Dear Brothers and Sisters
St Paul’s Letter to the church in Ephesus is one of the loveliest. There are some absolutely beautiful passages throughout it that are well worth reading and thinking deeply about. Today, we are given a portion of the first chapter and what a fantastic first chapter! Novelists apparently try to arrest our attention in the first few lines, or paragraphs and St Paul has “totally nailed it” as the BGT judges are always saying.
There is so much in just this short 11 verses that could prove a very fruitful meditation. But I have chosen to look just at a single verse.
“Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence”
Somehow, in ways that we cannot fathom or imagine, we have always been in God’s imagination and in his desire. He has always wanted us to be in a loving relationship with him as he is love. He made us to be in a kind of eternal relationship with himself, through Christ – the Master craftsman – and he always wanted us to be holy and spotless. What does that mean?
Well, the Bible makes it clear, and theology underlines it, that only God is holy. Holiness is God. Holiness is what God is. But he made us to be holy. This can only mean that somehow, God made us to be like him. And indeed, in the Bible we find that we are made in the ‘image and likeness’ of God. We bear the imprint of the divine in our person. Yet, we are also totally human and God is divine. Perhaps, then, when we are most fully human then we are most God-like. Perhaps, when we raise ourselves, through grace (which perfects our nature) then instead of our humanity drawing us away from God it must draw is nearer to his likeness. This is a mystery indeed because we are used to saying things like ‘I’m only human’ meaning that we are flawed and weak. Yet to be fully human seems to mean so much more – then we become sons and daughters of the Most High.
Perhaps the single most remarkable way in which we demonstrate our humanity is in our capacity for love. Everybody needs to be loved by someone and an absence of loving relationships in our life does serious harm – we become isolated, anxious, needy and self pitying. Yet our loving relationships with others can be a reflection of the loving relationship we have with God – or can have. The last part of the little quotation from today’s Epistle talks of “live(ing) through love in His presence.” Somehow, when we chose to love, not hate; when we choose to love and forgive; when we choose to love and share; when we choose to love compassionately we live in God’s presence. The very act of loving opens us up to God’s presence in our lives – gives us access, we might say. This is why the call to love is the true Christian call. Someone asked Jesus whom we should love? Our neighbour, as the commandments state? Then who is my neighbour? This question was answered in one of Jesus’ most famous parables. I’ll leave the rest up to you.
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Fr David
The Bramley Parish Room will be closed
from 16th July for a week. This is due to redecoration of the main room, hallway and toilet. These rooms will not be available for use during this time. The office room will not be included and will be available, if required, for use during that week.
“You did not choose me but I chose you: and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide; so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give it to you. This I command you to love one another.” J 15, 16-17
As a parish community we would like to ensure that every family can get a break away during the summer holidays. Please let us know if you would appreciate some assistance in organising/funding a few days away. The forms to be filled are in the porches of both churches.
At the same time, we are appealing for your support for this initiative. We ask most importantly for your prayers. Secondly please let us know if you have a holiday place or any accommodation that you would be happy for somebody to use for part of the holidays. Last of all we would appreciate any financial support you can offer – there will be a second collection for this cause at the weekend of……………. If you would like to donate any funds directly to the Parish bank account, details can be obtained from the Parish Office. Please make sure that you specify the purpose of your donation as “holiday fund”.
Office Opening Hours
Please note the Parish Office will be closed Wednesday 11thJuly to Sunday 15thJuly. During the School Holidays Tracy will be in the office each Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of the week 9-12am with the only full week closure being 6thto 12thAugust. Messages can be left on voicemail or email for response during working hours. Thank you.
The Catholic Parish of St. Edmund’s, Godalming is looking for a part-time Parish Assistant to work initially 10 hours a week, administratively supporting the Parish Priest and his renewal team. Good administrative and organisational abilities are essential together with a capability of working with computers and digital communications. Knowledge of the Catholic Church would be a great advantage in this role as well as experience of working with people in a religious or pastoral setting. There is the expectation that in the future the number of hours worked will increase by mutual agreement. The hourly rate will be £10 – £12 per hour. For a job description and the details of how to apply please e-mail email@example.com. The closing date is Monday 9th July 2018.
First Holy Communion CoursePlease note you are able to register interest for your child to attend the next First Holy Communion course to the Parish Office. Once all interest has been received a letter will go to those registered inviting them to a parents session.
Peer Support Group for anyone facing depression or similar mental health concerns in Guildford, every Wednesday evening, 7.30 – 9pm,at The Spike Community Centre, Warren Road (next to St Luke’s Surgery and St Luke’s Square), Guildford, GU1 3JH. Hosted by PeerTalk, a charity underpinned by the Methodist Church, it offers a friendly and confidential space to share and be heard. No need to book. Just come along. More info at www.peertalk.org.uk/index.php/support-groups
Bishop Richard invites you to join him for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin with the Holy Father, Pope Francis: 21-26 August 2018 sees the arrival of the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, Ireland. The Diocese is making the most of this wonderful opportunity by organising a pilgrimage for those who would like to attend. It is open to families of all shapes and sizes, from tiny tots to Grandparents. We will be staying together in Dublin City University accommodation and travelling to events together by coach. A three day congress will be followed by a Festival of Families and a Solemn Eucharistic Celebration with Pope Francis.
If you would like more information about the event visit www.worldmeeting2018.ie/en/
If you would like to join us on pilgrimage, please speak to your parish priest about how he can support you financially, and for a booking form. Alternatively you can contact Lizzie or Katherine of the Diocesan Pastoral team firstname.lastname@example.org
Ride+Strideis a great initiative by Surrey Churches Preservation Trust, part of a national network dedicated to helping churches in need. The annual Ride+Stride takes place on Saturday 8th September, with the aims of raising money for church restoration & repair and having a fun day out.
Participants – both cyclists and walkers – ask friends and colleagues to sponsor them with an amount for every church they visit on the day. As an additional perk, many of these churches offer visitors delicious refreshments and an opportunity to look around.
The money that is collected through sponsorship is then divided into two. Half goes to the church of the cyclist’s choice; the other half is retained by the Surrey Churches Preservation Trust for distribution to churches in need. In the dozen or so years that Ride+Stride has been running in Surrey they have raised over £250,000 for the county’s churches.
Ride+Stride is a fun way to spend time on a pleasant afternoon in September while at the same time supporting a very worthy cause. Why not make up a group and join in this year?
For further information please visit the Surrey Churches Preservation Trust website.
We are grateful to the Surrey Churches Preservation Trust for their kind support of the Guildford Cathedral Appeal.
Running 10K for MS Samson Centre in Guildford
I am running my first ever 10K to help the Samson Centre, Guildford which provides wonderful support and services for MS sufferers. If you would like to sponsor me and you will see details here (I am third from the left in pic)
Thank you Christina Wyllie