Latest Rector’s Letter

My dear friends,
This time last year, I was nearly ready to run the London Marathon. I had only been running for a couple of years – it all began with the Couch to 5k programme, and having done that I just carried on, and completed my first half-marathon of 13.1 miles six months later. I think I might have overdone it a little as I could hardly walk for a week afterwards, and had to tackle the stairs sideways!
It was a huge step up from there to a full marathon – having to be able to run a very long distance week in, week out. It hurt! And because I am quite slow, it was very boring to spend 4 hours each weekend running the Middlewood Way between Macclesfield and Marple and back. I knew every bridge, tree and mile marker – and since that marathon was cancelled I have never been back there.
In some ways, it feels as though one marathon has just been swapped for another during this last year. It has been a very long year to endure, and has been painful in places, hard to cope with. We have had excitement as well as disappointment, sometimes cresting a hill only to see another long stretch emerging which we have to get through. At about 20 miles into a marathon, there is a time when you ‘hit the wall’, where your body completely runs out of the energy which is
stored in your muscles. This is where you see people literally crawling forwards. In fact, when you are training for your first marathon the wisdom is that you never practise that last 6.2 miles, because you don’t really have what it takes to get through it. What will get you through on the day is the cheers of the supporters encouraging you, and telling you that you can do it. I am going to give it another try this October, and am already organizing the support team!
I think that a lot of people have hit the ‘wall’ stage in the last couple of months of lockdown. It is absolutely wonderful that there is now an end in sight with the gradual easing plans that have been unveiled, and the hope of a return to some kind of normality. I hope that it doesn’t turn out to be a false dawn, but if it does, let us remember that in Christ we can endure anything. Paul rejoiced in his trials, telling the church in Rome that from endurance flowed character, and from character, hope. And while we continue to run this race, let us keep on encouraging one another in love.
We can do it!
PS – Marathon runners also need plenty of cake.