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  • Andrew Frere-Smith

Sometimes during lockdown my house has felt like a prison.

Having a home is a great blessing. But over the last year of the pandemic there have been times when my home has felt a bit like a prison in which I am locked in and all the people I care about are locked out. Even though I fully support the need for restrictions and know they are important and needed, they have made me feel very isolated at times. It has given me just a small insight into how life is for people who feel lonely and imprisoned in their homes for a variety of reasons: disability, limited access to technology or internet, mental illness, lack of friends or family nearby, no transport to name just a few.


For me, with all the resources and privileges I do have it has challenged me to rethink my perception. It has reminded me of the saying:

“When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher wall.”

Of course at the moment, it isn’t possible to literally invite people to come and eat with me. But I have been challenged to allow this saying to shape my attitude. Instead of allowing myself to be confined by the walls, I am concentrating on thanking God for the doors and windows, which allow me to still wave and smile to the people who walk past. Instead of believing that all options are closed down by Covid-19, I am looking for the opportunities I do have to connect with people and encourage them, perhaps in new ways like Zoom, or even in some of the old, neglected ways like phonecalls and letters. It is a great encouragement to be working with churches across the borough to set up the new ‘Two’s Company’ telephone befriending service to reach through the walls into the lives of people who are feeling alone. As Amanda Gorman said so eloquently in her poem at Biden’s inauguration: “And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us.”


God has modelled this for us. He didn’t allow even the problem of human rejection and rebellion to be a barrier between us and Him, but broke down the wall as He came and lived on earth among us in Jesus. He extended His table so that anyone who wants to can come and eat with Him.


Will you join me in thanking God for the windows, lifting your gaze, and extending your table?



Anna Heydon

Imagine Norfolk Together, Great Yarmouth

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Imagine Norfolk Together is registered with the charity commission of England and Wales as 'Together Norfolk'

Charity number 1166382

Diocese of Norwich, Diocesan House,

109 Dereham Road,  Easton,  NORWICH  NR9 5ES

Andrew Frere-Smith 07949 964932  

Anna Heydon 07471 357072

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