It seemed like late July and August were months of goodbyes. In July we commended the soul of our dear friend John Yerbury to Almighty God. We waved goodbye to Rosemary, James and Philip as they moved up to Durham to begin a new chapter in their life together, last week we bade farewell to Gwyneth Cole. Gwyneth and John were regulars at 8am on Sunday morning, lately at 10.30am. Gwyneth also attended 6pm evening prayer. John was for many years Churchwarden and Gwyneth led a parish prayer group. In their own ways they contributed an enormous amount to parish life. We are all grateful for their contributions.
Parting is never easy, it takes time to adjust to any new situation, yet in the sadness of change there is the bright promise of a future secure in God’s love. We might not always feel this, we often ask ‘Where is God in all of this?’. The challenge is not to automatically assume that we must carry on in our own strength, but recognise that God is faithful and just and in quiet ways supporting and upholding us. I was reminded of this quiet, discreet, yet all enveloping love and care late on Monday evening. We had brought Gwyneth’s body to rest in church overnight, after everybody had departed and close to midnight I returned to church to check everything was safe. We had left the paschal candle burning at the head of Gwyneth’s coffin. In the darkness of the church, that single light seemed to be gently enveloping Gwyneth in paschal light, keeping watch, keeping secure. It was an amazing reminder of the love and care of God, gently embracing Gwyneth. We are held in the palm of his hand and whatever change or misfortune might befall us, God is present, gently enfolding us in his loving embrace.
Now, we begin a new term and there is lots to do. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get cracking!
With the nights drawing in and the temperature dropping it really does feel to me like the end of summer! I hope those of you who have been away on holiday over the summer have returned refreshed. Gerald and I have enjoyed a couple of breaks with our family, and had time to catch up on some reading. For those of you who have stayed in London over the summer, I hope you have had a peaceful time and been able to enjoy all that is on offer with fewer crowds of people.
I have been looking through the parish calendar between now and Christmas – there will be lots going on, and I am very much looking forward to joining in all our activities and getting to know more parishioners.
With every blessing,