With summer and Harvest behind us, perhaps the year seems to take on a more serious turn. Christmas still seems far off (although the shops would like us to think otherwise!) but before long it will be the poignant time of All Souls and Remembrance. as the days shorten and get colder, we may naturally become more pensive.
The Christian life is serious: not in a heavy or gloomy way, but in the sense that it really matters. Christian life requires commitment, perseverance and patience – and openness to God. It’s full of joy too – the real, deep assurance of God’s love is the greatest joy this world can experience, so different from the trivial happiness so many people strive for which is here today and gone tomorrow. And the calling of a Christian community is to spread the knowledge of that love, to others: to enable them to be touched by that joy and love, and to be a blessing to the wider community. How can we at St John’s best bring that vision to reality?
On Sunday 22 October we are holding a Vision Day at St John’s. After the 11.15 Holy Communion service, we will have a simple lunch together in the Village Hall (tea, coffee and soup will be provided – bring your own sandwiches) and from 1- 2.30 pm will work together on the question:
‘How can this church flourish over the next five years as a blessing to its community?’
We are privileged that the Revd Canon Jenny Tomlinson, in her role as Mission and Ministry Adviser for the Colchester Episcopal Area, is coming to facilitate our discussions. Come and join us; tell us what you think, and what it means to you to have a church in Little Walden.
All Souls’ Day gives us a yearly opportunity to remember loved ones no longer with us. At St John’s this year’s All Souls’ service is on Monday 6 November, at 6.30 pm: it’s a gentle, simple service which gives the space to remember our loved ones, to light a candle, or to read their names and commend them afresh to God’s care. Everyone is welcome: and if you can’t be there in person, but would like your loved one remembered by name or by lighting of a candle, please do let me know and we will make sure this is done.
And then it is time to remember the sacrifice of those who died in conflict, and to pray for peace. St John’s has not traditionally held a Remembrance Sunday service, and many people find it helpful to attend the larger services in Saffron Walden by the War Memorial or in St Mary’s church, but this year it seems appropriate to gather round the new memorial which was installed in Little Walden last year.
So we are holding a short and simple service at 11am on Saturday 11 November – the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the very moment when the 1918 Armistice came into effect. It will of course include the two minutes’ silence. Do join us there as we honour all those who fought in those conflicts.
With my prayers and best wishes to you all