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The only time I had anything to do with a Maypole, I was ten. Our Junior School practised for weeks for the annual event on the village green, so that the colourful display could be the centrepiece of the May Day celebrations. Well we thought it was the centrepiece – others may have come for the games, the food or the beer tent!

Maypoles have been a tradition for many centuries, in several European countries including England, but they briefly fell out of favour in 16th Century as the Church was worried that they had pagan undertones – but they didn’t know its origins, and we still don’t. What we do know is the reason that they flourished, and still do in many places – they are an excellent demonstration of the power of Community. They bring the community together, with multi-coloured ribbons signifying our differences, and the dance requires complicated interaction in various directions to create the satisfying pattern on the maypole, time and time again. I found that the interesting part is when the pattern is nearly complete – the ribbons are shorter, people are closer, activity is faster and it’s much more fun!

Churches, the Bible, Jesus Himself, have always stressed the importance of community – because the ultimate aim is one community, one family of people, all acknowledging the Creator God of earth and heaven: ‘They will be my people, and I will be their God’ (Jeremiah 32:38; Ezekiel 37:27; 2 Corinthians 6:16… and 28 other places in the Bible!). And if God’s aim is for us all to be in fellowship and friendship, that’s my aim and I hope yours too. It’s perfectly possible, even with our different skills, views and the directions we take.

There are many opportunities to demonstrate that in every village, with people joining together as friends, for Flower Festivals, for interest groups, for local events – but it’s really good when we can find activities in which everyone can share. The Church is one of those inclusive activities – and we invite you to discover that with us. And as I found with the Maypole, the closer you get the more exciting and satisfying it all is.

Whatever you choose to do and however you do it, may the Lord bless you as you work towards that vision of unity in community.

Yours in Jesus

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