Thinking about this historic day, my attention has been focused on
two pictures in my study. The first is a water-colour of a village
church surrounded by fields with mountains in the background. The
churchyard, with its low dry-stone wall, is where my parents are
buried (my father saw active service in the 1st World War). In a
corner of the churchyard, closest to the East End of the church, a
large rhododendron bush is in full flower. Almost hidden beneath it lies the grave of a young man from the village, who died in 1917 of wounds received in France. A solitary reminder of the astronomical casualty figure of that war. The scale of
The other picture is an old detailed drawing of an ancient stone church, standing in the heart of a village high in the French Pyrenees. It possesses a most unusual feature. It is fortified, enclosed by a substantial crenellated wall. The wall was constructed in the 14th Century (several hundred years after the church was built) by Knights of St John of Jerusalem, from whom the present Order of St John is derived. This defensive addition gave a refuge for the local population from marauding gangs of bandits who roamed the mountainous areas. The Knights provided hope and protection for that isolated community when it was under threat, and practical assistance—along with
been a significant aspect of the Church’s ministry.
Violence and aggressive attitudes, whether at international, local or domestic levels, are corrosive influences in society. The Christian Church has an impressive record of relief work, dealing with the consequences—rather than the causes—of humanitarian crises. One of the greatest missions facing the Church—us—at this time, is to know how and where to begin a process of engaging effectively with the forces that foster and feed such behaviour. Fundamental to every human outlook, regardless of faith or background, has to be integrity, honour and care for others. These cannot simply remain ideals. They have to be expressed in people’s way of life. They have to be obvious in the lives of those who are the Church. Governments, autocratic leaders and multinationals have to be called to account whenever their policies and actions undermine human rights
and create injustice, or contribute to the abuse of people, animals or the natural environment. This may seem like stepping into a minefield, but the Anglican Communion Covenant commits ‘God’s people to respond in courageous witness to the power of the gospel in the world’ (1.2.6). It is possible to make a difference in this regard, as we see constantly demonstrated by Avaaz.org—a courageous global
network of concerned people.
‘The God of peace be with all of you’ (Rom. 15:33).
- Parish financial update for September:
Income $12,967 Expenditure $19,122 Deficit $6,155
- Church Hosts: as visitor numbers are increasing there is now an opportunity for more people to be involved in keeping the church open and welcoming those who come. If you can spare a few hours please speak to Alastair Scott (343 5153).
- St Michael’s School: Open Day Tuesday
. Meditation Group meets in the Lady Chapel, Wednesdays 12 noon.
Details Margaret Maclagan (359 9215) or Pat Evans (358 0127).
- Parish Trust meets Wednesday at 5:15 pm.
- Angelology Group: Thursdays 10:30 am in the Lady Chapel.
- Singalong Messiah Concert: singers and choirs are invited to join the Jubilate
- Singers at the Cathedral, 18 November at 2:00 pm. Details on
- Bible Study Group meets next on 19 November, 7:15 pm in the parish lounge. Details Peter Oakley (960 0974).
- S. Michael’s 2019 Calendar and greeting cards: now available from Rachel Watson (027 2265870) or from the parish office.
- A Handful of Change—Journeying through Advent: Craufurd Murray.
Copies available from Fr Craufurd, the parish office or Ecclesia Books for $10.
- Christian World Service is seeking a volunteer(s) to help with general
administration during the Christmas period. Details Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Double knitting or 4 ply wool. Please place in
boxat the back of the church. Electronic Devices wanted for recycling: old mobile phones, tablets etc.
- Book Swap: in the parish lounge. Koha to
- Inasmuch basket: please continue to support the City Mission every week with your gifts of groceries and other household items.