Milverton
Helene Stainer

From the Vicarage in April

As I am known for my positivity…hurray, Spring is sprung! It is a joy to see the wonder of God’s creation bursting forth, longer days, warmer nights, summer celebrations like the May Fair, Flower Shows, Fetes and Jubilee celebrations planned.

As I write this however, I am also conscious of the doubts and fears that surround us at this time.

In St Michael’s Church, Milverton, from 28 March to 10 April we have the Threads Of Survival Exhibition, a set of 20 plus quilts stitched during the pandemic celebrating the NHS, and drawing attention to some of the frustrations also expressed during the past 2 years. But it is not over yet…the NHS faces a lot of challenges to come and continue to need our support. Whether you like needlework, love art, feel political or want to be reminded about how we have pulled together over the past 2 years, do come along, it is free and open every day from 12 noon to 4pm. I was reminded of how very grateful I was for the vaccination programme, when I caught Covid and managed to ride it out at home, although I certainly would not describe my experience as “just like a cold or flu”, A reminder that we must continue to keep ourselves and each other as safe as we can.

We cannot, nor should we not, ignore the conflict in Europe between Russian leaders and the people of Ukraine. At the worst of times, we also see people at their best. We have seen people suffering, filled with fear, with nothing but what they stand in; and then we see others rushing to their aid, with equipment, creature comforts, medical equipment, food and water and offers of hospitality. The Donations to the DEC have been phenomenal.

Where is God in all this? This is often a cry from those moved by these events.

God is in the wonder of this planet, God is with those who suffer, God is with those who make their voices heard, God is with those who silently pray, God is with those endeavouring to help. God is with Irina who lives near Chernobyl with her 80yr old mother, God is with them as they make themselves as safe as possible, they have made an altar in their shelter, using their national flag as a backdrop, an icon to focus on and candles to light in prayer. Irina has sporadic Wi-Fi and recently sent an email thanking everyone for caring and praying.

April brings the season of Easter, which is a time when we reflect on Jesus’ suffering, dying, and coming to life, new life, as a message of hope to us all, to Irina and her mother, to all those struggling at this time.

So I say, “hurray, Spring is sprung”, which is announced on Easter Day as, “Alleluia, Christ is Risen” and the response is, “he is risen indeed, Alleluia”.

Helene