Dear friends,

The great prophet Amos, who – as this Sunday’s first reading relates – spoke in the name of the Lord to God’s people, was nevertheless taken from life as a shepherd, ‘herding the flock, andlook[ing] after sycamore trees‘: his example reminds us that, however ordinary we might consider our own life’s circumstances, yet God has a plan and a purpose for us, and a message for the world which – through us – He wishes to share. Let us then carefully listen for the voice of the Lord – in the words of Scripture, in the sacred liturgy and teaching of the Church, and in our own practice of private prayer, daily; and let us then with confidence offer ourselves for service in His Name.

The body of the late Peter Coe will be received into church on Thursday, 11 July at 4.30pm, and Vespers of the Dead will then be celebrated. Peter will rest in church overnight, and the usual Masses on Thursday at 6pm and Friday at 9.30am will be offered, before his Funeral Mass at 11am. To all of these services, all are welcome.

On Saturday, there will be no public Evening Prayer – but the Vigil Mass will be celebrated as usual at 6pm. I go away on my annual retreat immediately after Mass on Sunday: in consequence, there will be no public services at all on Tuesday next week (18 July); on Wednesday, there will be no public Morning Prayer – but Fr Jason Rendell will kindly join us to say Mass as usual at 9.30am; on Thursday next week, Morning Prayer will be said slightly earlier than usual, at 9.30am – and Fr Jason will again preside at Evening Prayer at the usual time of 5.45pm, and Mass at 6pm. We are hugely grateful to those priests who generously offer Mass cover in my absence: please support these services, and offer Fr Jason a customary St Mary’s warm welcome.

Despite the inclement weather, last Saturday’s parish barbecue was a triumph, and also raised the stunning sum of £766.08, for parish funds. Thank you to all who worked so hard on this occasion, and to all who supported the barbecue. I have however been asked to point out that several tickets were reserved but not paid for: please in future pay for outings and events at the time of booking, so that the parish does not lose money, for example, by purchasing food for those who do not then turn up to eat it.

Please sign the list in church to participate in the Walsingham Pilgrimage of Healing and Renewal, on Bank Holiday Monday, 26 August. The cost for a seat on the coach is £20pp (£5 under-18s), and should be paid promptly to secure your place.

All are welcome to the ALMA Sunday Eucharist at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday, 21 July at 5.30pm, to celebrate the Diocese of London’s link with the Church in Angola and Mozambique.

This Sunday’s second reading repeats our first reading’s theme of calling and commission, acknowledging that God chose us in Christ, to offer lives in praise of His glory. May He continue to bless you with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ,

Fr Richard