Derbyshire Rural Chaplaincy ‘Thought for the Week’ during Coronavius

Rev’d Alan Griggs (Lead Rural Chaplain – Derbyshire)

After a general climate of antagonism towards farming in recent years, the essential work that farmers do is suddenly at the forefront of our minds. After months of wet weather coronavirus is yet another challenge for the rural community, however, thankfully, for now, livestock markets remain open to buyers and sellers. This is an unprecedented situation and many governments are describing a war against coronavirus which will be defeated. We know this will happen, however, in the meantime the work on the farm will and must continue and perhaps, one of the greatest anxieties for farmers is that coronavirus might prevent them from caring for their animals and keeping on top of the many jobs.  

Yet, we are all affected by the coronavirus pandemic. My mother is self-isolating given she is at high risk, my son won’t take his GCSE’s, my daughter is off school, and my wife Louise will continue to work in her primary school as she cares for the children of key workers. Yet, we thank God the family still have good health, and won’t be in any serious financial difficulties. One of the biggest challenges remains feeding my 15-year-old son! Again, thank God for farmers.

I have started reading a book by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, just before the coronavirus outbreak, who says: “ours is an age in which there is too much ‘I’ and too little ‘We’”. As I have followed the news, I couldn’t help but be reminded of these words. Alongside the science and expert advice, it has become clear that this global challenge needs societies…urban and rural….to love their neighbour more than ever, and remember it is about ‘Us’ not ‘Me’.

Despite the disheartening stories of ‘panic buying’ and the slow response to the governments plea to follow their advice…there is still a sense that this crisis is lifting our moral and spiritual awareness, and reminding us that to be a richer society we must care for the weak and vulnerable. So, lets stay focused on the wonderful stories of support and offers of help which have also surged in response to this great social as well as medical challenge.

As your rural chaplain, I am praying for the agricultural community, and remind you, the Derbyshire Rural Chaplaincy are always on hand to help. During my prayers, I have been struck again how often the language of prayer uses ‘We’ and ‘Us’. And every day, I love to join in these words from the Church of England’s Morning Prayer: “As we rejoice in the gift of this new day, so may the light of your presence, O God, set our hearts on fire with love for you; now and forever”  

Finally, I know my mum is busy painting away in her ‘self-isolation’ so I thought I would share one of her pictures with you. Perhaps, it will help you to rejoice in the gift of a new day and also set our hearts on fire with love, care, and prayer for others in these challenging times. 


Oil by Lesley Griggs – Summer Meadow.

If you, or someone you know would benefit from support, call the Derbyshire Rural Chaplaincy on 07710 088972.