Dear Friends

The holiday season proper is upon us, and I hope you'll all be able to find some time to relax. Perhaps that relaxation may include some quiet time spent with God alone, to meditate upon your faith and what it means to you specifically. God (or Jesus) may be something different to all of us. For instance, he may be father, shepherd, guide, teacher, saviour, companion, or a mix of all these, or even something completely different and special to us alone.

The role God plays in our lives will vary as our needs vary - perhaps even daily. One day we may need him as a father-figure - our heavenly Father; the next we may need him as our Friend.
As long as we're aware that God is always with us, in whatever role he plays in our lives, we have the comfort of knowing that we're never really alone.

Many of us live alone, and I'm told that it's the weekends, holidays, and the evenings, which are the worst. Those are the times when people with partners and families, socialise, and those people who live on their own are often forgotten. Perhaps we could make it our aim, this summer, to perhaps welcome at least one person who is alone to join with us - even if we ourselves are alone. That inclusivity will not only broaden and deepen our relationships and friendships, but may also make a huge difference to someone's wellbeing and mental health, and make them feel loved, wanted and cared for. And we all know how lovely it is to receive an invitation of any kind!

Jesus set us a wonderful example of outreach in his life here on earth, and Christian outreach is perhaps the main aim and challenge of the Church today. Reaching out in love will perhaps be what defines us as Christians in the eyes of others.

In my time at St Guthlac's, I've experienced first-hand your love, hospitality and welcome, as I've covered Reverend George's maternity leave, and I thank you all very sincerely for that. I shall continue to hold you all in my prayers, and pray that you will all carry on demonstrating your own very special brand of welcome and hospitality to others - this summer and always.

Every blessing to you all