A message from the Rev’d Amanda Collinson

Posted by Admin on 30 April 2021, 10:57 pm

Amanda Collinson


St John the Baptist Church


Tel: 01983 294913

Email: amandacollinson01@gmail.com



What memories does the month of May bring for you? Going back as far as my youth it meant Maypole dancing which would have been preceded by many hours’ practice to make sure the pattern we made with our ribbons was perfect … More recently it meant going to Spencer’s Field to celebrate the May Day celebrations organised by the Scouts with its traditional procession through Gurnard village … For 2021, it will hopefully mean gatherings of 30 people outside, 6 people or 2 households meeting inside, having a meal inside a pub or restaurant, cinemas reopening, weddings having 30 guests and crowds returning to sports events and concerts! But this is subject to everything still going well and not until the 17th May so don’t use me as an excuse to do any of this before that date! Slowly and gently we continue along the roadmap out of lockdown……

It is funny the first two May traditions I mentioned above have so many emotions attached to them – for the first one I can remember being able to have candy floss, a real treat when I was young, I don’t remember doing a Maypole dance in the rain although I am sure it was not always sunny; for the second one I can still hear the screams of laughter, above the noise of smashing plates, from my boys and all the other children as they slid down the foamy wet mat in the field about 3 years ago! These memories enable me to be instantly transported back to these particular places, and remember all the sights, sounds and smells of great days with family and friends.

Our lives offer us various cycles of time and moments – whether it is school terms, clothes that we wear, what’s happening in our gardens, or just plain key dates of births, anniversaries and death. And yet this past 15 months or so those cycles have been skewed, broken or just simply not celebrated: we had the most wonderful Easter Day last month celebrating my younger son’s birthday, as well as Christmas and eating chocolate eggs – all on one day with family we hadn’t seen for months! Samuel will never forget his 9th birthday!!!!

And as a result I think we all feel a bit out of kilter, as we haven’t done what we normally would by now … whatever that actually means for you, be that a holiday abroad or simply saving up enough money to treat the family to a nice meal out or a visit to Blackgang Chine.

I am sad that there are some traditions we have missed, but I am also going to take this break from the norm as an opportunity to ensure I am doing the traditions I want to do and not just doing them because I have always done them … Because traditions are great, but sometimes they can become restrictive, inflexible – Jesus struggled with the Pharisees and their traditions as they admonished the disciples for picking corn on the sabbath or forbidding Jesus to heal a man on the sabbath: both meant work and that was banned.  Jesus told them that this was absurd. Similarly illogical is the tradition or belief that all good Christians go to church every Sunday. And one tradition I have always struggled with is the Royal Navy way of toasting the Queen whilst sitting down – it goes back to days when the wooden ships had very low ceilings … but none of the warships I served on had that issue and I struggled even more when we were not even in a ship but a shore establishment, but then as Mark Twain once said ‘The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it”.

So what new traditions am I going to make? Well … I am going to drink Guinness outside the rugby season, I am not going to buy my boys matching tops for Christmas, I am going to eat scrambled egg and smoked salmon on a bagel more than one day a year, I will go to bed before Midnight on New Year’s Eve if I am tired, I will have a Hot Cross bun in the summer (especially if it is homemade!), if I see sparklers outside November time I will buy them for my family for no reason but to light them and have fun … wow I am feeling empowered and rejuvenated already!!!!

So as we continue to slowly return to some type of ‘normal’ living, I encourage you to think about your family traditions: do you want to stop some and start others? Don’t just do something because you have done it forever, do it because you want to, because you want to make a particular moment a special memory, because it brings you great joy!  

If you see me around, do let me know your new traditions, especially if I can be part of them: I cannot wait to hear what you have planned for the year ahead!

With love to you and your loved ones,

Rev’d Amanda

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