From the Vicarage
BUILDING A COMMUNITY OF HOPE
As we finish this month’s article it is impossible to ignore the fact the EU has not very warmly accepted the UK Government’s Chequer’s Plan and no deal Brexit is still an option. Just across the pond in the United States, there is turmoil brewing amidst allegations against the Supreme Court Nominee – Justice Kavanaugh.
Both issues of Autonomy and Justice have throughout history provoked the spirit of “Tribalism”. From independence of colonies from the Empires to the Scottish referendum just four years ago to the Brexit vote nearly two years ago. Andrew Sullivan in New York Magazine (September 18, 2017) wrote about this spirit of “tribalism” in America that has produced an “increasingly dangerous dysfunction,” one that also plagues people around the western world.
To offer a remedy, Sullivan quotes Pope Francis. In Colombia, as a fragile peace agreement met public opposition, the Pope insisted that grudges be left behind, saying that, “All of us are necessary to create and form a society. This isn’t just done with the ‘pure-blooded’ ones, but rather with everyone. And here is where the greatness of the country lies, in that there is room for all and all are important.”
The coming together of Angle and Saxon in this land brought much fruit in many ways, as did the greater integration of the whole of our United Kingdom and Europe. The first question in the Westminster catechism is ‘What is the chief end of man?’ and the answer given is ‘The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ Yes, we trust God, we follow Him, we obey Him, we worship Him … but our main aim and purpose which we often forget is to enjoy God!
There’s something worrying when people cannot rejoice in their distinctiveness without building fences: have they been treated badly or is there a greed in not wanting to share their fruits with neighbours? The jury is still out (because you are still reading this…)
We, as St. James’ family have been working quietly, patiently over the past two years and have been dreaming of how we can create an oasis of Hope in Mere Green – where people can find welcome and through intergenerational learning none shall feel isolated and lonely. We are a long way from realising this dream, but through the goodwill of the Mere Green Community, and our outstanding partner organisations we are launching ‘Hope for Sutton Project ’ on Thursday 4th October between 12 noon and 2pm.
Bishop David Urquhart will be talking to the partner organisations and we will be blessed by a brand-new song written by our own Mr. Andrew Clayton, Director of Music and performed by an augmented Children’s Choir from Mere Green Primary, Moor Hall and Little Sutton schools. For more details please feel free to contact our church office.
Autumn brings to mind several things by which we are blessed: fruit of the trees as well as fruit of the soil – not to mention the ever-present fruit of the seas – and colours as well as tastes intermingling. Grace for all of us, regardless of whether or not we personally produced it; just be mindful to see and know how holy these blessings are. Our Annual Harvest Thanksgiving Parade service will be taking place on Sunday14th October, at 10.00 at St. James’ Church. We are raising funds for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Mustard Seed appeal and tinned and dry food for Erdington Food bank.
Finally, our Messy Church Bright Party this year will be taking place on Saturday 27th October – 15.00 until 17.00.
If knowing our blessings leads to thanksgiving, then we can still create a society based on Grace, Love and Hope.
With Much Love,
Daniel, Judith & St. James’ Family