Yealm and Erme Mission Community
The Parish Churches of Holbeton, Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo
All Saints, Holy Cross and St Peter's, Revelstoke
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Dear Friends

What an amazingly hot summer we have enjoyed this year! I know it hasn’t suited everyone and, as I love the heat, I have constantly felt guilty about my own pleasure, while knowing how hard it has been for the farmers and gardeners. As I write, it is a little cooler and there is the promise of some rain. However, we are soon to visit Zambia, where it will be hot and dry, and where waiting for rainfall is part of the annual cycle of life. Water is a scarce resource in African countries and most people who live there use it with care. Many still have to carry it on their heads from standpipes or bore holes.  

As global warming speeds up, we are all faced with questions about our use of God’s world and its resources. We enjoy daily the wonders of creation -  land, sea, water and all forms of natural beauty. It is easy to take these gifts for granted and to forget to thank God for them. We may also forget that some God-given resources are finite and that our excessive use of them may mean that others are deprived. The gradual disappearance of the rain forests is one example of this, and we are all guilty!

I have often spoken about living with ‘an attitude of gratitude’, which is what St Paul tried to teach the churches he founded. ‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’ (1Thessalonians 5:16-18).  Some of you do that wonderfully well and are an example to us all. A recent conversation with someone who was close to the end of life inspired me to try to list in my head all the ways God has blessed me in life. It was a huge list, and I would certainly have omitted at least half of all possible ways.

The more we give thanks for the world’s God-given natural resources, the more we will value and not waste them. The more grateful we are for our material possessions, the more we will be led to share them. Your incredible generosity in sharing what you have has enabled us to buy a large quantity of medical resources for the hospital we support in Zambia and we know how grateful the staff and patients will be. Thank you for your kindness and for helping us to share with these very poor people, who are dependent on an under-funded hospital for their life and health.

Let’s all keep counting our blessings and celebrating them. This will be particularly important as we move forward in re-organising our deanery and sharing our resources more widely. An attitude of gratitude will enable us to work joyfully together to grow God’s kingdom in our parishes and beyond.God bless you all.