As I write the letter this month, the fire tenders are still trying to put out the fire that has consumed Grenfell House, the tower block in London, with such tragic consequences. Amid all the grief, shock and despair, one of the positive images was that of tables laden with clothes, food and other necessities, as people in the neighbourhood rallied round in support of those who had lost everything. In the midst of the horrors of fire; and terrorism; this summer, the instances of community spirit, support, love and courage, have been uplifting, and reassuring.
In contrast, I expect that many of you heard the news item about Naveed Yasin, a doctor in Manchester, who was on his way home after spending 48 traumatic hours trying to help the victims of the Manchester bombing, when he was subjected to racist abuse. I am glad that in both Manchester and London, British people of all religions and race have stood side by side, in solidarity against extremism and terror.
Jesus told a story about a man who was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho, along a lonely road, when he was attacked by robbers, who stole all he had and left him for dead. You will remember that it was the Samaritan, a man belonging to a religious group despised by the Jews, who was the one who had the courage and compassion to stop and help.
The message of the story was not that Samaritans are all good, and Jewish priests and Temple workers are all bad. The message is that it is what we do, that shows who we really are; or as Jesus put it, by their fruits you will know them.
May our sense of community and fellowship increase and develop. Because it is in unity and respect, that goodness wins, and terror and hatred are overcome.
With my prayers,