Remember to enjoy your day of rest

CHURCH LEADER Canon John Draper, with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage
CHURCH LEADER Canon John Draper, with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage
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Canon John Draper, rector of St Mary’s Church, in Rowner, hopes that despite the change in law people can still enjoy a day of rest

The Government has recently announced that it is going to let local councils decide when shops and businesses should open at weekends.

This will mean that, potentially, we will have access to everything and anything seven days of the week.

As a Christian, I firmly believe that we are all entitled to have a day of rest.

After all, God made the world in six days and ordered that the seventh day should be taken as rest.

Traditionally, the Sabbath, or day of rest, has been devoted to the family and the church, but this has already changed dramatically and could change further still.

Already, supermarkets and some other shops are allowed to open for a certain number of hours and we constantly hear of people who have to work on a Sunday.

This means the traditional weekend landscape has been changed dramatically, and that families can struggle to find time to spend weekends together.

As a consequence this is having a huge effect on family life and church life too.

Before we would see families coming to church every week as a whole unit, now spasmodic attendance is quite often the new norm at a Sunday service.

If families do not have time together to relax and enjoy each other, then this is obviously going to change the character of the family.

If families are restricted in the time that they can go to church, this will affect their Christian life as well as the life of the whole church family.

For us as a family, the climax to our week is sitting down to enjoy a traditional Sunday lunch.

We feel sad when somebody has to work or be absent because of another pressing commitments on a Sunday and we see this becoming more apparent in more and more families.

Some 20 years ago, the Government relaxed Sunday trading laws and also allowed full sporting activities to take place on a Sunday.

Since then, this has provided several clashes of commitment in family life, leading to the family unit spending less time together.

My fear is that the new proposals will grind away further at the day of rest.

The best day of rest for me is spent worshipping with the congregation here at Rowner and I encourage more people to enjoy their day of rest.

I hope that your days of rest can be peaceful and relaxed, even if they can’t always happen on a Sunday.

To find out more about St Mary’s Church, in Rowner visit: