Rev Gary's Vicar's Blog

Dear Friends,

November is a month to remember. And we remember not to take things for granted. Not taking things for granted helps us have better focus, and promotes better priorities in our life.

On Remembrance Sunday 12th November 2023 at 10.50am, for the first time in the time I have been your Priest, church services at Guarlford, Madresfield & Powick worship together at the same time for the national silence at 11am (I hope with the clock changes, everyone remembers!).

Remembrance Sunday is a good opportunity to express publicly the much-needed intention not to take peace for granted. Next year, we commemorate 80 years since D-Day and in 2025, the ending of the Second World War. Psychologically, many of the younger generations might well be thinking such war will never visit us. We can all too easily take peace for granted.

The Gaza/Israeli conflict and resultant humanitarian crisis, and the war resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, remind us not to take peace for granted. Devastating war is closer than we think: in the case of the current conflicts - less than four hours’ flying time separate our peace from armed conflict and humanitarian strife. Remembrance Sunday helps us remember.

Jesus taught very clearly that this age, in which we live, will see wars. He was not the sort of humanist who believes that humankind is getting better in all ways, and such bad things are going away. Not at all. Jesus said ‘there will be wars and rumours of wars’ right up to the time of his second coming. He warned us so that we can be ready to face up to the challenges of our times, and to work for peace, and to be ready for war. Many of the Ukrainians are Christians and this has helped them to be resilient in the face of terrible warmongering. We need to remember the civilian casualties in Gaza and Israel too and the aid agencies trying to help in hard circumstances. We want to be resilient. Being resilient is helped by good remembering.

On Sunday 29th October 2023, we had our annual Parish Memorial Services. The services on that afternoon brought back to church many family members that your village churches have supported over the past two years with funeral ministry. We gathered together to remember loved ones who are no longer with us and to give thanks. I hope that this annual gathering was indeed helpful, as we all come to terms with our own loss, and it also helps us to value our close friends and family. A shared experience of expressing our family grief reminds us how much we value our loved one’s memory, and helps us not to take our remaining family and friends for granted. Remembering helps us value people and cherish people.

Whilst we remember or hold deep routed remembrances, we need to give thanks too. We remember that all we have comes from God’s generosity. As we approach the end of the Church’s year at the end of the November, we do need to anticipate and look forward to God’s plan for us as a group of churches, moving forward. We mustn’t dwell, too much, on the Diocese’s Transformation and Change agenda, in the purely organisational and church bureaucracy way, but look for the signs for how Gods is transforming us. Being thankful for our parishes’ presence, prayer and persistence to help others in spite of the challenges we face is important. Offering thanksgiving is a marvellous antidote to taking things for granted.

November is a month to help us remember and give thanks for all have achieved. Come and remember and so be ready and focussed on the things that really matter.

Every blessing Rev Gary