17/18 March 2023, 25 Adar 5783

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
….For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

from  Peace of Wild Things

       – Wendell Berry

So three years ago exactly as our world closed in, a group of our members asked for a morning service, an online shacharit (Hebrew for morning service). And so it began. Four days a week we created an online congregation. We saw it as an alternative to the Today programme and offered instead morning blessings, Shema, Psalms and alongside Dean’s voice, we wove in poetry to lift our spirits, to comfort and to offer the kavannah (direction of the heart) alongside traditional fixed liturgy, keva.

There were so many midwives to this project-Valerie Joseph, Bobbie Hood, Mandy Carr and Janet Tresman all lead the services now as well and Patricia Hinson writes new poetry for it. The words of this week’s portion Parashat Vayakhel – Pekudei talking of building and decorating the mishkan (sanctuary) capture something we did.

And every wise hearted person among you shall come and make everything the Eternal has commanded. Ex 35:10

And so this group did in building and beautifying our congregation. They built a community within a community and the skills of prayer and mindfulness have been honed and polished like precious materials and jewels mentioned in this portion.

We are only now tentatively making sense of what happened to us all during COVID, the loss, fear and changes we sustained. In some corners we built and grew and this is certainly one of them.

Join us for our anniversary service Tuesday 21st March 8.30am. (Please contact the office for the Zoom link)