Wednesday, 31 August 2011

September's Pastoral Letter

September, and a new School Year begins. Please remember our Staff and young people at Elland C of E School in your prayers, especially those who are new to the School, together with those who have moved to new Schools since leaving Elland in July.

Both of our Churches will be open during the National Heritage Weekend, S.Mary’s on Friday 9th, from 11am-1pm, and from 10am-4pm on Saturday 10th. All Saints will be open on Saturday 10th from 10am-4pm, when there will also be a display of Classic cars in the Church Grounds. The same weekend also marks S.Mary’s Patronal Festival, beginning with the Annual Organ Recital on Friday 9th at 7.30pm, with Jonathan Bielby, recently retired Director of Music at the Cathedral, and always a welcome visitor. The Patronal Festival Eucharist will be at 10am on Sunday 11th September, and the Celebrant and Preacher will be Bishop Tom Butler, honorary assistant Bishop in our Diocese, having recently retired as Bishop of Southwark. This service is for all – there will not be 9.30am or 11am services that day (though the 8am Holy Communion at S.Mary’s will happen, for those who absolutely cannot be there at 10am.)

September 11th, 2011, is also the 10th Anniversary of the atrocities of the Terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. People of good will, of all faiths and none, will be marking this day as Awareness Sunday – A Path to Peace, and prayers for peace and reconciliation will be offered in S.Mary’s. John, our Archbishop, writes, “Around my neck I wear a cross bearing the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The words read, ‘Peace will flower when love and justice pervade our environment.’ I welcome Awareness Sunday as it seeks to reach out and build better relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.”

As you read this, we hope that work will be complete on the Canon Winter Centre at All Saints. Bishop Stephen will be formally opening the Centre at All Saints-tide, though it is already being used for one or two church events. A Group is meeting to consider publicity and making best use of this marvellous new facility for the Church in Elland – its good to know dreams can be realised sometimes! Fundraising began for the Centre well before I arrived in Elland 9 years ago; we are, of course, now in a very different economic climate, and some of the Corporate and Business use we aimed for, may now be harder to find. I know that many of you pray regularly that we will make the best use of our Church buildings, and, with those prayers, we are sure that regular community use will emerge.

The next stage of the Fabric Work at S.Mary’s will see plaster removal and drainage work start on Monday 12th September, together with work on the monuments in the St Nicholas Chapel, which will probably have begun by the time you read this.

Talking of the venerable and valued ....our best wishes to Fr Philip who reaches 70 this month – and retirement! Once he reaches this milestone, he will receive formal Permission to Officiate from the Diocese, and will now serve as one of our Honorary Assistant Priests. While he continues as a valued member of our Pastoral Team in Elland, from now on he is moving towards a different working pattern, of Sundays plus two days in the week, which will mean he is not as available as before.

During September, we will be using a new Diocesan Resource for prayer, Praying for the Earth, at the daily Mass, remembering the environment in our public and private prayers of Intercession. Many Christians find this a useful time to pray for our care for God’s Creation, not least in our lead up to the Harvest Thanksgiving, and the Feast of S.Francis of Assisi, both of which fall at the beginning of October.

All Creation worships you, O God,
and we your people bless you for the beauty of the earth.
We thank you for making a good world in the beginning,
and for making it better by the Word made flesh,
whose death and resurrection in the body
reveal the promise re-creation of the universe.
May your Kingdom come on earth as your will is done in heaven
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

With my prayers, and in gratitude for yours,
Fr David