Leave a lasting legacy

Dear Friends,

As I was leaning on My Gatein prayer during the week a voice whispered in my head that in times of darkness we all need more of GOD — Goodness Overcomes Darkness. God said let there be light and there was light and it was good so let it be what you receive!

Some people have very hard choices to make and for all the amazing creativity humanity is blessed with it isnt going to get easier any time soon!

I read at the weekend that interpreters from Afghanistan are to be granted sanctuary in the UK to enable them to start a new life. Seems only right to me!

What disturbs me is that some of them are in polygamous marriages and will have to choose which wife to bring with them and which to leave behind. Whatever you think about having more than one wife can you imagine having to choose one to leave behind who will almost certainly be killed by the Taliban? That doesnt seem so right, does it? Tough choice!

I also met the gardener of a local business who was refusing to put pesticides down to clear weeds because it would cause other harm to the environment. He was told to do as he was told, or lose his job. Bosses have a lot of power and influence, dont they? They can choose the cheapest way regardless of any harm caused!

On a similar theme I was told how a supermarket insist in their contract that farmers must use pesticides for certain vegetables they produce even though it probably doesnt help quality or quantity! The power of big business and what choice have we got?

Not so long ago the computer and mobile phone were optional luxuries. Now they are essentials from children and education to pensioners claiming benefits. What is more important: A laptop for the education of children and a smart phone for communicating with ALL agencies and service providers or paying the rent, putting food on the table and paying all necessary bills? What sort of choice is it when you cant survive without either in a fast moving world of technology?

In nine years the plan is that all cars will be electric so what choice will the majority of people have? There will be a limited number of used cars available, many of which will have worn out batteries, and the cost of a new one will be beyond the means of many of us. Will we be forced to use overcrowded public transport or will I have to cycle anywhere I want to go when I will be over 80? What sort of choices will people who cant afford an electric car have? Well, we can console ourselves with the thought that everyone who does have one will be waiting in a queue for two hours to use a charging point! Or stuck on a motorway because they ran out of power trying to find a charging point.

When will we start using the amazing creativity humanity is blessed with to make life easier, safer, better, healthier and cheaper rather than making life tougher with choices much fewer? It makes me despair, but is that why I was leaning on My Gatein prayer and we ALL need a bit more of GOD in our lives so that Goodness Overcomes Despair! Or Depression, and other ‘D’s’ you might think of!

Our Methodist friends will join us on Sunday for a Climate Sunday Service which will be followed by others in July and September in a build-up to the UN Climate Change Conference being held in Glasgow in November. Colin Hollies will deliver a message on the theme this month and in July it will be the Eco Church and Church and Society reminding us to take greater care of the planet.

Climate Sunday has been organised by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI) with support from charities including CAFOD, Christian Aid, Tearfund, A Rocha UK, and Operation Noah. Many United Reformed Churches will be holding services this weekend.

The Climate Sunday initiative is calling on all local churches across Great Britain & Ireland to hold a climate-focused service on any Sunday before COP26 (November 2021). So far over 1,000 churches have joined in, can our churches add their voices this year? We feel it is important enough to have more than one service to focus on the issue.

The vision is to leave a lasting legacy of thousands of churches better equipped to address this critical issue as part of their discipleship and mission and to make a significant contribution to civil society efforts to secure adequate national and international action at COP26. The collective action and commitments from local churches across Great Britain & Ireland will be presented to UK Government at a Nations Climate Sunday Service in Glasgow on Sunday 5th September 2021. Further details about this event will be published shortly.

Having agonised until 11pm last Sunday night on what I could say in my Monday letter I could relate to the experience of Stephen Tomkins, the Editor of Reform, who said there are times when he is lost for words! He says he can struggle to think of something to say in his monthly editorial. That made me feel so good because I have struggled to think of something twice a week plus once a month for the Broadsheet! I think back to the first Covid lockdown and I was producing a letter of encouragement EVERY day. It wasnt because I like the sight of my words in print, but if God wants something to be said it has to be said! If it was spoken word silence would be accepted, but a blank piece of paper is inexcusable, isnt it?

The alternative, of course, is to give someone else a voice through which God can encourage and I hope other people will take up the invitation to start writing! I will reduce my weekly letters to one at the end of next week and hope that I will have something to say that God wants to be said!

God Bless, Richard