Minister's letter

A message

 

from Val Slade
 

(Licensed Lay Minister)
 

 

 

Caring for others

 

I wonder what hospitality means for you. For me, it is a reminder of childhood and weekly visits to family with my parents. We would always be greeted by the question, “Would you like a cup of tea?” With cuppa in hand, accompanied by freshly baked cakes, made especially for the occasion, we would make ourselves comfortable and catch up on all the news. The relatively simple task of making a drink for others brings joy both to the giver and the receiver. There can be immense satisfaction in the preparation of the drink and accompanying cake or biscuit, while the recipient feels loved and cared for, creating a long lasting and happy memory.

 

 

There have been many reports in the media about the impact of the pandemic on the hospitality industry. It does not always receive the recognition it deserves in its role providing all types of catering and accommodation. However, it is clear from the example of social hospitality described above, that hospitality is much more than an industry. It can also be underpinned by faith, resulting in many practical activities being provided to support people with different needs.

 

Lockdown restrictions brought all these activities to a sudden halt causing the potential for a humanitarian crisis. Families no longer had contact with each other; the hospitality industry was at risk of total failure, while people who relied on activities supported by their local churches found the doors had to be closed. Society found a way to overcome such adversity; neighbourhoods worked together to create shopping schemes, pubs and restaurants provided a take away service, food bank donations increased. The Fromeside Benefice embraced technology providing services online and expanding its pastoral support. Hospitality found a way to continue.

 

 

Hospitality has always had a relationship with faith. From a Christian perspective it is underpinned by Jesus’ teachings, especially to love our neighbour as we would want to be loved.  Peter, writing to those in exile explained this when he stated: “Be hospitable to one another without complaining” (1 Peter 4.9).

 

The part about not complaining might seem amusing to us today, but when Peter gave this advice, Christians lived in constant danger and fear of persecution from their oppressors.  People would have been displaced and homeless, requiring shelter, food and support. The practical application of this kind of hospitality would have been fraught with danger. As a country we are renowned for welcoming refugees, school history lessons teach about our response to evacuees during WW2, and we readily contribute to global disaster funds. All are fine examples of practical hospitality - long may these traditions continue.

 

 

 

 

Hospitality in the churches of the Fromeside Benefice has always been of great importance. Thankfully restrictions are easing and we can enjoy a return to refreshments at the end of our services and other gatherings. Today, I extend an invitation to you to come along to one of our services, to enjoy our hospitality, refreshments and fellowship – we are here for all ages.