We come to the annual season of remembrance - our own departed loved ones, and the dead of the nations. We will remember all those whom we have loved and lost at our special All Souls service on 3rd November at 4pm at St John’s - do come along.
On Remembrance Sunday, I shall lead the civic act of remembrance at Mossley war memorial, and on Armistice day I shall again be privileged to lead the hugely impressive and moving whole-school act of remembrance at Mossley Hollins High School. There will also be an act of remembrance at the Fire Station on that day to which all are welcome. These civic events are part of the fabric of our nation, and it is part of the role of the Church of England, as the established church, to lead civic events when we are invited to. We are here for all the people in our parishes, we are responsible for them: thus, our titles are territorial and ✠David is Bishop of Manchester and I am Vicar of Mossley - we are reminded through this that we are to be there for all the people in our parishes, not just the church attenders, and not even just those who identify as Christians - everyone!
Our unique role as an established church is hugely valuable and one that should never be taken for granted - we are to be the servant church who take responsibility for all our people. In a world of private clubs, where many feel they do not or cannot belong, perhaps because of things they’ve done or who they are, we are constantly reminded to seek those people out - we are their church and their community: we are to pray for them. I’m not suggesting that other denominations and religions don’t do this too, it’s just that as Anglicans we have it in our DNA to be there, for everyone, regardless of membership, experience, background or anything else.
As he marks a year working with us, I want to say a massive THANK YOU to Fr Ian for all he is and all he does - he has become a valued and valuable friend to me and many others, and is thoroughly embedded in life across the benefice. Thank you Ian and Liz for coming to join us!
This month, as we recall the memory of those who have gone before us, known and unknown, we recommit ourselves to service in this parish and ALL the people in it, and to praying for them, for our world, for unity and for peace.
With my thanks and the assurance of my prayers,