Dear Friends,

As Christians we should, through the various trials of our earthly existence, always leave the way open in our minds for the consideration that, actually, no matter how bad and difficult things might seem to be in the moment, God is entirely capable of actually using those very circumstances about which we sometimes complain to bring about a new benefit for us. This is a theme that fills much of the Old Testament, and certainly points ultimately to the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord Himself.

The patriarchs Abraham and Jacob learned the ways of the Lord to help and guide them by means of the great dificulties that they experienced, and the people of Israel partook of a cup of great suffering in the very experiences in Egypt that eventually brought about the circumstances used by God to release them from domination and slavery and make of them a special people for the world.

I suppose that in a minor sort of way my household experiences recently have witnessed to the same truth: storm “Grace” did damage to our roof, as it did to a number of us in this area. The need was to get it repaired as soon as possible and it was not clear at first what person or company might be called. I remember praying about it (in the kitchen I think) and a name immediately popped into mind. This was a few days after I had messaged to someone else to consider doing it but that person has never answered to this day - and the the roof repair was completed today, by the person whose name came to mind after prayer.

Suffice it to say that this gives me a lot of confidence that some of the other “pending repairs/projects” that have been in mind with our house can perhaps find the way to completion in due course! And if it hadn’t been for storm “Grace” … well, let me just say that, for us anyway, the storm was (when all is said and done) well named. 

The Collect for the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity is

LORD, we beseech thee, let thy continual pity cleanse and defend thy Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without thy succour, preserve it evermore by thy help and goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The prayer, through the word “continual” in the description of the Lord’s cleansing agent as “continual pity”, shows us that by the means of any power of its own the Church could never be described as “infallible”. At all times of its existence the Church has in its earthly nature shown extreme fallibility. The Church is like a structure beset by hurricanes from all quarters that repeat their destructions upon it age upon age, and so we are impelled to pray for her continuance age upon age. And so because of the restoring and salvific influence of the Lord’s “succour” - his sustaining help - it carries on in relative safety in spite of the destruction occurring all around and even from within. Not without injury from time to time, being “preserved evermore” by the Lord’s “help and goodness” the Church will endure to the end of time.

For directions about the services this Sunday the 19th September the Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity, please see the website  . Please also note the “red-letter day” on Tuesday.

In reliance upon the mighty power of the Triune God to keep us faithful to and in all truth, I am in your service 

Bishop Nicholas

P.S. Once again, very many thanks for the fine congregational response to the Samaritan’s Purse appeal for a share of our tithe. This appeal is now closed.