BROAD TOWN LOCKDOWN NEWSLETTER - JULY 2020
On Difference and Connection July 2020
I’m writing this on the summer solstice, I find myself pondering the friends and colleagues I know and have known for whom pagan or other new age spiritualities were a route to an encounter with the divine. I muse on how far away western Christians have come from an understanding of the care and beauty of creation and how much I have to learn from those whose commitment to a care for the environment has very different roots.
I’m writing this while preparing food and marinades for a socially distant braai (barbecue) for my sister Tanvir’s birthday for whom a Buddhist practice has been life giving and life changing. At the same time, I listened to my son, Stephen Bush* talking about his engagement with his Jewish heritage as Chair of the Commission into Racial Inclusivity launched by the Board of Deputies of British Jews. This is a response to the issues around ‘Black Lives Matter’. The day before I was both laughing and sighing chatting (online) with an East End friend, Nora who is a practising Muslim. We were talking not of faith, but of friendship remembering a mutual friend who died and whom we both miss deeply.
My Christian faith in Jesus remains essential to me, otherwise I could not live by it. It is core to how I pray and worship, to the way I allow myself to be challenged by God to learn as his disciple to grow and flourish as a human being. Difference in others does not threaten or diminish my faith; in fact, as I engage in thought, action and prayer it strengthens it. I am always willing to talk about my faith – mostly I seek to earn the trust of others and wait to be asked before I do so.
Friendship, love and engagement with Buddhists, Jews, Muslims and pagans, with people from different ethnic, community, class and experience - all those whose lives and beliefs are very different to mine is part of how I learn to love my neighbour.
And key to this is learning. I have more than once had conversations with people since I came to Wiltshire tell me that there aren’t any people who are different in these ways here, but I have learned that this is not true. I have met and chatted with Jews and Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs, Travellers and Black and other minority ethnic people who are part of the communities I serve. I still have much to learn.
If I hear ‘Black Lives Matter’ then there is wisdom in finding someone who is Black whether in person or in writing to explain this before I respond. This is especially true if my first response is to disagree or feel negative – then it is especially likely that prejudice rather than wisdom has hold of me. It isn’t wise for me to trust in a children’s story (Rumer Godden’s The Diddakoi published in 1972) as the basis for my understanding of Romany communities today, even if it was a book and a TV programme that began my awareness of Traveller communities. It isn’t even enough for me to rely on my own experiences. In much the same way I continue to learn, read, study and pray to develop and deepen my own faith and identity.
And why do I do this? Rather like the deliciousness of the food which includes ingredients from across the planet (tea, lemons, chilli, peppers, olives), my life as a human being is enriched and more delightful when I grow through friendship and engagement with people from very different places spiritually and culturally than my own.
Our next collection for the Royal Wootton Basset and surrounding villages Satellite Foodbank will be on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th July at the Village Hall – 9 am to 5pm.
Following our recent collection in June, we received a letter of thanks from the Food Collective Manager, Cher Smith MBE, which included the following: -
“........ families with children are amongst the hardest hit by the crisis and are now in serious financial difficulty or struggling to make ends meet”
“........ your support, kindness and generosity are very much appreciated and helps us enormously”
FACE COVERINGS - made by B.T. ladies for B. T. Villagers.
These are still available for a donation to the Alzheimer’s Society and can be obtained by phoning; 731076 or 731092 or 731564.
** PLEASE NOTE – IF you attend an appointment at either of the RWB G. P. Surgeries you are now requested to wear your own face covering.
CHURCH PRAYER SPACE
Although Broad Town Church is closed, our beautiful churchyard is open for everyone, to sit, contemplate, pray
or just find peace, alongside the Church building and the richness of the lives of the people who rest there.
If you choose to sit on the bench, please remember when you return home to wash your hands and to follow all other advice from the government
and public health organisations to reduce your own risk. You may also wish to take your own hand sanitiser with you.
BROAD TOWN PARISH COUNCIL UPDATE
The Parish Council met in June via Zoom and we would like to share the following updates from our meeting and also some useful information from Wiltshire Council.
Parish Council Meeting
This is the time of year when we review our Internal Audit report and also submit our Annual Return and Annual Governance Statement. The Audit is conducted by a professionally qualified third party who reviews how we are operating in all areas and submits a detailed report on their findings back to the Council which we discussed at our meeting. We are delighted to say that the report was very positive, and this has enabled us to submit an Annual Return and Annual Governance Statement that shows we are operating in line with local government guidelines in all areas.
Whilst we are all enjoying the gradual relaxation of lockdown measures, we need to remind everyone that the Playground equipment at Redhills remains closed off in line with the current government guidelines. There are signs communicating this at the Playground and we would ask that you follow that advice. As soon as we are told that Playgrounds can be reopened, we will do so and let you know. Many thanks for your understanding and support on this health and safety matter.
The Good Energy Community Fund would normally review grant applications from community groups in September. However, if there are any local community groups who have an immediate need for a grant, particularly if that is related to the current COVID-19 situation, then please do contact the Parish Clerk as we would be happy to consider your application before then if needed.
Wiltshire Council Updates
Household recycling centres – online booking system: Online bookings have now opened for trips to household recycling centres (HRCs), so people can now book a visit to any of Wiltshire’s 10 HRCs, up to three days in advance. As of Monday 8 June, people can only visit a HRC with a pre-booked slot; anyone who turns up without a booking will not be allowed to access the site. There are around 10,000 available booking slots across the 10 sites each week, and new slots are added every 15 minutes over the working day, so people should have plenty of opportunities to visit any site of their choosing. To find out more about the new booking system, please read Wiltshire Council’s FAQs, or make a booking online at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/household-recycling-centres-book.
Time to renew your garden waste collections: Households that pay to receive garden waste collections will receive an email or letter this week inviting them to renew their subscription by 14 August. New customers can also sign up to receive this service. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, garden waste collection renewals were delayed this year, but customers now need to renew their garden waste subscription if they wish to continue to receive the service. The cost of having garden waste collected will be £50 per bin for the year. Current garden waste subscriptions were due to expire on 30 June 2020, but customers should continue to present their bin to be emptied on their usual collection day with their current 2019-2020 red sticker until they receive a new one. Garden waste bins displaying a red 2019/20 bin sticker will continue to be emptied until 31 August. When you renew, you will be sent a letter within three weeks, containing a new garden waste bin sticker. You can renew or sign up for garden waste collections at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/gardenwaste You don’t need to contact them if they do not wish to renew.
100 CLUB DRAW
These draws and the one for June have now all been drawn, and I’m delighted to announce that the winners are as follows: