© 2018 Church Hulme Parochial Church Council  Registered Charity in England no. 1132587

Parish Church of St Luke - Holmes Chapel

October 2018 letter from our vicar, Revd Paul Mason

Dear friends

As I was doing the piece for this magazine ‘From the Registers’ I was again shocked and deeply saddened at one of the entries for Funerals. It was the funeral of Liam Slattery whose service was held in St. Luke’s last month. He was just 18 years of age. The others this month were 85 and 83 years respectively. Nobody flinches at that but 18?- that is no age to die. You die after your parents don’t you?- but Liam didn’t. You certainly die after your Grandma and Nanna don’t you? - but Liam didn’t. As you can imagine emotions were running high at the service. There were hundreds of people and thousands of tears were shed. As a vicar with 25 years experience of taking funerals nothing prepares you for this scenario. It is heart breaking. I try and get into the thoughts and feelings of the parents, as I’m sure you have, and it is awesome. It is so painful but you know, I move on to the next funeral or wedding or whatever, life goes on and the pain soon eases. For Liam’s mum and dad there is a pain that will be with them for the rest of their lives. Do pray for them as they try to come to terms with what has happened.

Two thoughts from this terrible tragedy. The question that is so easy to ask but impossible to answer is Why? Why so young? If God is so loving and all powerful why did he let it happen? Either he is not all loving or he is not all powerful. Christians and theologians have been trying to answer that question for centuries but have never really come up with a satisfactory answer. With faith there are many mysteries and many questions and this is one of them. We simply do not know and yet we still have faith. Why? Perhaps it is because of the other thought I have and this is a thought I shared at Liam’s funeral. The future after death is an unknown mystery. Christians have always had a belief in life after death but with little detail about what it will be like. The consolation I have and shared is that thought from the apostle Paul that Nothing, not even death itself, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. That is our hope and I leave it with you.

On Saturday 3rd November at 11.00am we will be holding our Annual Memorial Service when we will be remembering those who have died – the ones we love but see no longer. I always send personal invitations to the families I have ministered to and conducted funerals for. However this service is open to all and so I invite you to attend. There will be an opportunity to light a candle in memory of your loved one.

May God’s peace and comfort be with you.

Your friend and vicar