John Hare writes ... On the day I am writing this our Rector, Kevan McCormack, has been on convalescent leave for six weeks. When you read it we all hope he will be back in harness. It’s often said that it’s good for a parish to be without its rector or vicar from time to time. When we all step in to share out his work and keep the parish running, we realise just how much of the load falls on his shoulders. As retired clergy, Peter Wintgens and I have been struck by the number of funerals we have been asked to take. Bereavement ministry is a large part of Kevan’s work and an important service that the Church offers to the whole community. On the surface funerals all look the same, but in reality they are all very different, each one tailored to the needs of the family and friends of the person who has died. Kevan has a wonderful gift for this. Change all around us Inevitably, though, funeral hymns are often the same. I’m getting used to singing ‘Abide with me’. I think I shall miss it when Kevan returns! One line of it sticks in my mind: ‘Change and decay in all around I see.’ We are certainly seeing change around us and we’re going to see more – in the world, in our country, and in the Churches. Whether or not we regard what is happening as decay or progress is for each of us a personal opinion, but we can all agree there is and will be change; and change is unsettling. At each funeral, at the head of the coffin, a single candle burns. At this time of the year it’s well down and looking the worse for wear, and non-churchgoers may wonder why we don’t replace it with a new one. But we shouldn’t do so, for this is the Easter Candle, lit before all others at the start of the Easter Services. It symbolises the Risen Christ, the Light of the World. It burns at every Funeral and Baptism until the next Easter. On Easter Morning Kevan will bless a new candle, with these words: Christ, yesterday and today; the beginning and the end; Alpha and Omega; All time belongs to him; And all ages; To him be glory and power; Through every age and forever. Some things just don’t change! The Revd Dr John Hare Assistant Priest Christ, yesterday and today; the beginning and the end; Alpha and Omega; All time belongs to him; And all ages; To him be glory and power; Through every age and forever.