Monthly Letter

1st March 2024 by Chris Prior, Lay Minister

I have spent quite a lot of time recently learning new things and visiting new places. I have learnt a whole load of new TLAs (3 letter acronyms – abbreviations for long convoluted phrases that are equally unintelligible). I have visited places I never knew existed and learnt about machines that have equally bizarre names. All thanks to the NHS.

I thought my time of learning was passed – school was a long time ago. College almost as long. Work ceased some 7 years ago. So why do I still need to learn new things?

Covid brought about a first batch of learning new skills. We decided to produce podcasts as we couldn’t meet in person to hold church services. Then we moved on to producing a few videos. I had to learn computer skills for sound recording and then video recording and editing. We even tried a live broadcast (another new software tool to learn) but that was not so successful.

Since then, things have been a bit quieter but I must admit I have tried to learn some more new skills for CAD work and even heat analysis (joys of a cold church!!). So much for thinking that the time of learning was past. Then I remembered that someone once said that if you fail to keep learning you are probably moving backwards.

My learning has tended to be about things – computers and the like. What I am less likely to do is to learn about people. That requires interacting with others – and I find that more challenging. I hope that our Lent series this year will help me overcome that reluctance. It is about a film, the Old Oak, and involves the interaction between a group of refugees and a former mining community. Whilst I have yet to see this film, I hope I can learn about the way we can manage ignorance and prejudice in the way we interact with others we are less familiar with. On the way, I expect I will learn more about myself as well. That cannot be a bad thing (although I may be unhappy about some of the things I find along that way!)

This seems to me to be a good Lenten discipline to be embraced along with the challenges the NHS is likely to throw at me over the next few months.

I hope you can find something to learn about over the next few weeks – whether it’s a new skill or to find out about people or places you are unfamiliar with. You may find out more about yourself. You may even want to find out more about God and where (s)he fits in your life. The opportunities are there. You just need to embrace them.