Richard Bromley 

There is something quietly disturbing about being out of synchronization.  It is when you are watching something on television and the audio is not quite timed with the video, so the voices are not synced to the lips.  It is a little thing, but it is really annoying.  Or the moment you try to change gear and you haven’t quite got it right and you crunch them terribly, much to the amusement of people around you.  That moment when you are cooking and everything comes together at the wrong time causing a moment of chaos and panic! 

You don’t plan to be out of sync, it just happens and then you become aware of it with a sense of panic, confusion or just a slight dis-ease.

At the moment we are out of sync.  The COVID crisis is affecting places where we are ministering at different times, in different ways and with different responses.  This would not matter except when on a call or a zoom meeting with people from various regions you realise, we are out of sync. 

In the UK we may be feeling excited to be unlocking and watching the figures go down, whereas on mainland Europe, on exactly the same day they are moving into a tighter lockdown.  In North Africa, the impact has felt less and they are frustrated with our lack of willingness to travel.  In Thailand, things have not been bad at all until recently.  We are curating a network of mission partners, chaplains, churches that are linked with us and diocesan partners who are all experiencing COVID at a different rate with a different impact on the ministry.

What it means for us is sensitivity is needed.  I need to listen before speaking and put aside my sense of where we are at in England at this point and listen to the experience of those I serve across Europe.  It grates on them if I am jubilant and they are struggling.  

There has been too much comparing how one nation is doing against the other and as time has gone by we become aware of how interdependent we are on each other and this is not sorted until it is sorted for all.  That is our prayer, that is our hope.