Dear Friends

As I write this we are being blessed by some pleasant early autumn sunshine which is always a bonus as the nights draw in and we prepare for the onslaught of leaves falling and needing to be cleared from gardens.

At the Vicarage for some weeks now we have had a nightly visitor, a badger digging up the lawn for crane fly larvae which are near the surface still. The grass looks like a moon crater, but despite a sign at badger height saying, `Please keep off the grass’ we cannot complain as we live alongside wildlife, and it is good to think that we are supporting their well-being.

This season in the Church calendar is called Creation tide and as well as the traditional Harvest Festival Services and gatherings to offer thanksgiving for the work of farmers, growers and other producers, it is an apt moment to reflect on the continuing signs of Global Warming and the consequences of severe droughts, flash floods, dangerous temperatures and the dire warnings about future supplies of water and the threat of extinction for species of animals, birds and sea life.

The shortage of CO2 and heavy goods drivers, as well as huge rises in energy prices, have further reminded us that we cannot depend on things in the way we have, and we are going to need to learn to change our ways of doing things and how we respect and work in partnership to reverse the damage caused by human activity. The COP26 Conference in Glasgow in November really does look more and more like the summit where we need to see real sacrifice in order to reach the targets scientists are telling us we need if we are to have a chance to prevent the worst predictions about the climate.

As we continue to live with Covid still around us and pick up life and some sort of routine that feels familiar again, we reflect as we go on, that living life and finding fulfilment should be less about me and what I want and need, and more about what I can contribute, share, and do for the environment, for my neighbour and for my community. I am reminded of words Jesus used, “ 'It is more blessed to give than to receive” which teaches that there is joy in the act of giving when it is done with pure motives.

For many centuries the Church was at the centre of offering care for the sick, as witnessed by the Christian foundation of many of our hospitals, and through the ministry of healing in offering God’s forgiveness, offering a ministry of listening, and the affirmation of God’s strength and power to make whole through prayer and sacrament.

On October 18 Christians offer thanksgiving for the life of St Luke, the patron saint of physicians and doctors. As we celebrate St Luke, we acknowledge that we all need healing in some way and we are invited to place our trust in a God who continues to meet us in our everyday life at our point of need. Healing comes in many forms: acceptance of illness or disability; physical recovery; deliverance from worry, fear, anger or depression; the healing of memories; the restoration of self-image, the removal of a burden of shame, or our prayer and resolve to heal the wounds inflicted on the environment.

Almighty God, you called Luke the physician, 

to be an evangelist and physician of the soul:

by the grace of your Spirit

and through the wholesome medicine of the gospel,

help us to seek and find that same love and power to heal;

through Jesus Christ. Amen.

With love and prayers

Tony