Milverton, Somerset

A time to learn

‘I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught,’ wrote Winston Churchill. I think many of us would echo that thought!

A huge ‘thank you’ to our teachers and all who support our schools! There has been a tremendous effort across our diocese to ensure our children have been able to continue their education during lock downs and the need to restrict normal practice. Not only have the children been learning, but teaching staff have also been going ‘back to school’ in order to find new means of communication. Governors, church communities and individual volunteers have gone the extra mile too, to encourage our teachers through gifts and cards and prayer. The whole school team deserves our gratitude.

Learning online is a challenge. Those of us who are spending many hours in Zoom rooms online these days can vouch for that. It’s tiring! And it is not just our children who have found it so. At the end of this month we shall be celebrating the ordinations of our new priests. Last year they were ordained as deacons in September following three months as lay curates as a result of the pandemic restrictions.

What a year to be a deacon! They’ve had a very different learning experience than would normally be expected. Not so much opportunity of the ‘hands-on’ experience yet perhaps an even more profound learning possibility. I’m looking forward to hearing their stories!

We shall be repeating the new pattern of ordinations with our incoming deacons being licensed as lay curates initially this June. For them, colleges and courses have taken place principally online and they’ve had experience of digital worship on top of regular lectures and seminars. How might that prepare them for our ‘new normal’ of blended worship, with live-streaming of services in person?

As the Church emerges into this ‘new normal’ we have the opportunity together to learn and discover new things, new gifts, new ways of being the people of God. It is the same good God, the same story of His love to share with others, but there’s a new landscape. How might you and your community respond to that? What have you learnt in this time? And how might that learning change you and the way you do things? Do share your stories with us!

“One learns from books and example only that certain things can be done. Actual learning requires that you do those things.” (Frank Herbert)

Every blessing
Bishop Ruth