I wonder if you are daring to look forward to what the next year might bring. I wonder if you are formulating resolutions that might shape your experience of 2024. Wherever those resolutions are fixed – the gym, smaller trousers, mindfulness apps, a little less gin – I wish you well, but I am going to take my opportunity while I have your attention to encourage you in a new direction.

One of the most insidious and life-inhibiting features of our modern human existence is right underneath our noses – loneliness. Teddington, London, the western world – so much loneliness and personal isolation whilst in close proximity to so many other humans. Christian teaching speaks of living in constant fellowship so that we may refine our lives on the example of Christ. In community (or ‘communion' as we might refer to it in church), we support and sustain, encounter and engage – and it is life-giving.

We are better in community (yes, whilst also valuing alone-ness from time to time), but so many around us feel entirely cut off. This year, when you resolve to become the new and better ‘you’ (and I thought you were great already), resolve to give some of that to those who may find themselves lonely in 2024 (though be careful, lonely people often appear among us as very busy people). There are fewer greater gifts than a little company. Happy New Year to you all.


Rev. David Cloake