Dear brothers and sisters,
I do hope that the current hot weather is proving to be more of a blessing than a trial for you. As someone who loves being outside, I feel generally positive about a warm, dry summer as opposed to the damp, grey variety we often seem to have! However, I do encourage you to keep an eye on your neighbours, particularly the more vulnerable members of our community, to ensure that people are coping with the long, hot days.
For many of us, July and August are times to get away, switch off and relax with friends and family. This is certainly true in my household as the Smith clan will be heading off with Bert, our faithful trailer tent, for a touring holiday on the continent. I will also be part of a large group of Brentwood churches taking youth groups to the Christian festival Soul Survivor later in August. Please pray for us as we spend time in worship, prayer and fancy dress, (it is a youth event!) and for the 30,000 or so young people gathering over the four festivals this summer.
Summer Sunday’s in Hutton
For those of you staying closer to home, we have made sure that there are opportunities to gather over the summer Sundays in the parish. The 3 usual Sunday gatherings will all take place as usual – 8am, 9.30am and 11.15am – plus we have some special Children’s Church activities for those who attend the 9.30am service at St Peter’s:
These all take place during the service and all are welcome. Please let us know if you're coming using the Facebook page here.
The summer culminates with a Parish Picnic on Sunday 26th August at 12.30pm. We will meet on Hutton Recreation Ground for food, fellowship and games! Just bring some lunch, a chair or rug and then join in with as much or as little as you like – this is open to all and I hope to see as many of you there as possible. Please also invite any friends or neighbours you think would like to come.
Blessing of the Bags
September has plenty in store for the parish and each of us as disciples. It is a 5 Sunday and I’d like to start the next academic year giving thanks to God for all he has given us. So, on Sunday 2nd September please bring your bag to church with you. If you are starting or heading back to school - bring your school bag. If you work in the City - bring your briefcase. If you stay at home and look after the children - bring the changing bag with you! If you are retired – bring your handbag or a gardening tool! Whatever it is you do, bring along a bag or a small item to represent it so that we can offer those things back to God and bless them as we head off into the Autumn. This idea comes from “Back to School Sunday”, where the church prays for children and young people before the new school year and blesses their school bags. I would like to extend this to us all as a reminder that God has blessed us all with education, employment, purpose and our livelihoods and we should seek his blessing on all we do.
The remaining 4 Sundays in September will be focussed on giving and stewardship. We will be using the Giving in Grace material to help us to think about how we support the mission and ministry God has given us here in Hutton. It is a chance to review how we give financially to the church and why it is important that as Christians we give back to God a percentage of all he has blessed us with. There will be more information about this as we approach September but, in the meanwhile, please pray for the team preparing the materials and information. Please also think and pray about your own giving, asking God to guide you on how he wants you to steward that which he has given you.
I hope you all have a peaceful and relaxing summer and I look forward to seeing you at some point over the coming weeks.
With every blessing,