With a spirit of optimism, we slowly edge towards opening our church doors again. Vaccines, and rates of infections give breathing space again. Thank you for your support during this challenging time. We cautiously move forward towards a “new normal”. The normal’s the one thing you practically never get. That’s why it’s called the normal.” Somerset Maughan. Perhaps the great writer is correct. The cynical amongst us might think that we will simply return to our old ways, learning absolutely nothing from the lessons of living with a pandemic. “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First by reflection, which is noblest. Second, by imitation, which is easiest. And third by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius. I am optimistic for a number of reasons. Just one of those reasons is that I truly hope we have learned to value those we may have taken for granted. I hope that front line workers will merit more than a weekly clap. I hope that their working conditions are given a complete overhaul. I am not naïve to the darkness of the past 12 months. There is the tragic loss of loved ones. That deep sadness of loss which has been a reality for so many of us. Especially, the pain of not having access to see, or hold, a dying loved one. Please God, we will have the opportunity to grieve appropriately when, through the continuing vaccinations roll out, we can gather again as church, as community that is not a ‘virtual’ community, but a real flesh and blood encounter with each other. “I am ecstatic that we have a highly effective, safe vaccine that really works. I am clinging on to the hope that it really works with my nails, my teeth, toes, hands – everything I have.” Dr. Rachel Clarke. That says it all really.