I was delighted to be at our school in Fordham on Armistice Day, 11 November, to lead collective worship and then to take part with all the school in the silence at 11 am. I was especially moved at the superb behaviour of our children in maintaining the silence. We had just shared something of the story of why November 11th is such a special day, and, later on Wednesday and Thursday, each child was presented with a commemorative mug from the Three Rivers Group of churches to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. A very generous benefactor came forward and donated the costs of the mugs, which were also given to primary children at Isleham and Kennett schools too. Thank you.
Then the poppy appeal in Fordham in particular raised over £3600, some £700 more than last year. A huge thank you to all who contributed and to Jean Carlton and others who work so hard for the appeal.
The at the time of writing this the terrible news from Paris, of so many murdered in a short space of time in mid-November, for so many while out enjoying the end of the week at football, a concert and in cafes eating an evening meal. And all that after a large number murdered in Beirut and after the crash of the Russian air liner in the Sinai desert this month. Violence appearing to have the upper hand and mayhem, terror and confusion spreading around the globe. What is it that radicalises some to carry out such terrifying and terrible acts? For it is clearly not what Islam is all about, or any other form of extremism for that matter either.
For me it reinforces a real desire to ensure our young people hear and understand basic tenets of Christian and so many other faiths that love for God, neighbour and self should be at the heart of all that we believe and then put into effect in our daily lives. But we have to know it, and what it means, and we have to avoid knee jerk responses which seem to reinforce the negatives and the evil in our midst.
As we prepare for the arrival of the Prince of Peace, Jesus himself, at Christmas, let’s all reflect on what we can do to make our villages, and God’s world a safer place where we can all flourish.