Special collection THIS Sunday for The Apostleship of the Sea
Dear Brothers and Sisters
On Trinity Sunday I showed you the ikon called “The Trinity” by Rublev. I mentioned that it is also called the “Hospitality of Abraham” after the occasion when Abraham met “The Lord” in the guise of three men and offered them refreshment.
Well, hospitality once again comes to our attention this week – from the simple and generous welcome that Elisha received from the Shunammite woman who made a small bedroom for him on the roof and kitted it out with bed, table and lamp – to the gospel where Jesus, once again in challenging mood, seeks to expand the horizons of family such that we begin to see all people as my brother, sister, mother or father.
What has our belief in God got to do with hospitality? In short – everything!
Hospitality is that going beyond the usual boundaries of family, kith and kin to make another welcome and “special” – to feel that they have, even though sometimes for a short while only, become a part of our family, my family, your family. In doing so we then expand our hearts to fit a larger reality – especially if we reach out to those beyond our normal circle. This, says the ikon of Rublev, is what the Holy Trinity is all about – hospitality, welcome, and inclusion. As the three figures relate to each other around Abraham’s table they leave space for another. That “other” is you, or me, or indeed any person at all for the Blessed Trinity is boundless and unchoosy about who comes to table with It and shares in the banquet. That’s why heaven is so often described as a banquet. It is a place of welcome, of true friendship and a complete lack of judgementalism and around a table.
We, here on earth, have some way to go. So often we choose to “dine” as it were with those like us. With those we approve of. With those who can reciprocate. In global terms very few people are welcomed at our table and we are prone to taking the little that some people have at their table and using it ourselves. But Jesus says powerfully today in the gospel that “If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones .., then I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward” To be generous is to be “like God.” To desire communion of heart and mind and life is to be “like” God. To welcome the stranger and bring them to our tables is to be “like” God. To include all sorts of people “in” is to be “like” God. To go out of our way for the stranger is to be “like” God. To be miserly, inward looking, ungenerous, clique-ey, exclusive, judgemental, superior, aloof, and a whole bunch of other negative stuff is to be unlike God. I want our parish and all its people to be “like” God. I need to start with me, of course, but the question is – will you join me?
With my love, your priest
INDUCTION MASS for Natalie McCarthy, Headteacher of St Cuthbert Mayne School.
Thursday 6th July at 1.45pm.
Like a new parish priest, a new Headteacher is inducted into the school and parish community as they take on a leading role within, and for, that community.
Mrs McCarthy’s Induction takes place early next month. It is a parish, school and a diocesan celebration to which all parishioners, parents, grandparents and children are invited.
During the Mass Mrs McCarthy will be asked about her commitment to the school and we will be asked about our commitment to her as our new Headteacher.
Please save the date and make it a priority to be there.
SUNDAY 16TH JULY
Picnic on the Common
from 12 noon opposite the Baptist Church.
All the Churches in Cranleigh are getting together for a picnic in the park on the common on Sunday 16th July. Please support this event and come and meet our brothers and sisters in the Methodist, Baptist, and Anglican churches of our village. Hopefully a lovely day, please bring food and drink for your own family and friends and be prepared to share! Also, some games might be an idea.
Available Vacancy in Pease Pottage Part-time Secretary to Bishop Richard – 21 hours per week Pease Pottage. Reporting to Bishop Richard, you would have duties such as typing correspondence and liaising with the Catholic Press to provide notification of the Bishop’s Diary. Record-keeping tasks would include updating basic financial spread-sheets and databases. You would also be responsible for ordering supplies, co-ordinating property maintenance projects and liaising with the Finance team in Hove to monitor the house budget. Support and training will be given. Please contact Sarah Kilmartin: telephone: 01273 859705 or email: email@example.com for an appli-cation form and job description. Closing date: Thursday 6th July 2017. Interviews will be held in Hove on Wednes-day 12th July (afternoon).
First Holy Communion 2017-18
Please sign up to the Parents Information Session using the Parish Events page.
First Holy Communion Helpers
This year’s FHC programme is all new and exciting. But, to be able to run it successfully we need the support of more people to help.
The helper’s role is to make the setting ready for the session and to get everyone ready for the session by leading a very short and simple time of prayer and worship. All the mate-rials are provided. Each meeting closes with a simple time of prayer as well.
There are twelve sessions in all but it may be that you can only help out at six. That’s fine. What we need is two people at each session for health and safety reasons and to support each other. So, if we have quite a few helpers the overall load will be much reduced.
Can you help or know someone who can? Please get in touch with the Programme Coordinator – Tracy Laffar on 272075 or firstname.lastname@example.org and offer your sup-port now. She can give you more detailed information and a rota can be arranged.
I do hope to be able to count on your support.
With my prayers and blessings
“Gift Aid Annual Statement letters are available hopefully at all Masses this weekend. If you Gift Aid your donations to the parish and you haven’t received your letter via e-mail, please make yourself know to me before / after Mass to collect a printed copy.
In total, I have to distribute 181 letters to parishioners. Over 100 of these are now sent out successfully via e-mail, which still leaves a good number to print and distribute by hand. Please consider whether you could receive yours electronically. I realise some of you may not have computers or e-mail, so there will always be a few requiring paper copies.
However, if you do have e-mail and you haven’t received an email from me about the option of receiving your letter via e-mail, it means that I don’t have an email address for you! If you would like to consider this option for the future, please e-mail me at email@example.com to provide me with your e-mail address and to confirm in writing that you would be happy to receive your Gift Aid Annual Statement letter electronically in future years.
Many thanks for all your generous support for the parish.
Confused about Fund Raising and Gift Aid?
The topic of Fund Raising and Gift Aid is quite tricky, but having received some helpful advice from the Diocese, I will attempt to clarify the rules.
1) Asking for donations for goods
Providing goods for sale, for example in a Table Top sale, and asking for a donation to charity (which may for example be the parish or possibly Pokot) instead of just selling the goods for a price, unfortunately does not make the donations from the recipients of the goods eligible for gift aid. The rule states: –
“A Gift Aid donation must not give any material benefit to the donor: it must be an absolute gift. Thus, Gift Aid must not include any part of money for … money spent at bazaars, fetes, etc. etc.”
This means that if a parishioner holds a ‘sale’ but asks for donations to charity as ‘payment’ for the goods, the recipients of the goods may not Gift Aid the money as they are receiving a benefit from the transaction. Neither can the person holding the ‘sale’ gift aid the proceeds as those proceeds are other people’s donations to the charity.
2) Selling goods and then making a donation
However, if a person has a sale of goods and keeps all the proceeds from the sale himself/herself, then the proceeds of the sale legally belong to the seller. The seller may subsequently decide to make a donation to charity – this may or may not include some or all of the proceeds from the sale. In this case, the money belongs to the donor rather than the people who bought the goods. Providing the person donating is eligible for gift aid, then this donation may be gift aided. And there is no reason why the person holding the sale cannot make it clear from the outset that they intend to donate the proceeds to the parish or Pokot. The important point is not to offer the goods in exchange for a donation to, for example, the Parish building fund or Pokot.
It’s a fine distinction but worth noting!
NEWS FROM POKOT: PROLONGED DROUGHT AND FAMINE.
The drought and famine have deteriorated in spite of donors and people of good will, who have responded generously to appeals for assistance in this Humanitarian Crisis.
The Pokot people are again experiencing one of the worst droughts in living memory. A few short showers with no real significance have come and dried up immediately. As reported in the official Early Drought Warning Bulletin, the larger East Pokot area is in drought conditions since June 2016. The elderly and the young children are the most vulnerable. They have been left behind as the youth have gone with the animals to search for pasture. This leaves the elderly and the children in a very vulnerable situation with few resources.
Last week we thought that the rains had come at last! It is reported that other areas in Kenya are suffering from flooding. Not so for East Pokot. We had about three to four days when temperatures became cooler with erratic showers, the showers were short lived, heavy at times but only for minutes. After these showers, it is back to high daily temperatures.
Most Pokot Communities have lost all their animals. Most of the cattle/cows have died, goats and camels are suffering from stress with zero milk production. As a result, the Pokot have lost their income and people are suffering, in some cases even resulting in death and disease.
Food is very scarce and very expensive throughout Kenya but mainly felt in areas like East Pokot and among the poor. Access to food is hindered by the grave security situation. Food being brought into East Pokot has been limited due to access roads being closed, lorries with food turned around and even looted.
Education is in a very fragile situation. For High Schools like Barpello parents are not able to pay the modest fees which are needed to pay staff and administer the school. The reality is that education here is in real jeopardy. Primary schools are slow to open for the second term. There is no food and little or no water. There is a huge drop-out rate among students in all primary schools. Teachers are few, as most of them come from outside East Pokot and have not returned to their schools because of insecurity.
The Holy Spirit Mission school in Barpello is a mixed secondary school of over 660 students. Most come from a very poor background. Their parents have a “hands to mouth” existence. Where to obtain food and water is a daily problem for the families. I see children passing through the Mission on their way to the local primary school. They carry a stick in one hand and some water in the other. The stick and water are to cook lunch, if they can get it. I suggest the back bone of the Pokot economy is in our past and present educated youth who will bring about a positive change and a leap into a better future for the marginalised poor. Educating them is expensive. Ignorance is even more expensive.
We wish to thank all the many groups and individuals who have continuously supported us in this drought and famine stricken East Pokot. I appeal for your ongoing support; and with it we will make a difference.
(Fr). David Conway, 26 June 2017