At the moment we are reading passages from 1 John during morning prayer. Yesterday we read that passage from 1 John chapter 4 so beloved by couples getting married. “Beloved let us love one another, because love is from God” 1 John 4:7 it goes on “Beloved, since God loved us so much, we ought to love one another” 1 John 4:11. If you read the news at the moment there is a depressing litany of stabbings, harassment of MPs and journalists going about their democratic business, and seemingly a country divided like never before. There doesn’t seem to be much love out there at the moment. One might be tempted to read such scripture passages with a degree of scepticism, but that would be to miss a foundation truth. We are loved – therefore this knowledge should be used to enable a proper and mature understanding of another; simply that our neighbours have value, dignity and worth. If another has no value, then their life has no value, their thoughts have no value, their hopes and fears have no value. We protect what we value, we discard what we don’t. Whilst it might be fashionable to dismiss faith, our sacred texts, our scripture and the community we call the Church, what they provide is a foundation for decent human interaction. Without that foundation we drift aimlessly, making it up as we go along – and we know where that leads us.
As many of you know, we are fast approaching our departure date to visit our link parish of St Simon and St Jude, Namacunde in southern Angola. This visit has been entirely funded by the individuals involved. We leave London on Tuesday 28 January and travel overnight to Namibia where we will drive North to the border with Angola. We will meet Fr Elias and his people on Saturday morning 2 February spend Saturday with the community of St Simon and Jude, stay overnight and on Sunday morning celebrate with them the completion of their new church building. Because life in Southern Angola is a little difficult we will be back in Namibia on Sunday afternoon, where we will have the opportunity to reflect as a group on what we have seen and heard before travelling South and flying home via Johannesburg. We hope to be able to provide you with some photographs of our visit whilst we are there, but that is a little dependent on WiFi connectivity. We will of course bring home lots of memories and photographs for you to see. Your prayers for our trip would be much appreciated. Please pray for the success of our visit, that we all get our Angolan visas on time (very important!), that we are kept safe and for the people of St Simon and Jude Namacunde.
Nick and Hilary Lines
This week marks the first anniversary of the death of a very dear friend of mine who lived with Alzheimer’s disease for over eleven years. She was a highly intelligent woman and so, in the earlier stages of the disease, she developed some very clever strategies for managing her symptoms. Inevitably, however, as the disease progressed she found life increasingly difficult, frustrating and frightening. Her family and friends were very supportive, but we were not always sure as how best to support her. I was therefore very pleased to come across a book published last year entitled ‘Dementia from the Inside – a doctor’s personal journey of hope’. It was written by Dr Jennifer Bute, a highly-qualified GP, also a very devout Christian, with the assistance of Louise Morse. Dr Bute herself lives with dementia which she regards as an opportunity as well as a challenge. She has written this book to help people living with dementia, but also to offer practical insights and observations to those supporting them. I have found it a very helpful read and would encourage others to read it, especially as so many of us now find ourselves knowing people living with dementia.
With every blessing