My dear friends,
Today I am writing in the aftermath of the awful terrorist attack in the Manchester Arena in which 22 people have been killed and 64 injured. Our hearts and prayers go out to those whose lives have been devastated by the death of loved ones or life-changing injury. Sadly, such attacks have been part of our lives at least for the last 40 years –many of you will remember the IRA bombings in London and elsewhere on the mainland in the 70’s and 80’s (we even had a pipe-bomb discovered here in Moulsford, in the garden of retired general Sir Anthony Farrar-Hockley). Shocking as such attacks are and the blind hatred that lies behind them, it is vital that we do not lose the perspective of seeing that these occasional incidents are perpetrated by a very tiny number of individuals who tragically have been deceived, blinded and corrupted by evil and hate-filled propaganda.
As a church, both nationally and locally, we have been thinking about what positive action we can take against the fear and division that these terrorists would love to spread. We are therefore promoting two initiatives.
The first is part of the Great Get Together – a national community initiative launched Jamie Oliver and the Duchess of Cornwall in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox. The aim is to stage the biggest celebrations since the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Street parties, picnics and bake-offs will be held across the UK in honour of the murdered Labour MP. The gatherings, are designed to unite people in their neighbourhoods on the weekend of 17-18 June, 2017. So as a church, in conjunction with the Moulsford Events committee, we are holding a Coffee and Cakes morning from 11:00 to 13:00 on Sunday, 18th June in the Pavilion. Jo Cox’s widower, Brendan, said there could be “no more fitting tribute” to his wife, who died in June 2016. “Jo loved a party and she would have been thrilled by the idea of the Great Get Together,” he said. “As she said in her maiden speech in parliament – 'we have far more in common than that which divides us'. Jo wanted a chance to bring our communities together to celebrate what unites us.”
The second initiative will already have started by the time you read this. The Archbishop of Canterbury is encouraging Christians of all denominations to take part in a global prayer movement Thy Kingdom Come. Last year more than 100,000 people joined with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to pray in the 10 days between Ascension and Pentecost. This year, even more are expected to join in.
Archbishop Justin Welby says: “Jesus prayed at the Last Supper that we, those who follow him, might ‘be one that the world might believe’. We are invited to make a lasting difference in our nations and in our world, by responding to his call to find a deep unity of purpose in prayer.” He says people can pray in whatever way they choose, wherever they are. “It’s not a Church of England thing, it’s not an Anglican thing, it’s a Christian thing.”
Ascension Day was on Thursday 25th May and at Moulsford Church, we had a special evening family event, with all sorts of fun activities to launch the 10 days of prayer and encourage children and adults to pray in various creative and imaginative ways. These 10 days will end with a special service on Pentecost (Whit Sunday) on 4th June. If you would like to find out more, please contact myself or our churchwarden, Janet Knowles.
With warmest regards,
The Vicarage, Church Road, Cholsey, Oxon OX10 9PP. Tel: 01491 651216 email@example.com