Pastoral Letter for Wed. 22nd July:

My Dear Friends,

Isn’t it terribly strange, uncomfortable and inconvenient to wear a mask or face covering?

I’m reminded of the villagers of Eyam (I believe its pronounced EEM) in Derbyshire. Theirs is a story of courage and sacrifice. One day in 1666 there arrived in Eyam a consignment of cloth from London. The tailor to whom it was sent didn’t know that the cloth was contaminated with plague germs; and soon thereafter the tailor died. The local vicar gathered everyone in the village together and warned them of the danger. He told them that if they wanted to be selfish, they could all run away from the village. But if they did, they might spread the Plague all over the north of England.

The vicar asked these villagers, for the sake of others, to cut themselves off from all contact with the outside world. They went into lockdown and self-isolation for over a year; and no one entered or left the village. Food and other supplies were left at the village boundaries. Almost everyone in Eyam became ill, and 273 of them died; but nobody left the village and not a single person in the rest of Derbyshire caught the disease. There is an annual service held in Eyam to give thanks for the self-denial and courage of these brave and thoughtful villagers.

The scientists tell us that wearing a mask doesn’t give us any protection at all. We wear it in order to protect others. We don’t want to Pass on contagion. We don’t want the illness to spread. As we begin to emerge from these difficult times of restriction, and as we begin to enjoy a little more freedom, lets remember our responsibility to others. Jesus said: “Do for others what you want them to do for you.” (Matthew 7:12)

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all.