A New Simplicity
From Sarah Dallas
Licensed Lay Minister
Like many people last week, I reflected on the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh. The simplicity and austerity of the service was moving. Solemn and restrained, yet filled with feeling. In this extraordinary chapter of life we are living through, those values touch a chord. They remind us of simplicity, and of going without.
During the past year every one of us has had to strip back on so much of what we were used to. We have been forced to reassess past rituals and reappraise old habits.
Here at St Peter De Beauvoir Town, we have experienced our own stripping back. Over the past year much has changed, including the retirement of our much-loved vicar of 18 years.
Our current ‘Service of the Word’ is an exercise in the new simplicity, with no singing, no shaking of hands, no sharing of coffee and conversation afterwards.
In the loss, we are discovering new insights. As a member of the worship team so powerfully put it last Sunday, “We are making do with less fuss, but there is beauty and simplicity in it.” That beauty can be found in the looks of encouragement we give each other over our awkward masks, as we exchange a new kind of ‘peace’ in church.
I don’t think any of us will forget the experience.
In the new simplicity at St Peter’s there much to be found. New visiting clergy, offering fresh reflections, prayers and thoughts.
New music, with professional local musicians offering stunningly beautiful solo pieces. These artists, whose working lives have been hugely disrupted by the pandemic, are enhancing our Sundays no end (and inspiring our very own church singers for the future). Please consider supporting their performances by donating here (click on the drop-down ‘Save the Music’).
And new ideas; St Peter’s plans to explore our ecological futures in a series of sermons by visiting speakers (more details to come). Our lives may be pared back, but there are exciting resources to delve into.
In the same way, as we await a new vicar and a new era at church, I hope this St Peter’s blog will provide a source of reflections from visiting clergy, lay leaders and congregation.
As the new simplicity unfolds, connections with each other feel somehow deeper and more precious than ever.