As readers of Slaley news may have noticed, I sent the wrong file to the editors. This is what I intended to say …
I was delighted that so many people turned out last month to discuss the future of the village shop in Slaley. Margaret and Roy have gone way beyond the extra mile in keeping the shop open, but they richly deserve retirement.
What next? I’m delighted that group has emerged to help us think through the issues and explore new possibilities, but I’m also aware that the village shop is not just about the trade, important as that is. Margaret has made Slaley shop a village hub – a place where people connect with one another and learn the news that doesn’t make it to The Courant and the other papers stocked in the shop.
We need connections like these. The pub fosters them, of course, as do the various events that happen in the Commemoration Hall. Connections are vital. They keep communities alive. In any plans for the future, we’ll do well to remember this.
I would also hope that we in the churches can do our bit. It’s often said that the church is one of those things, along with a school, shop, pub and hall is a mark of a sustainable village, but just speaking for my own bit of it, I’m acutely aware that the Church of England often struggles to know how to use our assets to the greater benefit of our communities. I know too that if we fail to be on the side of our communities then we may die.
I say this because I’m convinced that God is normally to be found in the ordinary things of life, in the everyday human interactions that are the very stuff of life. That for me is why a church is such an important part of village life, but only as long as the church remembers this and shows its love for its community by being its servant.