As I look out of the Vicarage window on this May morning rain is pouring down and saturating the splashing the wild bird’s food tray. Yesterday our Harry played his last cricket match for his School (incidentally, batting superbly for 25 overs) bathed in Mediterranean sunshine that was so hot that the spectators sought refuge in the dining hall! The British weather certainly does not reflect the moderate temperament of its people.
Faith is not a fair weather matter; we keep going come rain or come shine. There are significant events this month in Church that remind us of this fact. The first of course is the confirmation service on the 22nd of June. Confirmation marks a significant point in a person’s Christian journey. Promises are made about intention to go on living the pilgrim’s life and following in the way of Jesus “unto our lives end.” That takes stamina!
But there is another event in June about which everyone should be aware. And that event relates to Neville Foote. 70 years ago this June, in 1944,Neville landed on Juno Beach in Normandy as part of the allied invasion of Europe that was to lead to the eventual capitulation, complete and total surrender of Nazi Germany. Those of us who have been privileged to spend time with Neville, chatting with him about his experiences, will readily acknowledge his extraordinary humility and self deprecation. What is also evident as his Vicar is his solid Christian faith that sits at the very centre of his spiritual life alongside his ever ready supporter and best friend, Lena. Come rain come shine in those dark wartime years as Neville soldiered his way across Europe with his Regiment his faith was with him, no doubt challenged and battered. But nonetheless he prevailed and there we see him today with Lena, 70 years later, every Sunday (mostly) kneeling at the altar making his communion, saying his prayers, thanking God, keeping faithful, never giving up.
This month, and especially as the events of the Normandy invasion are remembered, give an especial prayer of thanks for Neville who, come rain come shine is faithful, a fine Christian man, of deep conviction and generous heart.
Thank you Neville.