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Fr Ben's July Message

25 June 2024

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Fr Ben's July Message for Holy Innocents


Many of you were able to be at the recent Commemoration of D Day at the New Green Centre recently, and the lighting of the beacon, which I was honoured and privileged to be able to do.
I spoke about how those soldiers lives burnt briefly but brightly, as their sacrifice and that of their families secured a future for this country and indeed the world that rejects tyranny, division and hatred. Our lives could have been so very different, and some of us not alive at all if the Nazi ideology was allowed to take root and spread.

We are not entirely free of those ideas, however – many groups, but thankfully small, still adhere to the ideology of far-right eugenics, ethnic cleansing and dictatorship. Even the smallest presence of these groups in our societies is a concern.

However, what was also modelled rather well during the commemoration was the dignity, discipline and poise of our RAF Air Training Corp, Thurston 863 Squadron – a group of young people who gave a shining example of the youth of Thurston and surrounding areas. Their presence at the commemoration and especially their forming a guard of honour for the beacon, standing in quiet sentinel during the silence, gave the village a very real sense of occasion, enabling both the solemn contemplation and the grateful thanks for the fallen to be felt in this modern age. I genuinely feel so proud of the Squadron and of the Squadron staff who ably guide the cadets in their learning, duties and service to their community.

Those gone before paved the way for such organisations to continue to exist, to give young people opportunities to show their character, their skills and their talents – to find their particular place in our communities and wider society. God has a calling to each of us, that we may serve each other in so many different ways, to enrich the lives of those around us as they enrich us. When we all use our callings for the benefit of others in service, everyone benefits and our community is stronger for it.

So may I ask that if you are a young person, look to those groups that may be present in your community or at school or college – could you be part of something that you not only enjoy but has a way of serving others, either now or in the future?

 Maybe it’s a drama club, helping to entertain people – maybe its Scouts or Guides, learning how to find adventure and fun but also to help the community – maybe it’s a sports team to give your school or village or town pride in their achievements – maybe it’s a Cadet force such as the RAF Air Training Corp, learning valuable new skills, self-discipline and the importance of our common lives together – and maybe it is a faith group, learning about the mysteries of our lives, how we can make sense of them and how they work best when we serve each other. 
Maybe it’s a group that doesn’t yet exist – could YOU be the person to start that club/attract that organisation locally?

 And if you are a parent or carer, could I ask that you encourage your young folk to take that leap, to try things out, give it a go and see if it a place or space that they fit into? 

We can only serve when we are served in turn – we can only pour ourselves out in loving service when we are filled by kindness and grace and love ourselves. If we are all able to do that, then we can keep the fires burning brightly, that all may warm themselves around them. Amen


The Rev'd Fr Benjamin Edwards
Vicar of Great Barton & Thurston