We had hoped that arriving in Iper at Armistice would be both memorable and eventful. In the end, with lockdowns in both the UK and Belgium, it was memorable for the wrong reasons and there were none of the usual well-attended public events. A sole bugler played the Last Post at the Menin Gate and four brave bell ringers rang at St George’s. Earlier on Armistice Day I was privileged to help lead a streamed service from Talbot House in Poperinge with an act of Remembrance and the lighting of the TocH lamp. If you missed them and are interested you should be able to find them online.
Necessarily contact with the congregation of St George’s has been limited to email, telephone and Zoom – which at least helps put faces to the names. Still we are grateful for the welcomes that we have had and for the help and assistance that has come our way (you know who you are!) to help us settle in. Even the necessary admin like getting a Residency Card and a Bank account is proving to take much longer than usual. As in the UK there is uncertainty about whether the lockdown will be ended in December and any Christmas Services will be possible.
The new house – a large town house 200 metres up the street from the Church, is getting sorted slowly as boxes are unpacked and we find places for all the stuff we couldn’t throw away before the move! It’s a nice house, with room for visitors – but getting used to town noise after rural Sedbergh might take a little time.
Thanks to all who wished us well as we arrived in Ieper. We look forward to getting to know you when we can and discovering together how St George’s can be a place of remembrance but also of healing reconciliation and peace. Please pray for us, as we shall for you.
Padre Andrew and Lorraine McMullon