Cakes, Cameras, Car Park Shopping, and Community

It’s incredible how quickly we can adapt to new routines. Only a few months ago the world looked very different to what it does today. At the start of the year, Covid-19 was just rumbling in the background. Then it became more serious: ‘stay at home’ became the new mantra, the cafes, pubs and clubs shut, then the shops, and then the schools and churches. All of a sudden, 2020 would be anything but normal for most people.

Like many families, our family has been on a journey to find a new way of living and working and that has been a huge learning curve; there is no text book, no reference point, no similar incident to learn from. Policy analysts often talk of organisations with memory i.e. organisations such as the NHS or governments that can learn lessons from past events. But what if there is no similar past event to learn from?

As individuals, as families, as a church, a parish, and a country, we have all had to adapt to this new world. Some people have embraced that with passion and enthusiasm; others have found the process incredibly challenging. Either way, life looks different for us all and it will probably continue to do for some time to come.

Even though the early signs of an easing of restrictions appear, the world into which we return will look very different to the one we left. Schools may be opening, but only for some children; shops may be opening, but don’t forget to queue; and we can now meet people, but only six at a time and only outside.

This week I’ve been reflecting on the things that now define my life on a day to day and week by week basis. I’ve been surprised at how easily new things have become part of everyday life. And so, as we turn our thoughts to the future, I’ve been asking myself “what do I want to take with me into this new world and what do I want to leave behind?” 

For me, the last few months have been defined by cake, cameras, car park shopping, and community  – and I would like to keep all of these! Each week, Elaine live streams a Messy Church Bake off on Friday, and each Friday afternoon I get a knock at my door and find the fruits of that Bake Off on my door step. Carrot cake, fairy cakes…all have been gratefully received. And that is how most of our ministry is happening at the moment – either filmed or live streamed via the camera on our iPhones. Who would have thought that a phone camera would become such an essential ministry tool!

One thing that has changed significantly has been shopping and after 2 months I finally gave up on the supermarkets and have embraced shopping ‘old style’ – and it is wonderful! Every Thursday morning, we grab our shopping bags and head to the car park at the Jolly Sailor pub where we buy meat from a proper butcher and fruit and vegetables from a proper green grocer. Inevitably, we bump into someone we know (while socially distancing) and there is such a community atmosphere – long may it continue!

While the lockdown has been incredibly challenging, let’s not be in too much of rush to return to what was before. We have a golden opportunity to rethink, reflect, and reimagine our day to day lives.  So, let’s ponder a while, let’s take our time, and let’s take the opportunity to shape the world we return to for the better.

Janine Arnott

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