THEY’VE BEEN LIGHT in our lives. Countless loved ones, friends and acquaintances whom we may see no longer in this world but we somehow just absolutely know are yet somewhere very near. I was much moved by Tim Moore’s thoughtful piece at All Saints-tide last week.

At the end of October I was a delighted guest in All Saints’ Hale Barns with Ringway where I served as Vicar from 1996-2001. I wrote then of how

I was taken aback by just how emotional an experience it was to be back “on the patch” this morning … Names, personal details like birthdays, dates of deaths, hospital stays, even telephone numbers; community issues, problems, or causes for celebration; the fact that the two churches adjacent to each other were wonderfully called “Saints and Angels”. The bringing to mind of a host of loved ones “gone before us” and the supportive, smiling presence this morning of both Saints and some representative Angels rendered me decidedly “wobbly” during the first hymn!

Today I went back even further. In Mottram in Longdendale / Broadbottom / Hattersley, where I served as curate, I found once again that I could recall precise details of men and women at whose funerals I’d presided, or whose marriages I’d celebrated, or whose children I’d baptised, thirty years on. Again I remembered details of Sunday evening youth club discussions, birthdays and phone numbers, the lemon icing on the cream buns I always treated myself to after the midweek Eucharist! Over-generous application of paprika to a goulash recipe. We remember. We humans are built and hard-wired to remember.

This coming Remembrance Sunday evening, at 6.30pm a gathering at St Michael & All Angels Bramhall will share in our annual service of Light and Remembering. In company “with angels and archangels and the whole glad company of heaven” countless loved ones are known to be “very near”. Our doors will be wide open … SK7 2PG