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Curate's Corner - May 2016

Curate’s Corner – May 2016

I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling 2016 is going to go down in history as the year in which we lost an extraordinary number of much-loved and highly-talented personalities from the world of music, television, film and radio.

We began the year with the sad news of David Bowie’s death – a man who, whatever you thought of his music, was clearly very gifted and influenced a generation or more of musicians. The following week we learned of the death of actor Alan Rickman, a man with a voice as distinctive as many of the characters he played, in particular ‘Professor Snape’ in the Harry Potter films.

Then we heard that Sir Terry Wogan had died, and new adjectives had to be found to describe the loss of such a well-loved household name. Frank Kelly of Fr Ted fame; Tony Warren, creator of Coronation Street; Paul Daniels, the cheesy but loveable magician who many of my own age-group grew up with on a Saturday night. Surely that would be the last of it for a while?

But two weeks later, another giant of the entertainment business (excuse the irony), Ronnie Corbett, died, giving an excuse, if one were needed, to watch that wonderful fork ‘andles sketch again! Then a real favourite of mine, Victoria Wood, followed just a couple of weeks later, and even since beginning to write this article, we heard of the death of the pop star ‘Prince’.

So many well-known and much loved personalities, all household names, each with their own unique gifts and contributions that they have made to all our lives.

Celebrities these days are often criticised for seeking the limelight; for creating a culture in which our young people aspire to be famous, just for the sake of fame itself. But perhaps the reason that the deaths of all these well-known figures has been so shocking and sad, is the many gifts they have shared with us over several decades. The gift to make music and to influence entire musical genres; the gift to lift our spirits by making us laugh; the gift to bring fictional characters to life on our screens in extraordinary ways.

Our lives are richer for the part that each one of them has played in them. To entertain others by using the gifts given to us by God, our creator, is a wonderful gift, both to give and to be received. We are immensely grateful for the unique contribution that each has made in our lives.

Of course, you don’t have to be famous to have made a difference to the lives of others; to have brought love, happiness, laughter and talent into the world. We all know what it is to experience the loss of someone close to us; someone whom we love and who has loved us. It is painful and hard, and we cherish the memories of them in our hearts.

Memories are precious; they are what keep us connected to those we love yet see no longer. At funerals, I always ensure that those who have come to say their farewells are encouraged to hold on to those memories; but I also try to offer them something else to hold on to in addition, and that is the hope that we have in the Christian faith; that through the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have the promise that death is not the end; that in death we are all made alive again in Jesus.

This month marks the first anniversary of the death of our much-loved Rector, Fr Martin. A loving husband, father and grandfather, his tragic loss at such a young age is still difficult to come to terms with. A man of great energy and vitality, who shared so capably the gifts given to him by the God he served so faithfully. His was not a life of celebrity or fame, but to those with whom he came into contact, he made real the Christian faith in a unique way.

To mark this anniversary, there will be two special services on Sunday 22nd May in Holy Cross Church. The first will be the 9.30 Parish Communion Service, at which Bishop Nicholas Reade, Martin’s Training Incumbent when he himself was a Curate, and close family friend, will be presiding and preaching. Then in the evening, a “Prom Praise Celebration” with Uckfield Concert Brass at 6.30pm, again in Holy Cross - an evening of hymns and music, and an opportunity to celebrate all that Martin gave to us in his short time in this community.

I would like to end by going back to that wonderful woman of comedy and entertainment, Victoria Wood, who, just before her death, made this wonderfully satirical reflection on life: “Life’s not fair, is it? Some of us drink champagne in the fast lane, and some of us eat our sandwiches by the loose chippings on the A597.”

We are grateful to all those who have contributed so much to our lives; for those who have entertained us and enriched our lives, and for all who have shared with us their unique gifts and qualities. They will be much missed.

Fr Mitch