Simeon the Stylite (who died on 2 September 459 aged 68) was a big fan of self isolation. He spent 37 years alone on a platform one metre square, at the top of a pillar 50 feet high in Telanissa (modern-day Taladah in Syria). Boys from the nearby village would pass him parcels of bread and goats’ milk and he spent the days praying and talking to visitors brave enough to climb the ladder.
We may consider Simeon’s self-imposed asceticism as eccentric but it is said his preaching ‘conveyed temperance and compassion and was marked with common sense and freedom from fanaticism.’ Perhaps Simeon’s isolation meant he discovered truths impossible to acquire in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
While we all wish for a swift end to these unprecedented times, we would do well to see such trying circumstances as an opportunity to learn important lessons about ourselves – and in so doing experience the grace of God anew (see James 1:2). In turn, we will become a richer blessing to others.
As a team, we’ve practised intense social isolation since taking over CRE four years ago! None of us lives within 40 miles of the other and, working from home, we use all methods of electronic communication currently available to us. However, we are well aware that for many individuals and organisations it is a very different story. The Coronavirus crisis has put many endeavours at serious risk, long-term. We expect CRE National 2020 (13-15 October, Sandown Park, Surrey) to go ahead as normal, but we are reviewing the situation on a daily basis and expect to make a final decision sometime in June.
Whatever happens, CRE will stay in business – whether our next exhibition is at Sandown Park in October, or at Westpoint, Exeter, on 17-18 March 2021.
It’s been encouraging to see several of our exhibitors going out of their way to help local churches in these extraordinary times. Novum AV and Church Edit, for example, have introduced special facilities to enable churches to communicate more effectively, by way of improved websites and broadcasting services. We will be publicising similar initiatives over the next few weeks – so check back often!
In conclusion, we would like to thank you again for your continued support. We are especially mindful of people attempting to work from home who have young children around their legs and, like Simeon the Stylite, are also going up the pole!
With every blessing
Christian Resources Exhibitions Ltd