The beginning of June signals the season of garden parties, village fetes, outdoor concerts, flower shows and other summer activities, besides the usual major events of Royal Ascot, Wimbledon, Test Match cricket, Henley Royal Regatta and Glyndebourne Opera. I've probably missed out your favourite event so forgive me if I have!
We all enjoy many of these whether as spectators or joining in the fun of one of our local events. The good British summer weather always has us keeping everything crossed for, at least, fine weather if not the full measure of hot sun in a cloudless sky. The lush gardens following the rather damp spring make the English summer even more enticing.
At this time of year,church activities mix very well with community and village events. We can all get together and enjoy meeting new friends as we share in the local event. So often as church we forget that we are very much a part of the local scene. Our churches have stood at the centre of village life for centuries and we need to keep them there and use that special place they hold in the community.
Over the coming weeks I hope you will make it a priority to support your own village/community activity as a visual reminder that the church is also involved. I often hear folk say how wonderful it is to have an open church, but if we want to have this in the future, we must use it and care for it to be hand it on to future generations. Church buildings need tine love of people to keep them alive.
Only the other week a couple from abroad asked for a wedding blessing in the lovely
'little chapel' in Hurley, because they wanted to be part of the wonderful English village scene.
For those of you who haven't heard, the Bishop of Oxford has announced his retirement later this year. Bishop John has led the Oxford Diocese for the last seven years. The whole Diocese will have the opportunity to say goodbye to him at 'The Grand Day Out on September 20,which will take place in and around Oxford. A group from here hopes to join the celebration. Fingers crossed for weather!
Bishop John has done an enormous amount of work to promote our faith and church life in a very realistic way. Many of you have read some of his books which are practical and accessible to all who want to learn more about Jesus.
He has done a lot of work promoting church school education and of course Oxford is a leading diocese for Women's Ministry. It would be the icing on the cake for his retirement if the vote for women bishops goes through Synod this coming July. Please pray for a positive outcome this time round rather than the humiliation that the church suffered last year when the motion was defeated by just a very few votes.
We all look forward to a summer of run once exams arc over and we can relax. Have a great time and remember, we take our faith out and about with us showing God's love and care to all in very practical and down to earth ways. Summer blessings