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Editor's reflection: 2020

by Marcus Jones

My family and friends used to love playing the board game Pandemic.

Competing as a team, the goal is to stop a global outbreak of a deadly virus.

We've not played it in 2020.

I'm writing today from my daughter's bedroom, which has become a makeshift office for the past nine months. While it's been a particularly tough year, I've not had it nearly as bad as others.

It's been more than an inconvenience but I'm still blessed with good health, a job I love and I haven't lost anyone this year.

Reporting the news this year has been particularly challenging.

Journalists do become desensitised to the horror they have to report on week in week out: war, terror attacks, child abuse. But the daily nature of the death updates as a result of coronavirus this year have become an all too grim reminder of just how bad it has got in 2020.

We got used to the daily briefings with the now famous Prof Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance (and my personal favourite Jonathan Van-Tam); we got used to the regular polling which told us how isolated and alone people were feeling; we got used to seeing the faces of the NHS workers who died saving the lives of others.

But the one joy, in amongst all this sadness was getting the opportunity to shine a light on the great work churches and individuals were doing across the country to serve their communities.

I loved talking with the Barry family about the free fruit and veg stall they set up outside their house. 

I enjoyed hearing the story of Pastor Matthew Murray who took on the role of pizza delivery driver in order to serve the people in his town.

I was humbled to read of the work of Rev David Southall who took messages to Covid sufferers from families who were prevented from seeing them.

These weren't isolated stories, every day we were hearing of new projects being set up by those who saw a need and rushed to meet it. The salt and light that Jesus called us to be.

Here at Premier, we're committed to putting the spotlight onto these groups and individuals. Not because they are any better than anyone else, but we want to inspire other and show the world what it means to love our neighbour.

I long to report on more stories like this. With the vaccine roll out on the horizon, the Church could retreat back into a shell, but sharing the love of God isn't a seasonal thing. 2021 provides new opportunities. Here's to the Church bringing light to a post-Covid world.

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