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This Sunday sees the Annual Meeting of Parishioners and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting, both held after the Parish Mass in the church hall.  The first meeting is an open meeting for the whole community, to elect the Church Wardens.  The second meeting is when we a review of the church’s activities, its structures, its finances.  All the reports are in a sense easy to do because they are factual: what we’ve done, what is our governance, what is our ‘turnover’.  I say ‘easy’ because there is one report that doesn’t appear in written form, and rarely does, because it is difficult to quantify.  This other report will be received and commented upon by a higher authority than church members.  It is this: how have we as a Church proclaimed the gospel and extended his Kingdom?

That, after all, is our primary tasks of us all as Christians and as the body of Christ.  Because we think of this as a difficult task for which we’re ill-equipped and inexperienced, we tend to focus on the ‘easy’ and measurable.  After all, how we assess our effectiveness in mission.  The crudest measurement is counting numbers coming to church, but that doesn’t take into account what we do in the hours we’re not in church.  But still we need to ask ourselves, ‘Are we doing mission’ as well as other things.


Hopes raised, hopes dashed…  At the beginning of week, there seemed to be some hope that a ceasefire would be agreed between Israel and Hamas.  Palestinians were seen rejoicing, yet within 24 hours of Hamas’ agreement, the Israeli government rejected the proposals and started its attack on Rafah, having forced residents to flee from their homes.  It seems that there will be no agreement on the Israeli side until they have completed all their ‘objectives’ by violence, regardless of the potential safety of those still being held hostage.


Those directly involved, and those in the international community who have genuine concerns, must be despairing.  Hopes raised, hopes dashed.  And it’s the same in Ukraine with one side then another making ‘progress’ but at the cost of innocent civilians’ lives and livelihoods.  And it’s the same with those asylum seekers risking their lives in crossing the Channel.  Whatever names we apply to any group, whatever our personal opinion as to right or wrong, all these involved are human beings like us, with lives and loves, hopes and fears, and above all the right to the same life as we take for granted.  It is only by fully living up to the demands of faith as Christians, as well as Jews and Muslims, that hope will be finally become reality.

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