One of the privileges of ministering in the Church of England is the parish system. This means I have a responsibility to look out for the welfare and wellbeing of all who live in Mill End, Heronsgate, West Hyde and Maple Cross. Sometimes that will involve speaking up for the people in the communities I serve, especially when they are faced with injustice. Sometimes that will involve working with you (as councillors). Sometimes when those in most need are affected through the loss of community facilitates (whether that be bus routes or community sports facilities) that will involve me speaking out.
I was reminded of all of that when I was at a meeting in Maple Cross last night where we discussed extending the reach of the Rickmansworth foodbank and establishing a new Community Cafe to seek to provide a hot meal to local families who otherwise wouldn't easily have access to that during school holidays.
You might say that as a representative of the church I should stay away from decision making like that as it sounds overtly political. But I cannot but seek to when the one I follow, namely Jesus, calls me to love my neighbour as myself.
The way that Jesus teaches its all about relationships with neighbours whoever they are, whether they are refugees, asylum seekers or EU nationals.
One of my heroes of faith, Desmond Tutu once said 'the Gospel for a hungry person is bread.' Bread could be housing, education or access to health care - it's about practically meeting the need of those most in need in our communities.
I look forward to continuing to working with you to ensure that those in greatest need get support because Jesus tells us to and because it's the humane thing to do.
Let us pray.
Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made us in your own image: teach us to discern your hand in all your works and your likeness in all your children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
Living God, deliver us from a world, counties and communities without justice and a future without mercy; in your mercy, establish justice, and in your justice, remember the mercy revealed to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.