Welcome to St John the Baptist Church in Smalley, Derbyshire.
We are often being told that ‘things will get back to normal’. I wonder what that phrase means to you. Perhaps we think that we will go back to the school or office and work 9 to 5. Perhaps we think that summer will be dry and sunny – not too hot, with just a little bit of rain. Perhaps we think we can take our holidays as we used to. Perhaps we think we can go out to the theatre or restaurant without really thinking about masks, social distancing, booking in advance.
But really, how ‘normal’ is that perceived normal? We tend to have very selective memories of the weather during the summer. I know that I mainly remember the nice days and very rarely remember the cold and wet ones. It is only recently that multiple holidays per year along with foreign trips became ‘normal’. 100 years ago, it was normal to walk to work. 70 years ago, it was normal to use public transport to go to work. 2 years ago it was normal to drive to work. 200 years ago we heated our homes using wood. 100 years ago we heated our houses using coal. Currently, we heat our houses using gas (mainly). 100 years ago, almost everyone went to church on a Sunday. Now, normal is for most people NOT to go to church. Normal has changed dramatically over a lifetime. What will be the new normal for holidays, commuting, heating, church attendance?
Of course, for many, these ‘normals’ are out of reach – perhaps because of circumstances of health and income. Perhaps because care of a loved one takes precedence. Perhaps even because we feel that it is ‘wrong’ to enjoy
such things due to climate change, social inequality etc. Our own personal ‘normal’ may be different to our neighbour’s.
One thing has never changed – the capability for homo sapiens to adjust to the new normal. In view of the very real challenges facing our world – climate change, coronavirus, economic inequality, we are all going to have to continue to adjust. Our real challenge is to look hard at our own lifestyle and determine what changes we may need to make to adapt to the changing circumstances around us. What do we need to do to help those around us who may have more difficulties than ourselves? We must be prepared to change and adapt in order that our society can survive. The church has a role to play in this as well as it too seeks to adapt and change to the new ‘normal’. We must embrace this do what is needed.
As a church we take safeguarding of children, young people and vulnerable adults very seriously. If you have any concerns however small, please contact: the Diocesan Safeguarding Adviser: firstname.lastname@example.org 01332 388682 or the Priest in Charge: email@example.com 01332 834928 or the Parish Safeguarding Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org 07747 871560