A LETTER FROM YOUR VICAR

 
A LETTER FROM YOUR VICAR
 
My dear Friends,
 
As I write this a couple of weeks before you read it, we have just come out of yet another electoral surprise. There is no doubt that there will be many recriminations and plaudits but it will be interesting to see how History judges it. I will express, as I have done elsewhere, my surprise that an electorate who a year ago voted to leave the EU now turned against the party who had become the champions of Brexit.  What does it tell us about democracy? Is it motivated by the ‘grass being greener on the other side of the fence’? What I do detect is an element of grumpiness across swathes of our country; so there will always be a possibility of strong opposition to whatever is the status quo. Winston Churchill, who was a great democrat, is reputed to have said ‘Democracy is the worst form of government apart from all the others!’ We have sent troops, some of whom have suffered death or serious injuries, to various parts of the world in recent years to encourage a greater sense of democracy in other countries and I have to say that I have to remain committed to it.
However, what has been far more distressing in recent weeks has been the terror attacks and these have been a real challenge to the very nature of British society. We may be deeply upset by the fact that our security has been breached, although our experts have foiled many other attempts, but most of all our hearts go out to those who have been directly affected. We probably wonder how on earth we can deal with this threat. I believe that while supporting enthusiastically all that our security services are engaged on, we have to look elsewhere and seek to change – and, indeed, to challenge – hearts and minds. What is it that makes someone brought up in this country, or who has been welcomed from the tyranny of their own country – to turn to such violence and terror? These things apparently are done in the name of Islam but we are frequently and rightly being told that such acts are abhorrent to that faith. 
So, is there anything we can do, apart, of course, from supporting or complaining? Yes there is! The British values so frequently spoken about by politicians are actually rooted in our Christian heritage – they are the virtues of tolerance, respect and above all of love. Our way of life is built on the acceptance of a higher power, who we call God. 
In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples (handed on through the ages to us as The Lord’s Prayer) he encouraged us to pray ‘Thy Kingdom come’.  Whenever we pray for something we have to be prepared to be part of the answer, so we need to encourage each other to play our part in reclaiming the part that the teaching of Jesus brings to our nation. St Paul in his Letter to the Romans (12:21) says “Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good”.
Apathy towards our faith has been a key element in allowing the breakdown of our way of life. ‘Duty’, doing what we know to be right, whatever the challenges, is almost regarded in our self-obsessed society as a dirty word and an outmoded concept. But it was doing his duty that led Jesus to his horrific death, ultimately doing his Father’s will and doing it for others. Until we learn again that message, we shall never reclaim for our society those so-called ‘British values’ that hopefully we all hold dear. It seems to me that the time comes when we have to ask ourselves on whose side we really are....... 
May God give us the strength to make right decisions and see that the teachings of Jesus are still alive in his Church and may we work together to eradicate evil wherever we find it.
Your loving Priest and Friend
 
 
I remain, as always your loving Priest and friend,
 
Charles
 
 
 
EVER THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN  FAITH?
 
We are thinking about starting a group, probably in the autumn, using one of the available courses, Alpha, Christianity Explored or Emmaus.  This could be helpful to those who have been church members for years or for those who do not know anything about Christianity but would like to. I have used the Emmaus course in the past and found it very helpful but, no doubt, so are the others. We will adapt timings to suit the people who are interested. This could also be a preparation for Confirmation.  Well are you interested.....? then let me know!   Charles