November is the season in the church where we mark and honour our losses, principally through All Souls and Remembrance Sunday; a season of remembering if you will.
We will be doing this poignantly this year of all years - All Souls will see two services of holding loss in memory, one will be at St Luke's on Saturday October 31st at 11am, the other at St Margaret's on Monday 2nd November at 3pm.
If you would like people to be remembered in prayer, and to have a candle lit for them, at either of those services, please do let me know. You don't have to attend yourself for this to happen. For some, it is enough that they know their loved ones are being held by the wider community in this way.
Remembrance Sunday also we will gather in whatever way is permitted at that point in time, in order to hold respectfully communal loss, and will make space to mark the wider losses we have experienced as a nation this year.
It is good that we take this moment together, collectively, to hold one another in loss.
I also want to hold alongside this the many small, but profound, encounters we have that give us hope and even joy in the midst of a year characterised by traumatic loss.
The churches have been open as a community throughout the year, keeping in touch and meeting online; and undoubtedly it has been a joy to safely open the church buildings since July, to facilitate safe gathering and face to face connection again.
There are two photos accompanying this article which show the baptism of Harry Gitsham in October, and then the following week the first family oriented service, a harvest thanksgiving since February.
It has been wonderful to hear the sound of children within our Holy Ground again; calling us into future possibility and the ability to relish the joy of the present moment, come what may.