CW86: Sacraments of Kindness


By Revd Sue Pegg


I remember responding enthusiastically and positively to what was asked of me during my ordination service. ‘Do you believe you are called to a lifelong ministry of word and sacrament?’ I had no hesitation: ‘I do’. But that was nearly twenty years ago when no one could have predicted what was to happen in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With church buildings closed and lots of new health and safety regulations in place, celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion got a whole lot harder. And so it was I found myself five months into the pandemic not being able to celebrate the sacrament with any of the congregations I care for. I began to ponder what to do.

I remembered years ago being taught that the definition of a sacrament was an outer sign of an inner grace; God working through ordinary things, transforming them through grace and love, in order to spiritually feed his people.

Being a rural minister, it seemed obvious to look outwards to the beauty of creation as I prayed. That’s when I spotted our apple tree in the garden which had – for some unknown reason – this year produced an abundance of apples. Surely apples couldn’t become sacramental? I continued to think and pray.

My reflections turned to the concept of a ‘sacrament of kindness’. It seemed a bit bizarre, but then I’d come across many people during the pandemic who seemed to respond well to little acts of kindness. In the early weeks we’d developed a phone-a-friend initiative which had been well received and there’d been many little prayer cards shared with those experiencing difficulties.

But a Sacramental Apple Crumble? I thought again about those words which describe a sacrament as an outward sign of an inner grace and pondered the possibility that I might be offering more than just a tasty dish.

I began to bake, offering spiritual fruits of sacramental kindness made with love to those living alone, those who had health worries, and those, unable to see their families, who felt isolated.

And so the sacramental kindness continues. The pandemic might have come unexpectedly but each little gift of hope which brings a smile to a face shows me that God can work in very extraordinary, sacramental ways in these difficult days when it’s almost impossible to share bread and wine together.


This article first appeared in Country Way 86: Mental Health & Wellbeing, February 2021. Go to for more information about how to subscribe.