has been taken away from us, when things that we previously depended on are no longer there, when even our church life has been disrupted almost beyond recognition, that we are forced to reassess what really matters to us.
I guess most of us have done some reassessing over the last few months. Maybe we have been forced to let go of some things that were important to us. Some, sadly, have lost people who were important to them.
But these three remain, faith, hope and love. Sometimes they may seem very fragile, but even if everything else has gone, if we can hold on to these three, then we will survive this time, and better times will come.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. (1 Cor 13:13).
Revd Andy Wilson
Vicar, Christ Church Portsdown
Priest-in-Charge, St John the Baptist Purbrook
Curate, Church of the Good Shepherd Crookhorn
Chaplain, Havant & Waterlooville FC