Well, Halifax must indeed be the Promised Land…it’s been much hotter here than any summers we’ve had down south (it’s always like that right?)…virtually no rain…rhubarb that’s still growing way past rhubarb season…and to top it all, as we turn from August into September – blackberries growing in the wasteland dump which passes for the Curatage back garden…which is improving gradually with the (almost willing) help of my kids! Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and all that – just need some apples to go with the blackberries for the next batch of Bramble Jelly, but I’m sure as this is the Promised Land, there must be some somewhere. Talking of the Promised Land, the other week someone in the Minster asked me where I came from, and I told them “Halifax”. All joking aside, I popped (or should I say “bobbed” now I’m in Yorkshire?) down South for a Wedding last weekend and got very homesick for Halifax!

So, where do we all belong? Hopefully we’d all say, “in God’s family”, and for the time being for me, like all of you, that means being part of God’s family here at the Minster and as part of the wider Benefice. One fun fact about September is that it’s the only month with the same number of letters in it as the number of the month…so with that in mind here’s nine things that being part of God’s family might mean for us all…

  1. Families have history. Life revolves around stories, and at the Minster I’ve noticed we seem to excel at telling our ‘story’. Our Welcomers do an absolutely amazing job and have very impressive skill sets to deal with whatever the day brings with a cheery smile and untold knowledge. Halifax Heritage Weekend (6th – 9th September) will soon be upon us with WW1 Sweetheart Pincushion Workshops and a talk from Lt Col Neil Stace, walking and bus tours, trips up the tower, and a Sans Illuminaire performance, all available for booking.
  2. Families enjoy entertainment together. Your opportunity to enjoy the Minster Organ Recitals is fast diminishing before the well-oiled wheels of the operation go into hibernation for the winter. Come along and chat with friends old and new over what always looks like an amazing lunch, before enjoying an Organ Recital. Thursdays 12:15pm for lunch; Organ Recital 1:00pm; optional Eucharist at 12:30pm between the two!
  3. Families delight in each other’s progress. Follow the progress of the outstanding Minster Choir as they went on Tour – find them on the Minster Facebook and YouTube.
  4. Families know and families care. Funerals, Weddings and Baptisms are very important life events; as part of God’s family we are privileged to be able to extend a warm welcome and embrace to those who come our way, even though it may be fleeting. May we welcome strangers in our midst during September, as in other months, as though we are entertaining angels.
  5. Families trust each other. PCC and Deanery Chapter continue their cycle of oversight and care. Please remember these important church bodies in your prayers; they carry out a vital and Godly function.
  6. Families have favourite seasonal events. I have it on good authority that our very own Revd Canon is rather partial to Michaelmas (29th Sept). As I like asking questions, I for one will be finding out why.
  7. Families eat together. The Friends of the Minster’s Afternoon Tea (strawberry scones, cakes and tea) is on Sun 30th, 2:30pm ‘til 3:45pm, followed by Choral Evensong at 4pm. Please do support them, they do an excellent job, and all you have to do is eat cake…what’s not to like?
  8. Families grow up. Nurseries, Schools, Colleges and Universities all start back in the coming weeks. Do pray for the local education establishments and for all those children in God’s family here, who will be starting the new academic year with everything which that brings with it.
  9. Families look out for each other. As God’s family here in this place, we have a wonderful opportunity to look out for each out, in love and compassion. Keep an eye out for anyone on whom you may be able to practice a Random Act of Kindness (google it if you need cheering up yourself!).

With much love and blessings to you all,