The news today is of changing travel advice about travelling to Spain. It’s advice that seems to have changed about three times in three days, as new information comes to light about infection rates. Potential holidaymakers now seem to be altering their plans accordingly. British campsites now fully booked.
In Leicester, earlier this month, plans for easing the lockdown were thwarted by a rising local infection rate, and other towns and cities are now featuring on so called ‘watch lists’. The language we hear from Government is about handbrake turns. The story of the virus has no doubt got many, many twists and turns ahead. Sharp deviations and hairpin bends, or gentle curves, we will all have to be prepared again and again for rapid adjustment. Just when we felt it was a bit safer to get back into the water.
Our church plans are developing and you will know what is in line locally. We go forward in good faith, but remaining prepared to make the necessary and in some cases immediate changes to what we are planning. This is about being socially responsible and compliant, putting the health and safety of our community at the heart of our ambition to witness and worship as we have done for millennia.
However, coping with sudden change is difficult for many people. We know that people with autism, in particular, find change to routine or their environment a real challenge. Uncertainty can also breed a real sense of feeling unsafe, which can be a concept that is difficult to define, but is a sensation that can be keenly felt. This is not simply about being fearful of catching the virus and the attendant medical consequences. It’s also about inhabiting a world where the comfort of past arrangements or supportive relationships can no longer be relied upon. In this climate, those who are vulnerable or have been abused, can be frightened that their support systems or first aid posts are no longer there when they are needed. If we need to change course on our voyage of fresh post lockdown discovery, we may avoid the iceberg, but let’s leave room for catching those who may tumble overboard.