Hope for 2021


2020 was hard. It’s important to lament all that was lost – livelihoods, lives, opportunities – but as we begin a new year, we can look forward with hope, says Rev Abi Todd of Holy Trinity Church, South Woodford

As we begin a new year, the losses won’t disappear, but we do have the chance to look forward with hope, spotting goodness and beauty where we can. Here are some reasons for hope in 2021.

  1. The days are getting longer. It might still be cold and grey, but there is a little more light every day to wake up to.
  2. South Woodford is brilliant. We live in a wonderfully diverse area, with great shops, cafés, schools and community spirit. Let’s continue to build that sense of community this year, and not lose sight of the neighbourliness that marked 2020.
  3. Vaccines are here. While it will take some time for all of us to be vaccinated, it’s wonderful news that those who have been shielding for many months, and those who have been separated from loved ones in care homes, will be helped first.
  4. Coffee is good for you! Everything in moderation, but for most people, coffee has wide-ranging health benefits. Why not make this the excuse you need for a trip to a SoWo café? Pour me another cup!
  5. We can start afresh every day. Each morning is a new chance to stay hopeful, to live in love and to practise kindness. If you feel like you’re failing with your New Year’s resolutions already (I can relate!), pare them back and start again. As Dory says: “Just keep swimming!”
  6. Tree planting is happening. Planting trees is a simple yet effective way of improving the environment for everyone, and I’m really excited about the community orchard that is planned locally. Contact the South Woodford Society to get involved.
  7. There is beauty in the everyday. Young children are great at enjoying the small things. Beauty can be found in a spider’s web, the curve on concrete, the smile of a stranger. Let’s cultivate a childlike wonder and celebrate beauty wherever we see it.
  8. There are a lot of good people around us. 2020 was the year Mutual Aid groups started, foodbanks helped more people than ever, and charities continued their important work. While we can pray for a day when they are not needed, let’s rejoice that so many care and are making a difference.
  9. You are valuable. The world wouldn’t be the same without you! You are special and unique. Your contribution to life is needed.

The Bible says that our hope can be an “anchor for the soul, sure and steadfast”. Even when life is stormy, if we are anchored in hope, we won’t drift too far. Have a happy, hopeful New Year and all best wishes for 2021.

To contact Abi, email abi@asww.org.uk or visit htsw.org.uk