Today it has rained for the first time in a long time. The garden is very dry and the grass brown. There is a hose ban already in the North West, and we are all encouraged to use water sensibly. We are reminded of our mission partners in Tanzania, Africa, where many villages still have no mains supply of water or electricity. Its tends to be mainly the women and children whose role it is to collect water, and to carry it in large containers on their head. Wakefield Diocese had a campaign called Water for Life, as wells were dug and rainwater goods were put on Churches, to collect the water when the rains eventually come. I was able to see this for myself first hand when I went to Africa a few years ago. Because of the shortage of water, when it does rain, they call it a Blessing from God!

In October we shall have two visitors from Tanzania: Peter Oyoo the Link Officer from our Mission Partner at the Cathedral Church of St Peter at Kowack; and Melina Galibona who runs the Safe House for Mara Diocese in Musoma. Some of us will remember Rhobi Samwelly, who set up the Safe House and came to preach here a few years ago? It will be good for us to renew our partnerships across the Anglican Communion and strengthen the Africa link. In order to bring some focus to our International work, it is my hope to re build the Social Justice Vision Group, and to encourage a group of us to come together and help to remind the whole community of the world’s poor, and of our responsibility as Christians to remember them in prayer and solidarity.

In November, a group of us from the Minster will travel to our other International partners in Aachen, Germany. We shall be attending Memorial Day on Sunday 18th November, when Germany has a national day of mourning for those who died in conflicts past and present. This comes the weekend after Remembrance Weekend, when we shall host a German delegation here in Halifax. In these awful days of Brexit, our friendships between the churches and peoples of Europe, need to be strengthened and sustained, more so now than for many years. Next year will be the 70th anniversary of the Halifax Aachen link.

Some of us will be leaving these shores for summer holidays and going to many places across Europe. The Anglican Communion has always been part of the glue of European Communities over hundreds of years, albeit a left over from Colonial days. Whilst our history is not always a pretty one, we have an important role to play as Christians, as Brexit not only leaves our nation torn and divided, but also has the potential to significantly damage the relative peace Europe has enjoyed for the past 70 years. The fall out should we leave Europe without any deal doesn’t bare contemplating as jobs across Europe will crash, medicines, security, scientific research, and the freedom of movement all comes to a halt. It’s clear from the end of Parliament before the summer recess, that the future of the government, at this significant time, hangs in the balance. Let’s hope the summer allows the politicians time to reflect and to come to some kind of sense, as we are all desperate to see strong governance supported by a strong opposition, as currently we seem to have neither?!