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Vicar's Letter for this month

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Dear Friends,

REMEMBER, REFLECT, PRAY….

November is almost upon us, the great month for remembering. A month when we are called to remember, reflect, and pray.

On a more light-hearted note, as we head into the last weekend of October, remember that the clocks go back this weekend. Don’t forget to make the change before heading to bed on Saturday. Perish the thought that you might arrive an hour early for church on Sunday morning! Rest assured; we will find plenty of things at church for you to do.

On Sunday 31 October, we begin this special season of remembering with our celebration of All Saints which falls on 1 November. Please note we have changed the usual monthly pattern, so that our All-Age Service will be on Sunday rather than the first Sunday of November. On All Saints Sunday, we will be remembering and celebrating the lives and faith of men and women down the ages who have tried to follow Jesus faithfully, amidst the challenges of their own times; some whose names we know, but many we don’t. All Saints is a day to thank God for their witness and example. I remember one All Saints Sunday when it was Deaf Church on the same day. There were few of us there in the congregation, but Anna, one of the ministry team, encouraged us to think about the unseen ‘cloud of witnesses’ (those who have gone before us in faith) worshipping with us. It was lovely to imagine them filling those empty seats!

The 2 of November is All Souls Day; a time to remember all those who have died, particularly our own family members and friends. It is also a time to pray for all those who are grieving. Our Memorial Service will take place on Sunday afternoon at 4pm – a time to come together to remember all who have died, but particularly those we cherish. This year we are going back to our usual pattern of having this special service around All Souls’ Day. We will be holding the service in-person at church, as well as via Zoom. Those of you joining us via Zoom may like to have a candle with you, ready to light it when we come to the time of remembering and reading out all the names. Once again, this service will have added poignancy this year as we think of those who have not been able to see their loved ones in hospital to say goodbye, or have been unable to attend the funeral of a friend or relative when numbers were so restricted during lockdown. It has been so hard for those bereaved during these challenging times.

remember the COP26 Summit in Glasgow which begins this weekend, and keep that crucial meeting in your prayers. Bishop Olivia, our Area Bishop will be amongst faith leaders gathered there. Our prayers are asked for:

·       the conference hosts, for wisdom, guidance, and ambition for UK negotiators and Alok Sharma, COP26 president.

·       faith leaders attending the conference.

·       peaceful and fruitful discussions between world leaders.

·       world leaders to make bold commitments to combat climate change.

·       protection and support for developing nations most affected by climate change.

Our service on 7 November will be focussed on climate change and praying for COP26. We will be hearing from some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities of our world who are suffering the worst effects of climate change. May that service challenge each one of us to reflect and take urgent action in our own lives. We can make a difference!

May this November not only be a month of remembering, but a month and year that will be remembered in years to come for courageous decision-making, urgent action on climate change, and bringing new hope for the future.

With my love and prayers,

Joan