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Pastoral Letter - November 2016

  • Last Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2016 15:42
  • Written by All Saints Admin
  • 27 Nov

Dear Friends,

I have been struck this week by two conversations I have had about the way we remember. The first was about the emphasis of Remembrance Day. While the focus is understandably on the many lives that have been lost in conflict through the years, it is important to remember those lived through conflict and stand beside us on Remembrance Sunday. For their memories remain with them vividly however many years have passed. Some are able to speak of their experiences, what they witnessed, what they know; others are not. 

The other conversation was also about remembering the living in a different context; those who have been members of our church family– often faithful members for many years – who for reasons of frailty, disability, illness or residential care are unable to be present in our worship and church life. It is sometimes the case that as the years pass and a new incumbent begins ministry these folk are remembered only by the few who were their friends.

It has been suggested that at the beginning of a service we light a candle for all those who have been part of our church family but are now no longer worshipping with us. Perhaps during our Remembrance Day services we do the same – to remember those who have lived through conflict and still carry those memories today; whose names are not recorded or read out but for whom such remembrance carries its own significance.

Last week I was also in conversation with members of our wider community to begin plans for Holocaust Memorial Day 2017. The theme for the day is “How can life go on?” This is not meant to be a negative statement of despair but a positive question seeking an answer, a question to direct our thoughts towards rebuilding lives and communities and cultures so that our future is different – more tolerant and hopeful with less segregation and suspicion. It is about remembering the living as well as the dead, but remembering in a way that honours all who suffered, and encourage those who come after us not to forget. This is the way we build a new and different future. How we learn to love and go on loving; to live with hope and courage and understanding; celebrating diversity.

We may well be living through times and events now which in the future will be remembered. The political scene in the UK in the wake of the referendum and Brexit; the Presidential campaign in the USA; the conflict in Syria, the continuing plight of refugees and war-torn communities. How we remember the past affects how we live now; and how we live now will affect how others remember in the future.

God told Moses “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” God is always now – I Am.

In this season of remembrance, may we not forget those who are still part of Today. May we bring to mind those whose memories of the past are vividly present; and those who are unable to make new memories; and take up the challenge of living now in a way that honours all.



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Pastoral Letter - October 2016

  • Last Updated: Sunday, 09 October 2016 19:56
  • Written by All Saints Admin
  • 09 Oct

Dear Friends,

I try to love autumn, but for me it heralds the end of long summer days full of light and freedom from coats and boots. I have always seen it as the beginning of the end and I don’t like endings.

Then someone reminded me that not everyone sees the shortening of light as an ending; some see it as the beginning. The Jewish religion celebrates its Sabbath, beginning on Friday evening, as this for the Jewish people is the start of the new day. A new day that begins with the darkness and ends with the light. For me, autumn is the evening of the year, so can I see it in this same sense as the beginning of the new cycle of life? A cycle that asks us to let go with the trees of all that no longer serves us?, to relax our branches just as the trees do every evening and rest?

Maybe I can. Maybe now that all the work of fruiting and harvest is done for this year, it is time to rest, to breathe, to recognize our ebb and flow, to allow the earth to re-nourish us without expending all our energies.

The earth itself needs rest from producing, from constantly giving of itself, as do we.

So may this time of recreation be a time of re-creation where we discover within us the gratitude for all that this planet gives of itself and think of it in those words spoken by Jesus on God’s behalf, “This is my body given for you,” says God, “This is my blood shed for you take and eat that you may have life”

For the life of this planet is the expression of divine consciousness that shares our life and our seasons. Autumn is a time of allowing the wonder of this natural world to speak deeply of life. Of letting go into the fertile dark earth to wait for the first signs of replenishment and new birth, the true ending which is filled with light.

Rev Bev


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Photo Credit: //">Niall McAuley via Compfight cc

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