It was wonderful to see so many of you on Sunday morning, it is such a joy to begin a new term with a full church. There are so many exciting projects and events taking place in the next few months, I do hope you will be able to join us for some or all of them.
A huge ‘Thank you’ to everybody who was involved in the Fullers Brewery Open Day last Saturday, we met with lots of people, some new and many familiar, we offered information about forthcoming events and shared our vision for our Development project. One of our development aims is to raise the profile of the church in the local community, I think Saturday fulfilled our aims, it was a great success. Please remember that we are doing something similar at the Chiswick House Dog Show on Sunday 27th. September. If you can spare an hour after mass that would be much appreciated – bring the dog!
On a more somber note, please hold before God this great movement of people into Europe. Some say this is the greatest movement of displaced people since 1945. It goes without saying that this kind of movement places a huge strain on the receiving nations, on the infrastructure need to process and accommodate them and on those who are tasked or mandated to make difficult decisions and on those traveling who feel Europe offers them hope for a better life. They all deserve our prayers. Be assured that Fr Andrew and I hold this crisis before God at every Mass and every time we meet to pray together, I hope you will do them same.
On a more personal note, thank you so much for the many notes of comfort and assurance of prayer. I visited my Father on Sunday and it was immediately obvious that he needed to move to a more secure environment. I’m immensely grateful that his GP following a phone all on Sunday evening was able to arrange a hospice bed form him first thing on Monday morning.
The image of the poor little drowned refugee, three year old Aylan Kurdi being picked up by a policeman on the beach in the Turkish resort of Bodrum is one that will stay with me for a long time. His death, along with his brother and his mother is a tragedy for his father. I saw the little boy’s wet shoes which had a Velcro fastening and instantly thought of my kids – they have Velcro shoes because they can’t tie laces. How lucky our children are to be born in the prosperous west instead of a war-torn Middle Eastern country. Ayla’s legacy I think, is to jolt us all, to prick our consciences and make us more aware of our fellow men – our brothers and sisters. To try to act a bit more compassionately and to try to be a bit more welcoming, a bit more, dare I say it, Christian to those seeking a better life.
The Prime Minister has announced that as a country we will take an extra 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years. That works out at an average of about eleven a day over five years…I’m rather underwhelmed by our response to be quite honest… The little Englanders who complain about being swamped with a “swarm” should be able to sleep a little easier in their beds. There was a timely psalm in this mornings daily office: Psalm 72 which contains the lines “”For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life”. I wonder how we may best individually and collectively reach out to our brothers and sisters in their hour of need? As Baroness Cox reminded us when she was with us for Conversational Evensong a while back “We can’t do everything. But we must do something”. Offering a prayer is a good start.
With every blessing,