The Message

Dear Friends

This year's summer fete had the theme of 'celebration'. Why? Well, because there has been much to celebrate during 2018, which marks the centenary of the end of the First World War, as well as the centenary of the emergence of the Royal Air Force out of the Royal Flying Corps. There has also been much to celebrate, of course, in relation to the royal family: the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, and the arrival of Prince Louis, third child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. On the sporting front, we were hoping to celebrate 'football coming home' with our team winning the World Cup; in the end, it was not to be, but we were able to celebrate Gareth Southgate's remarkable management of the young England squad - to reach the semi-final was, in itself, a great achievement.

Depending on one's point of view, there is, perhaps, less to celebrate on the political front at present as Brexit negotiations continue to prove divisive, and I am writing this during the weekend of the visit of the President of the United States of America to Great Britain - a visit which, to say the least, has proved contentious.

In the Church, however, in good times and bad, there is always much to celebrate and for which to give thanks. During August there are two major feasts: the first, the Feast of the Transfiguration, we shall be observing on Sunday, 5 August - it is one of the most profound and theologically rich of themes, as we ponder again on the mystery of the way in which the divinity of Christ was momentarily revealed to his closest disciples on the mountain (see the parallel narratives in Matthew 17: I -9, Mark 9:2-10 and Luke 9:28-36). Only one week later, on Sunday 12 August, we shall be thinking especially of our patron saint, St Mary. I am delighted to say that Fr David Twinley, currently fulfilling the role of Archdeacon of Chichester, has kindly agreed to preach at the 1O.00am service - we look forward very much to welcoming him on that occasion.

In the meantime, happy holidays to you all.

Stephen