What a wonderful Street Party it was, never mind the weather, Sunday was a great day. Our thanks must go out to Ali Philips who was the inspiration and driving force behind the whole event. To Suzette and Susan who represented the church at meetings and who worked so hard to make the day such a success. After costs, I think the party raised just over £2,600 for our appeal. However, the day was not just about the money, important as that is, it was also about building community and making connections with our neighbours, I think we can say it was a great success. So to our friends and neighbours, ‘thank you’ for your time, your commitment and your generosity. It means a great deal. Thanks also to Her Majesty the Queen, for who else could get so many people together in one place for such a celebration and the opportunity to form community bonds. Your Majesty, you have done a great work for this nation. Thank you.
Yet, amidst our joy and festivity, we mourn the tragic loss of life in Orlando. I know Rev’d Eileen will say more on this. What a waste, what a senseless and tragic waste of life. Sometimes it feels like the only way to make a point these days is by use of extreme violence, the AK47 has become the vehicle for expressing discontent. How do we liberate ourselves from this cycle of violence? Well, I think it’s precisely in events like the one we enjoyed last Sunday that community is developed, friendships formed and different ways of life experienced. It’s very easy to be radicalised when one spends all day on one’s own looking at a computer screen. There is nothing better than encounter with another to give us a sense of perspective. Healthy societies are places of interconnection and encounter, the best way to achieve this inter-connectivity is in personal encounter. The computer is a wonderful tool, but it can be dangerous when it is used to replace real human contact. This is why the Church is so important, because it is a place, an arena of contact. We meet, we form relationships, we talk, we argue and we do so in that place formed by God where we proclaim the dignity, value and worth of every human being.
The world needs more street parties!
Thanks to everyone for your very warm welcome at my first Sunday morning service at St Nick’s. It was good to meet more members of the congregation and to join in the street party afterwards.
We were all greatly shocked to hear later that evening of the mass murder in a gay club in Orlando, Florida. I’d like to share with you the following prayer, written by the Dean of Southwark Cathedral:
you love us without distinction
for you made us different and beautiful;
hold in your everlasting arms
the victims of the attack
on the gay community in Orlando;
those who were killed,
those fighting for their life,
grieving partners and parents,
lovers and friends;
and send upon us all your peace,
which passes understanding,
in the name of Jesus Christ,
your son, our brother. Amen