The half-term week is looking promising for being out and about in the late sunshine. By the end of the week, when the clocks go back, there will be a noticeable change in church life as well as the daylight hours.
November will bring us to the time of remembrance for loved ones who are no longer with us and to the services of remembrance for the fallen in world wars and later conflicts. This year has been a particularly testing time for our armed forces with many lives lost in Afghanistan and the suffering of their grieving families.
In the Arab world yet another barbaric dictator has fallen and, like Tunisia and Egypt, Libya now has the opportunity to establish a democratic form of government bringing freedom for its people.
New beginnings are always exciting, filled with the hope for a better way of life but we must also remember that these are fragile times for the new regimes. There is still some way to go in terms of stability and security for emerging democracies.
November isn't everyone's favourite month but I always appreciate the next few weeks as a time for tidying up loose ends. As we put away the garden furniture and tidy up in the garden, we can appreciate the seasonal change. As nature prepares to rest and renew itself over the dormant months ahead, the shorter days remind us of the need for self-renewal.
November can be a time of rest and remembrance before the Advent season of preparation begins at the end of the month. The church's year and the natural rhythm of the seasons are so closely inter-twined and provide us with the perfect 'life coach'. The read ing from the book of Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that 'there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven'.
Our Parish life has now made provision for spiritual renewal and growth in our new discovery groups and we look forward to the feedback in due course. Confirmation preparation is progressing and we look forward to the service in Bray on November 27. This next step marks a commitment of faith in our loving God and to the ongoing Christian journey of discovery and discipleship.
For a month which is often thought of as dark and gloomy, November has its own richness to offer and, in church life, is an important month in the year.
Please remember in your prayers all our elderly and frailer members of the church family and in our communities as we move into the colder weather and darker days.