I always like to look forward rather than backward. Maybe I'm just not quite old enough yet to be in permanent reminiscence mode! Seriously, though, there does come a time in life when there is little to look forward to. One way people cope with the approaching end of life is to say “I hope the Lord takes me.” Relatives might or might not take issue with this. But we have all known people, sometimes seriously ill, in other cases simply tired, whose time, one can see, has come. The oldest known person in the world died recently and he had a couple of bits of advice. One was, “Keep working as long as you can,” and the other was “We are all born to die.” Acceptance, then, is one way of dealing with the fact that there is no future.
Denial is another. I don't mean I expect to cheat death. But I do hope and pray that I shall, even at the end, hold on to Christ's promise that there is life beyond this earth. What did he say to the man hanging beside him on a cross? “Today you will see me in paradise.” Now I can't put details into the life to come, like sitting on a cloud or playing a harp. But I do believe that promise is for me and for you as well. Whatever eternity might be like it will involve meeting Jesus. So, surely, there is always something to look forward to. This is the Easter faith.
Leaving such lofty thoughts aside for the moment, there are quite a few events to note this month. From that varied selection there may well be something to interest all our readers. May 15th is the beginning of Christian Aid Week. If you get an envelope through your door – and if you live in Wentworth, you should – before throwing it in the bin, think twice. First, someone has taken the trouble to deliver and, later, to collect it. It is a bit churlish just to discard it. Second, if your grandchild was malnourished and there was no food for them, how would you feel? If your spouse had a life-threatening but curable illness and nobody could afford the medication, would you consider that right? A wage might enable you to buy either, but if there was no work, you couldn't. All those are real examples of daily existence for many people in Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America. And they are all instances where a charity like Christian Aid can and does help. One thing that struck me again and again when I travelled with the charity was the enormous difference that the loan of a tiny sum made to people's lives. They normally used this to set up market stalls. This gave a wage, they could buy what they required and – be it noted – almost invariably paid the money back with interest. And they gained another huge benefit, self respect. And you can give all that in your red envelope.
Some Christian Aid staff, including a former colleague, are cycling along the Trans-Pennine Trail during the Week. They are pausing at Wentworth Church for coffee on Wednesday 18th May at around 11.15 a.m. Do drop in to meet them and make them welcome.
On the same day there is an exciting opportunity to meet the Archbishop of York. You may well have seen Archbishop Sentamu on television or heard some of his forthright comments. He is certainly very far from being a stuffy church leader! Well, he is spending two days in South Yorkshire and all church people are invited to pray with him, hear him speak and to question him at the Elsecar Heritage Centre on May 18th from 7.30 p.m. This couldn't be more convenient for us! And I hope that a good number of people will want to go. We shall organise lifts for anyone who requires one.
Sometimes it's just nice to do things together without any purpose beyond that. So we are trying a short walk from church on Saturday May 14th. Just turn up at church at 10.00 a.m. And absolutely anyone is welcome. It isn't in any way for an 'in' group.
Another new departure is a concert by Richard Taylor, our music director, and Kate Hyland-Collier, his sister-in-law, on the following Saturday, 21st May, beginning at 7.30 p.m. You should find details later in this issue but, if not, come and pay at the door. You should hear some lovely music. By contrast, the Arts Festival on Sunday May 29th and Monday 30th has been an annual event for many years. Do come to see the many hundreds of pictures on display (and for sale), enjoy a cuppa and experience the many other attractions; there is really huge amount of things to do and to see throughout the village this year, and plenty for children too. If you are asked, please do consider helping. It is a massive event to put on and we do need as many people on call as we can get.
This month a series of programmes about relatively unknown country houses starts on BBC2. It is called 'Revealed' and, as most of you will know, will include an installment about Wentworth Woodhouse. I do not know when this will be screened, but look out for it! There may even be shots filmed within the church. It is interesting to know that Clifford and Kenneth Newbold, the present owners, intend to open part of the house to the public in a few years once they have completed further restoration. That should prove a major draw. But I hope that they and council planners will bear issues of traffic and parking in mind before going ahead. Traffic in the village is excessive at weekends already and having a major attraction like this on our doorstep could make daily life very trying for those who live on or near Main Street.
In conclusion, may I thank Sandra Davies for her help in setting up both the Trinity Toddlers and the Sunday School. Because her health is not always good Sandra has decided to pull out of both groups where her contribution has been invaluable. She is such a natural with small children! I'm glad to say that she is continuing to look after the altar in church and also dealing with child protection issues for Holy Trinity.