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Canon David Shaw: Five things I've LEARNED from lockdown

Canon David Shaw: Five things I've LEARNED from lockdown

Friday 21 August 2020

Canon David Shaw: Five things I've LEARNED from lockdown

Canon David Shaw recently made the news for providing a home for the ashes of a couple whose casket was discovered in an old shed.

The Rector of St. Clement’s Parish Church and St. Nicholas at Greve d’Azette stepped up when Bailiwick Express reported that a couple had found the casket when clearing out an outbuilding of their newly acquired farmhouse.

The casket now sits in the 'Angel Tomb', which has just been restored in the churchyard at the parish hall. Officially called a 'columbarium', where islanders can rent a space for the ashes of their loved ones, the tomb is the first of its type in Jersey.

Lockdown for the Church of England came just before Mothering Sunday with instructions to close the doors and stop having church services, apart from small funerals and the occasional small wedding.

St Clement's Church.jpg

Pictured: We have a beautiful meadow that doubles up as a place of worship.

Here, Canon Shaw reflects here on the five things he has appreciated and learned during lockdown...

1. The Meadow

We have a beautiful meadow churchyard with lots of trees, hedges and daffodils. When lockdown came we managed to get special permission for an outdoor service for Mothering Sunday and invited people to pick as many daffodils as they could to take to neighbours.

Over the months the daffodils have been replaced by wild flower patches and the next time we were allowed back was Fathers’ Day so we held it in the meadow, as we now do every week – unless it is raining. 


Picture: Our monthly clergy breakfast turned into a Zoom meeting.

2. Fellow clergy

Every month the clergy in the East of the island have a breakfast to share ideas and all the usual joys and frustrations of church leadership. Lockdown changed this to a weekly Zoom which was really helpful particularly in the first few weeks.

church pews.jpg

Pictured: We have a new congregation that want to worship but are unable or unwilling to sit in church.

3. Congregations

Once we were allowed back it became clear that things had changed for the foreseeable future. We now had a new “home church congregation ” consisting of those who were unable to attend due to age or health plus a much bigger new group who are really concerned about any meeting in public until there is a vaccine.

This is a really important new congregation who we email and post to every week.  

applause hands clapping

Pictured: For Canon Shaw, the clap for carers gesture was personally important.

4. Carers

With two children working in busy Covid wards in London the “clap for carers” was personally important. Church bells, Over the Rainbow at top volume or just clapping or banging pans with neighbours and this led to an impromptu mini street party on Liberation Day.    


Pictured: St. Ouen's Bay became a source of calm during lockdown.

5. Calm

For most of us the return to near normality has been welcome and the stopping has come at a huge cost but there was something special about clear skies and roads and diaries emptied of meetings and events and maybe this is a sixth item -  but happy memories of long walks at St. Ouen’s, preferably with an ice cream.

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