Church's role in bringing us together
THE bunting may still be flapping in the wind, but what else are we left with in the wake of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations?
Churches rekindling a sense of community, getting to know people, building friendships and welcoming everyone to party.
Celebrating what we hold in common in true British style regardless of the weather. Memories of local street parties and cream teas as well as extensive TV coverage of events in London and elsewhere.
Whatever you got up to, I hope the Jubilee had a positive impact on your local community.
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This weekend is also an opportunity to celebrate another aspect of community as we show our support for past and present servicemen and women and their families and the contribution to this country of our Armed Forces.
Once again the church is called to support individuals and families in prayerful and practical ways and so bring the love of God, which has been shown to us in the Lord Jesus, into the heart of our society.
A lot has recently been said about the government's idea of the 'Big Society'.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been critical of the Government's failure to define what it means, speaking of the suspicion that voluntary groups were being expected to pick up responsibilities shed by the government.
But I think we rediscovered something about the nature of the Big Society during the Jubilee celebrations – that it is rooted in local communities coming together and supporting each other.
Central and local government do have responsibilities to provide us with services, but at the same time we find that there is so much untapped potential within our communities to support one another.
The Christian church has a pivotal role to play in bringing people together.
The Greek New Testament word for church is 'ekklesia' – which means gathering or assembly.
Coming together is at the heart of what it means to be church.
The mission of the church is to communicate God's love for every individual and to draw them into a deeper relationship with him and their fellow neighbour.
I hope the church can maintain momentum as we head into the rest of this exciting Olympic year and be the catalyst for community cohesion and transformation.
So, don't wait for the government to define the Big Society – just do it (to coin a phrase).
Ian Turner, administrator, Churches Together in Plymouth