How often do we say to ourselves “I think I need to begin again”? I can think of many times when I say this to myself, not least when I am writing my monthly article for the Gazette!
September is a time of the year when many of us begin again. Even though I retired from teaching eleven years ago, I still look at each year as comprising of three school terms. The beginning of the January term is all about the beginning of a new calendar year with the whole year lying before us. The summer term, starting after Easter is the time of year when, hopefully, the cold weather is behind us and we look forward to summer.
But what about the September term? I would argue that in some ways this is the most significant of all. The summer is drawing to a close and autumn is just around the corner. The days are getting shorter and we wake up to misty mornings. But to our children and young people this can be a very significant time of year. It might be that the very young are starting school for the first time or even pre-school. Children already at school might be moving to a new class or even to a different school. And there are those who might be leaving school to go to university, college or employment.
Our young people are so important to us, and that applies to the church as well as to society in general. I have heard it said that our children/young people are the future of the church. I disagree with that. I firmly believe that they are the church, here and now. They are as much a part of the church as everybody else, young and old.
In the bible we read that Jesus loved children for their innocence. He valued their simple, uncomplicated trust, and absence of pride. He taught everybody that entering heaven is not about great scholarly knowledge, admirable accomplishments, or social status. It only requires faith in God.
At the Parish Church we have a special service on the first Sunday of the month when we welcome families, especially families with children. The children are invited to attend “Sparks” which meets at 9.30am in church for a session of teaching and activities before the main service begins at 10.00am. Why not give it a try?
So this September let us remember the young, and in particular all those children and young people who will be beginning something new.
Jesus said: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Best wishes to you all
Licensed Lay Minister and Churchwarden