From the Rector
A very warm welcome to this service, wherever you are worshipping across the Langtree Team ministry area.
Please can I ask for your prayers today for Revd Robert Thewsey and his family. Robert is to be instituted as the new Rector of Shiplake with Dunsden and Harpsden on Thursday.
Today is the fifteenth anniversary of the attacks on the world trade centre in New York. It remains a defining moment of horror for our time. Please pause for a while before the service to remember the many thousands who were killed, and the many thousands more who still live in the long shadow of that day. It is apparent to me at least that the war of ideas the attacks represented has not been won; there are still people around the world who believe that violence in the name of religion is justified, and even demanded, by their faith. We have also seen an ideological backlash in the western media and academy against all religion in general: “if religious people can do this, then religion must be a bad thing.”
The attacks on 11th September 2001 were directly responsible for the West’s involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and set in motion events that led to the Arab Spring (which, in hindsight, seems actually to be better named the Arab Catastrophe) and the Syrian conflict.
The subsequent smaller copycat attacks in major European capital cities over the last decade (such as the 7/7 attacks in London and last November’s attacks in Paris) have severely questioned the paternalistic (?imperialist) assumption that multiculturalism is possible or even desirable. Europe’s benevolence and goodwill is being tested to destruction on the anvil of fundamentalism. The Brexit vote is in part a response to the collective failure of European leadership to address the very issues that 9/11 raised.
Your Rector and Area Dean Revd Kevin Davies