What a relief to have got through the two month Go and Grow fundraising push. Although the campaign continues, we can now focus our energy on the core of the project - the growth of the mission and ministry of St Bs. And we can do this praising God that we have made our targets, at least for now.
Jane and I went away for few days at half term to visit our daughter who is currently working in France. And so we set off for the continent on an overnight Brittany Ferries crossing. The part of France we visited, the town of Laval and its hinterland, is not on the usual tourist trail and despite many holidays in France we had never been there before. We were almost instantly enthralled by its charms. The people were friendly and outgoing in contrast to the surly reputation that the French are sometimes tarred with. The towns were delightful and the gently rolling countryside was very attractive. But scratch beneath the surface and the entire panoply of human struggles were also there - poverty, unemployment, relationship breakdown, addiction and hopelessness. So often the world presents better than it actually is. Coming home after our short break made me wonder what a visitor to Finchley would think. Would they be wowed by our vibrant cultural diversity, bowled over by the exciting plethora of excellent restaurants, thrilled by the easy access both into central London and out into the delightful home counties countryside. Or would they understand that in every community there is another, often hidden, story. Whether we know it or not, we are surrounded by a multitude trapped in the quiet desperation of lives that have not lived up to the dreams of youth. Whether in Finchley or in France people are the same the world over - lost without Christ. Through Go and Grow we intend to shine as a beacon of hope that there is another way, another life.