Reverend Dave Gough, the Dean of Bassetlaw and Bawrty, described how in 2020 many had taken time to rethink their lives while forced to stay home due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Father-of-two Dave said it was important to recognise that ‘sometimes we just don’t have to try and do everything’.
He added: “Spending some quiet time in the garden is something we should try and hold onto.”
Dave, who was previously the Dean of Attercliffe in Sheffield, told how 2020 had been an ‘interesting year’ which had ‘brought the church out of its buildings’ and onto social media.
When churches were forced to close during the pandemic St Anne’s Church, where Dave is based, was one of many to begin streaming services for parishioners.
And he and others kept themselves busy by phoning lonely members of the community and delivering food and prescriptions.
This Christmas has seen some return to normality with reduced numbers for candle-light services, outdoor nativity parades and carol singing.
However Dave added there were some in the community who relied on church groups and services for friendship who would have suffered.
He said: “We’ve tried very hard to make sure we kept in touch with our parishioners but it hasn’t been the same.
“People find companionship with fellow believers and we’ve tried to make sure that people haven’t fallen off the edge but there have inevitably been some.
“One of the things that the church really helps with is community group activities and there have been many such as meet and eat for the elderly that we’ve not been able to run.”
Sadly, Rev Gough said he had seen an increase in people coming forward with mental health problems since the pandemic began.
He said: “One of the big things we’re going to be thinking about is how do we respond to the other side of coronavirus - mental health issues will be a long-term problem.
“But I’d like to think the church can help with that - faith, for me, and for many people is one of the things we can cling onto.
“It brings a lot of comfort and I think the church has something to offer.
“My faith helps me to cling onto the simple things in life - even when I’m feeling lonely or on my own there’s a God walking alongside me.
“There’s a lot of hope in Christianity and hope runs through the story of the Christian message.”
Although Dave, 49, added ‘that’s not to say there won’t be a huge amount of suffering’ he said: “My parishioners have told me their faith has helped them through.
“The church and God can be a huge source of comfort and I genuinely feel a great sense of hope about the year ahead.”
Rev Gough has been the vicar at St Anne’s for three-and-half years and Area Dean for Bassetlaw and Bawtry for one-and-a-half years.
In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.