Dear friends,

On Monday this week the veteran BBC newsreader George Alagiah died, following a nine-year battle with bowel cancer. Just hours after his death was announced, BBC viewers watched a final message from the television presenter – who was brought up in a Tamil Christian household – in which he said that he had ‘got to a place to see life as a gift… I feel that gift keenly every morning‘.

An attitude of gratitude is one of the hallmarks of being a Christian, and it should not of course take the shadow of serious illness to remind us that all we have and all we are is a generous gift from our heavenly Father. Each morning we should indeed rejoice for God’s gift of a new day – and each Sunday at Mass we should likewise give thanks to God for the week just past and the new week ahead of us. The human instinct to gratitude is a gentle Creation-reminder that, behind every gift lies the Giver: may George, and all the faithful departed, rest in peace.

I am continuingly grateful for your generosity and commitment – and am delighted to report that the recent parish barbecue raised an impressive £925 for parish funds. Also, our “Sea Sunday” collection in aid of the Mission to Seafarers raised a heartening £512.05 (+ Gift Aid).

Next week on Saturday, 5 August, there will be a parish outing to St Alban’s Abbey, to join the Rt Rev’d Norman Banks, Bishop of Richborough, as he offers Mass in the cathedral. Morning Prayer will be said in church at 9.00am: please then gather at 9.15am at St Mary’s, for a prompt 9.30am departure by coach. Please bring a packed lunch, to eat in Bishop Norman’s garden. There is one spare seat on the coach: please let me know ASAP if you wish to join usOn this occasion, there will be no 6pm Vigil Mass.

Please find attached an Assumptiontide invitation from All Saints, Margaret Street, and details of the Bereavement Care annual conference this autumn.

With thanks, and with love,

Fr Richard