This Sunday sees the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and I suspect that it has become one of those particular dates of which can be said that most of us still ‘remember where we were’ when we first heard the news (in case you wondered, I was walking to Theological College in Mirfield from the house down Stocks Bank Road, and heard about the attacks from a fellow student whom I met). The papers and radio programmes have been filled with items dedicated to the analysis and remembrance of the date, and we ourselves will do much the same in the course of the weekend.
All of this is a mark of the intensity with which the events shook our world, and some of the programmes and articles have rightly pointed out that this has, among other things, revealed to many in ‘the West’ the fragility not just of our peace and personal safety, but of our society as a whole. I was struck by this some months ago, in the context of a very different television programme that looked at the effect of the Black Death on London in particular, and reflected on the extraordinary resilience that was shown at the time: although in some areas up to half the population died, there seems to have been a surprising lack of panic – obviously anxiety, fear, mourning and all the other effects of tragedy on our lives, but no sense of a mindless panic – and I remember wondering at the time how we today would have fared in similar circumstances. I still do – and I wonder also whether their resilience and courage was not, in part at least, an effect of the way in which God was a much more ‘natural’ reality in their lives and the life of their society than He is for many today, so that they somehow knew – not just hoped vaguely – that, come what may, nothing would ultimately frustrate the designs of His providence, even if they will have had as little hope of fully understanding ‘how’ that was to be so than we do today.
None of this, of course, is to belittle the personal trauma, pain and suffering that the events of 9/11 caused and continue to cause. But it is to say that we and all who were and are touched by them will only be able to bear them and keep them in perspective if we, too, dare to hope and believe that even these tragic and horrific events are not outside the designs of God’s providence, however dark these are to our minds. 9/11 will then contain a call to hope, not to despair and to mindless panic (remembering all the regrettable consequences these latter things usually have for us and those on whom we turn in our rage), a call to faith and indeed to charity and reconciliation.
Ladies Fellowship: The meeting scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed until October 11, when Richard Morgan will talk about his Nepal Trek.
Mothers Union: Meets on Thursday from 2.30pm for an afternoon of poems and songs and a bring-and-buy.
Food Festival: Takes place next weekend and we need help with:
- Stewarding the church—if you can help, please sign the rota at the back of St Mary’s.
- Cakes to sell on the stall in front of the church—please speak to Mrs Sheila Davies 853729 or bring them along on Saturday morning.
- Tea on the Top Lawn—if you can help service, clear or wash-up, please speak to Mrs Margaret Dodd 85856624.
- If you are creating a display on Food in the Bible, the church will be open all day Friday for you to install your work.
Harvest lunch: The Christchurch Harvest Lunch takes place on September 25, 12.30pm for 1pm followed by a service at 2.30pm. Tickets £7 available from churchwardens.
Harvest lunch: Unfortunately the Harvest Lunch at St Peter’s has been cancelled, although the Harvest Thanksgiving service will still take place on September 25.
Back to Church Sunday: Takes place on September 25—invitation cards and posters are available today.
Roses: There is now another opportunity to buy a rose in commemoration of a loved one or a special event for the flower bed in front of the church. Please contact Velia Ellis on 856273.