We have a vaccine! Rejoice and be merry – but not just yet! Christmas came and we celebrated the best we could under the circumstances. The year 2020 has gone, and will probably go down in history as a year we would wish to forget, even though it will be remembered for many different reasons. March (and again in November) saw the closure of our churches for the first time since the early 13th century. I was moved to read an article recently, from a priest who said:
‘When I closed and locked the doors of the church I knelt down in a pew and cried. People come hear to pray, to give thanks, to share their fears and their joys. But now the House of God is locked up and there are no services there…… I think of the day when I shall take the key and unlock the doors, and the people will come in again – and they will see that all along, the light was burning in the darkness. That God was there with us all the time’.
The perpetual Blessed Sanctuary lamp at S. Mary’s continues to burn in the darkness as a sign of the Presence of Our Lord, and in the knowledge that He has not deserted us, nor we Him.
Fr. Hope Patten was assistant curate here at S. Mary’s from 1919 to 1921. This month we celebrate the centenary of his appointment as Parish Priest of
S. Mary’s, Walsingham in Norfolk, where he became instrumental in restoring the Shrine of Our Lady. During his time in Buxted he worked closely with the nuns of The Community of The Blessed Virgin Mary; helping the homeless, and all those suffering as a result of the last pandemic – 1918-20. In those days there was no NHS, but one could imagine that after four years of war the local people were only too happy to ‘Clap for the Nuns’ who were working tirelessly to help relieve those suffering from ‘Spanish Flu’.
Due to the restrictions last month we were unable to sing our favourite Carols, only hum them through our masks. However, although we may not be at the end of this terrible pandemic, with a vaccine, we are, I feel sure, at the beginning of the end. I am reminded of the chorus from the Christmas Carol ‘God rest you merry Gentlemen’:
O tidings of comfort and joy,
comfort and joy!
O tidings of comfort and joy!
May Jesus Christ and the hope he brings, give you ‘comfort and joy’ in 2021.
Elizabeth Winifred Burditt
It is with sadness that we announce the death of Elizabeth Burditt on 8th December 2020, at the age of 99. Elizabeth had been a stalwart of S. Mary’s for many years and played an active part in Church life, the Walsingham Cell and the wider parish.
She will be sorely missed. May she rest in peace and rise in glory.
Elizabeth’s funeral will be held at S. Mary’s on Wednesday 6th January at 1.00 p.m.
However, at the time of writing it is anticipated that numbers attending will be limited. Please see the parish news letter for that week.