I have been looking back over the letters I wrote in last summer’s Newsletters and found my opening words for July 2017: As I write, the general election is only a week away and the story dominating the front pages is the tragic loss of lives and homes and hopes of the many people who used to live in Grenfell Tower, the high-rise block of flats in west London, devastated by fire. This catastrophic event has touched the hearts of many and I pray that help and support for all those affected comes quickly. Yesterday the first anniversary was marked in west London and elsewhere and the coming together of many from different communities has been one of the signs of hope to emerge from the tragedy. We should continue to pray for all those affected and for others who live in inadequate housing. I pray that in another year’s time significant progress will have been made in re-housing the residents and ensuring that social housing in the UK is safe.
Last month I was encouraging you to go to the service at St Alban’s Abbey on 19 May when the Archbishop of Canterbury would be speaking. He did and he spoke of his identity. He was challenged, you may remember, when he discovered that the person he had known as his father was not his biological father. He told us that after a time of prayer and refection he realised that this discovery did not affect his identity. His identity is as a follower of Jesus Christ and in his personal relationship with him. Archbishop Justin had officiated earlier that day at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan and you will remember the sermon, a demanding call to love one another. We were very fortunate that the preacher, Bishop Michael, joined the Archbishop at the Abbey and also spoke to us (only briefly). We enjoyed wonderful music and singing and a great atmosphere of prayer. Quite a few of us from the parish were there in the congregation; if you weren’t there you missed a treat.
And there’s lots going on in the parish. At the end of May it was Preston Open Gardens with a good number of visitors again. A big thank you to all those who opened their gardens, made cakes and helped in so many ways on, before, and after the day.
Last night our own Bishop Michael (of Hertford) was at St Mark’s Hitchin for the Team Confirmation – six people were confirmed in a very moving service.
On Sunday week at All Saints we have In Loving Memory a special service to remember our loved ones who have died.
And on 1 July at 11am we have our Team Service at Princess Helena College, celebrating the life and ministry of John Bunyan appropriately close to a number of sites where he preached. I hope to see you there.
With my prayers and good wishes to you all
THANK YOU to all you kind and generous people who gave your time and efforts to the Open Gardens Day on 27th May. After a gloomy weather forecast we actually had a perfect day and the visitors much enjoyed walking round the village and gardens. The welcome sum of £4,500 was raised for our little village church.
Pam, Liz and Meta