Vicar's letter

Dear Friends,

One of the great challenges of the last few months has been the impact of this difficult time on children, particularly as schools were until recently closed to most children.

As we move into the month of July, my thoughts then have been with those Year 6 children who are due to leave Primary School in a few weeks time. Although Year 6 pupils have been allowed to return to schools, some may well not have done for a variety of reasons and even for those who have, they will not be having the same level of ‘leavers’ events and trips that would be normal in any other year.

Leaving Primary School for secondary school is a really big moment in any child’s life. I remember the day that I left my village primary school. Like most other children I was ready, but it still felt like a very big step indeed. During the leavers service in the local church, we all sang that classic ‘leavers hymn’ One more step along the world I go. Like generations of school children, we must have sung this hymn hundreds of times in assembly before that day, which is surely one of the reasons as to why it has become so popular at weddings:

One more step along the world I go, 
One more step along the world I go; 
From the old things to the new, 
Keep me travelling along with you: 
And it's from the old I travel to the new; 
Keep me travelling along with you. 

Singing these words at the leavers service when we were on the brink of moving to secondary school - where you needed a map to get around and where you were considered grown up enough to use a Bunsen burner – suddenly felt very comforting. For they spoke of the Christian belief and reassurance that God travels with us, as we travel with him wherever the next ‘step’ in life take us. Indeed, even ‘travelling with’ you if you get your science experiment so wrong that the entire science block has to be evacuated – we laugh about it now… 

To anyone then who is shortly to leave school, move schools or indeed take that ‘next step’ in life, I hope that the words of this well-loved hymn will provide you all with some hope, comfort and confidence as you go from the ‘old things to the new.’ For, as difficult as this time has been, as hard as it has been to not be able to mark these ‘next steps’ in the way we usually do, what never changes is exactly what this hymn proclaims. That wherever we go in life, God travels with us and we with him – helping us to discern the way forward and giving us the strength and courage to do so. And for all of us at the moment – whether we are taking a ‘next step’ or not - maybe some more words from this hymn can help and reassure us in these extraordinary times:

Give me courage when the world is rough, 
Keep me loving though the world is tough; 
Leap and sing in all I do,
Keep me travelling along with you: 

With every blessing,