Dear FrienKarends and Neighbours,

Summer has arrived, the wedding season is upon us – and what an incredible start there has been!! How many of you spotted the new flag flying from St Giles that weekend? Not every bride and groom will have the publicity and splendour surrounding ‘that’ wedding; but for each and every one of them it will be a very special day. They have come together after a time of planning and – yes, perhaps some stressful moments – but they will come together on that special day to celebrate their love and the beginning of a new phase in their lives. They have come together because they love one another, they want to commit to one another and they want to share that joy with those around them.

I believe that the deepest love comes from God. It is feely given to us all to be shared and to be valued; not held tightly within our own hearts but to be shouted from the hilltops. For me, the sermon preached by the head of the Episcopal Church in the USA, Bishop Michael Curry, was a wonderful reminder, some would say a lengthy reminder(!) but a wonderful reminder that God is the source of this deepest love for each other. So often ‘church’ is seen as a rigid and formal affair, but it shouldn’t be. It should be for a coming together of a family of people praising God and sharing his love and goodness. Rejoicing at His feast and then going out into His world to share that joy and wonder. We so often – as human beings – fail to live up to that calling, but it is where we should be striving to reach in every aspect of our lives, every day of our lives, using the gifts that God has given to each and every one of us. Different gifts which can be mixed and blended into a vibrant and loving community which cares for one another in good times and in bad.

Many of the hospitals and schools were originally founded by Christian communities working for all the people, not just a chosen few. Over the years those have been taken over by more formalised organisations, but sadly (in my opinion) they so often have lost the level of care that was originally intended. Those who have experienced hospice care will sense the difference. Hospices can offer a sense of peace and tranquillity, a sense of calm despite the stresses of the times and yes – there is that word again – love. Jesus came to augment the original ten commandments; he didn’t write another lengthy set of do’s and don’ts. He just showed us by his life how we should live. ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. Not rocket science – just caring for each other. As summer arrives and we are all outside more, let’s take time to talk to one another, to listen to one another and to care for one another.

May God Bless us all,