The Wokingham Paper

Adapting to newness and change

Picture: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

CHURCH NOTES with Pippa Bartlett from St Paul’s, Wokingham

I, like hundreds of others, have been livestreaming the Eucharist every Sunday from St Paul’s Wokingham’s Facebook page.

On Palm Sunday, we heard Christ’s assertion, in Luke’s gospel, that “if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Last weekend, churches around Wokingham stood empty and silent on Easter Sunday, when in any other year, the Christian world would be gathered together shouting Alleluia in celebration of Christ’s defeat of death and resurrection.

Instead, while I celebrate Easter at home, the bare stones in my garden are suddenly overrun with geraniums and campanula crying out Alleluia in celebration of new birth.

We are all adapting to newness and change – so much so that the word “unprecedented” is beginning, ironically, to sound pretty hackneyed.

On Monday, home schooling starts again for children and my colleagues in the teaching profession. There is no pretending that it will be free from struggle.

Parents will struggle to care for and support their children’s learning, while working from home; children will struggle to uphold the sort of self-discipline which would tax many adults.

I, who have always maintained that education is worth having for its own sake – not just to help pass exams – will struggle to put my money where my mouth is.

I will have to persuade 18-year-olds to practise techniques in calculus, but not necessarily because they will use them when they leave school. They should continue to learn because knowledge is precious and understanding elevates us.

Teaching remotely is an exhausting experience, and I imagine that learning remotely is too. My best advice for anyone involved is to get away from the screens when you can.

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, get in it.

At the very least, get near an open window. Say to the new, green world, “Alleluia, Christ is risen”, and hear the voice of spring reply, “He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”

Pippa Bartlett is a member of St Paul’s Church, writing on behalf of Churches Together in Wokingham

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