Dear Friends and Neighbours,
Many clergy colleagues had to rip up well prepared sermons celebrating the birthday of the Church, that is, Pentecost or Whitsun. Less than two hours before the strike of that particular midnight, horrific events took place on the streets of London. This happened within days of the Manchester attack and just like '9/11' nearly sixteen years before, we were shocked to the core. Thoughts, prayers and a very deep sorrow were uppermost in our minds. When we think about the tales of twins knowing when their sibling is in some form of distress, even if they are not in the same room, perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised. We are part of the human family with all of its diversity and it is our spirituality, that sense of connection to something bigger than the individual, which bonds us.
Our General Election has suddenly changed the political landscape and as the weeks of campaigning evolved, the initial certainty that seemed to accompany the calling of the election diminished to the point that we have a very different feel to our government now. A friend put a cartoon on Facebook showing Winnie the Pooh taking a walk with Piglet, and the conversation went something along the following lines. "How did you vote?" said Pooh. "Cons" said Piglet. "I voted Labour" said Pooh. "Are we still friends?" said Piglet. "Yes...yes we're still friends." said Pooh. "Good" said Piglet. "Let's celebrate."
The joy of this nation that some wish to destroy is our habit, if not our desire, to understand difference and care for each other even if we are not in complete agreement with them. We are never asked who we voted for when visiting the doctor, the dentist or the hospital. A core member of the United Nations we try, both in word and in deed, to defend our ability and the ability of others to safeguard the dignity of everyone on this amazing planet of ours. We do this as part of a group and the more members we have in agreement the greater the chance for things to improve. A number of medical journals have published articles on the positive difference that prayer can make to people.
Much of the research for these articles is based on teams of people praying for individuals. Likewise, while serving with the RNLI I never found an atheist on a sinking ship. There is no doubt that we are living in a world with a lot going on. There is also no doubt that prayer can be a force for good. Just as a number of people have given up on the ballot box and will be surprised at the influence of young voters on the General Election result, people who have never prayed before are often surprised when prayers are answered.
We have a number of opportunities to gather for prayer throughout the year and our editors kindly include these times in our parish magazines. Just as the weight of numbers makes a difference to the work of the United Nations so too, when we gather in prayer, we can and do make a difference. In 1914 Lord Kitchener had a famous poster which has a certain similarity to the hand used in adverts for the National Lottery, its catchphrase was "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU". Given all that is happening in this beautiful nation of ours I have to say that the same is true of your prayers today, and I invite you to join us at any of our services in church, or at the Vicarage on a Wednesday evening.
With best wishes and prayers
If you have anything that you would like our village prayer group to pray for please telephone 790088 or