A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on 26 January 2021, 6:10 pm

Amanda Collinson


St John the Baptist Church


Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com




How are you all doing? I hope you are coping OK as we continue in this national lockdown … not what we were expecting last year is it, but necessary it certainly is: to keep you lovely people as safe as possible as well as protecting our little yet lovely hospital from being overwhelmed.
I have a five-year diary, where you can record about 3 sentences for each day – it certainly focuses your mind I can tell you, there is no space for waffle! Writing my entries this week I have found it a little amusing but also sad to read my scribblings from last year: at the beginning of February last year, I was getting myself ready for my Sabbatical, a 3-month period of study leave and rest! I had it all sorted – I had some great ideas for a project, I had lunches planned with friends, I was going to clear out the junk from my house that had collected over the past 8 years of us being here … it was going to be a brilliant 12 weeks: but then COVID came and changed everything.
But I know I am not alone in that I am sure every single one of you has had plans dashed over these past 11 months. Nothing can be planned for and things are still moving every day. We are truly living in an ever-changing world at the moment – in the hope and light of a vaccination as they continue to roll out, yet new variants are being found around the world, the United States starts their first full month under the leadership of Joe Biden all the way through to extreme weather conditions – record amount of snowfall in Spain and temperatures of -25C and Australia suffering horrific thunderstorms and tropical cyclones in their summer season. Crazy, challenging times and currently without the lovely sun to lift our spirits.
One thing we have done this past year to keep our spirits up in the Collinson Household is to eat pancakes more regularly! I don’t know about you, but we used to keep pancakes just to celebrate and commemorate Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent starts. Pancakes are associated with Shrove Tuesday, because they are a way to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the ‘fasting season’ of the 40 days of Lent. Whilst we don’t necessarily fast through Lent (I have two always-hungry boys in my house ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think they would last 40 hours let alone 40 days!!!!) we do remember Lent and so always have pancakes the day before. However last year my youngest said ‘We all love pancakes; they are a lovely dessert or could even be a meal. Can we have them all the way through the year?’
We chatted about it and discussed it and decided to have them on the first Saturday of every month – eating them more regularly than that, we thought, would not keep them as a special treat! And so, we have done that for the whole of the year, so much so that my boys can now easily cook and flip pancakes themselves!!!
So, will Pancake day/Shrove Tuesday be any less important to us this year? No, not at all. It will remain a key date in our diary as we start Lent again this year. However, I think Lent will probably be more different this year … Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the great celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus’s 40 days of wilderness in the desert.
However, it could be argued that we have had enough ‘wilderness’ time this year already, perhaps not in a desert, but definitely many days and weeks of isolation and a sense of not knowing where we are going. And so, as a result, I am going to do Lent a bit differently this year.
This year I am going to focus on being thankful each and every day: Being truly conscious of what I have, being grateful for it and writing something every day in my diary about it. And I am going to start by focussing on love – by re-reading the gospels and reflecting again on how Jesus showed God’s love to all he met and then looking around me and giving thanks for all the ways love is shown in my life: through examples of how we help one another, look out for one another, being selfless, working harder on relationships, focussing on WHO not WHAT is important in our lives etc – thanks to you dear community members being so kind and caring and generous there are so many examples!
Yes, it is probably still going to be a cold and blustery month but together let us radiate love, in this Valentine season, and warm ourselves from the inside out by remembering and giving thanks for what we have: from our family and friends, our homes and our community to brilliant scientists giving us hope for the future and caring NHS and other key workers looking after us now and make this the most heart-warming and grateful Lent we have ever had.
Wishing you all a month full of love and thanks,


Rev’d Amanda


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