The last year has been a disturbing year for our country and our planet – and that’s an understatement! We’ve had:-

  • Covid-19, in its various guises continuing. To counter that we’ve had an impressive vaccination programme which may well have to be renewed in 2022 as variants multiply. And regulations regarding our behaviour and travel have come and gone and come again. There has been much uncertainty about many aspects of the virus.
  • Then, there’s been the whole sorry saga of Afghanistan collapsing, with 20 years of so-called western progress, and values, simply falling away, leaving a nation and its people really on their own.
  • The ongoing plight of refugees, almost the world over, has continued with no form of relief in sight. People caught up in this are living in the most appalling conditions, with constant threat of further harassment and restriction. Someone showed me this little poem which was probably written in the 1930’s, another time of great people upheaval: –

“A person needs a little space, small as it may be, of which he can say,

This is mine, here I live,

here I love and find my rest.

This is my home.”

And then, there has been COP26; for the optimists a sign of real change, for the pessimists yet more ‘blah, blah, blah.’ I’m convinced that there has been a move forward on how to protect our beautiful world for our children and their children – so thanks be to God for this.

Many of us, through all this, will, I hope, have had some good and happy occasions. I know, that in my case, this was a lovely small family party with our children to celebrate a big birthday!

Recently, I’ve had to renew my training for Chaplains – yes, they, like Engineers, have to renew their skills particularly in safeguarding children and vulnerable people.

I embarked on this with a heavy heart; it was not easy!

Lastly, may I wish all members of our Company good health, good family time and stimulating activities in the days ahead. A New Year can be a time of great renewal of our spirits and there can be a great feeling of new hope – God who was, and is, stays in our hearts to lighten our days and works with us all for the care for our world.

With every blessing,

Revd. Peter Hartley,

Hon. Chaplain to the Worshipful Company of Engineers