27th April 2020

By The Hon David P C Legh DL FRICS - Chair of Derbyshire Rural Chaplaincy Steering Group

Dear Friends

Here, this week, is a reflection from a lay person.

I have been struck by the ingenuity, resourcefulness and kindness of people during the pandemic, accompanied by renewed community engagement – previously seen by some as an old-fashioned trait in a fast-moving world. An example occurred just this morning:

David, who delivers our daily newspaper, mentioned the other day that if we were short of a household need, he could probably get it and deliver it with the paper. Jane asked him if he could procure some compost for our roses. “No problem”, he said “I’ll get three bags and deliver them Monday or Tuesday. Just leave the cash in an envelope.”

When we emerge from COVID–19 there seems to be every chance that some changes will be permanent. I suspect that families will be more self-sufficient, re-learning old techniques, taking less for granted. One concept that seems to have disappeared in recent years is seasonality. The supermarkets have indoctrinated us that any fruit or vegetable is available throughout the year and we have increasingly lost the excitement of the first bunch of asparagus or punnet of strawberries. 

I hope this new realisation will filter down into a greater respect for our farmers and fruit-growers. Their world entirely depends on seasonality; their annual goal is to reach harvest, and they cannot afford to miss it – be it grass for our livestock, wheat for bread, barley for malting, timber for construction.

At least Mother Nature has been kind to us since lockdown. The appalling floods and saturated ground of the autumn and winter have given way to warm spring sunshine for sowing crops and mowing the first cuts of silage.

Like so many of us Jane and I have expanded our IT skills over the past month or so. We regularly record acts of worship and post them on YouTube. The very act of compiling circulation lists has widened our pastoral reach and rekindled relationships. We were amazed by the number of views in the build-up to Easter.  Many have been out of curiosity, but enough people have shown their appreciation to indicate that they wish this to be a regular feature in their lives.

For those of us actively engaged in rural ministry this is a new challenge – and a very real opportunity.

With every good wish. 

The Hon David P C Legh DL FRICS