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Dear friends “Summer time and the livin’ is easy” so the lyrics go. “Summertime" is an aria composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by Du Bose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin. Ella Fitzgerald had a hit with it in 1968. Well our ‘summertime’ has been far from easy in many ways. Obviously we had the move from Bolton, and then we had the settling in period with restrictions being eased as we were all encouraged to play our part in opening businesses and churches up again. Now we are seeing even greater restrictions on the Wirral and ones being imposed by the central government going forward. We have carried out risk assessments across all three churches and we were looking forward to opening the churches – alas this now isn’t the case for the time being. The leaves on the trees are beginning to turn and this is when we get a kaleidoscope of colours, as the leaves fall and the trees and bushes begin to shut down for the winter. At this point it begins to look as though the trees are in fact dead, but we know they are just dormant waiting for the right conditions to prevail so they can send out new growth and the insects and birds can find new homes there. The churches may appear like this at the moment to many outsiders. They could see it this way because the church buildings are not being used as they once were and think the church is dead. We know this is not the case. There is movement and there is growth in new ways in the church. But those outside won’t always see it. Then when the conditions are right, hopefully, for us we can look at how we might share our signs of life and our green shoots to people around us. As the new shoots start we can then look at how we can grow together and encourage new life in our buildings. Our summertime has actually been good as we have had the excitement and the challenges of new churches and new ways of trying to minister and support people. This morning I read a post from Marcus Rashford (yes I know he plays for Man Utd) about a mum of three who had just lost her job due to Covid. She was in tears just thinking about how she would cope going forward. There are many more families in difficult situations like her. Many families, who have been trying to hold it together over summer, are struggling and we have a calling to try to help where we can. Please keep an eye on your neighbours, particularly those with young families. It might just be a conversation that is started with a neighbour that can give the person the sign that new shoots of hope are just round the corner. Let’s not leave them struggling and worrying how they will feed their children. Help us to be brothers and sisters to them serving where we can. Brother sister let me serve you Let me be as Christ to you pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant to. As summertime comes to a close let us help each other to get through the times ahead together. Stay safe and stay strong as the next storm approaches Shalom Mark