The Rector's Letter - June/July 2018
The Churches of St Lawrence,
All Saints, Little Bookham

God Delights in Pink Roses

I’m sure, by now, most of us will have heard about GDPR. I have jokingly renamed it ‘God Delights in Pink Roses’ but of course it actually stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation.’ This is the piece of legislation that will give people more control over how their data (contact details and information about themselves) is stored online and in other places.

It means that lots of companies, charities and all places that have contact details and information about people need to now ask people what they want each company to know about them and to keep on file. We have to do this in our Parish too and so we have started asking people to fill in a consent form to let us know how and when you would like us to be in touch. (A copy of this form is available in this magazine. If you haven’t yet filled one in, please do so and send it to us)

But even more than just letting people have more control over how their information is used and stored, GDPR gives people the ‘right to be forgotten’. So, just because you gave some contact info once, that doesn’t mean that that information can be kept forever. If you like, you can say to organisations ‘I want to be forgotten’ and they have to erase your details (this doesn’t apply to absolutely everything - search online if you want to know more!)

This led me to think about what it means to be forgotten. We might be concerned about information that other people have about us and so choose to say, ‘erase my details’. But what about those people who feel that they have been forgotten already, not online but in life? What about those people who feel invisible and unseen? The recent return of Syria to the headlines following the chemical attack over there reminds us of people who feel forgotten. The Rohyngya refugee crisis, people fleeing from Myanmar, and its lack of resolution, has led to people feeling forgotten. And what about people in Yemen or part of the Windrush Generation?

It’s hard to remember people and situations that we need to remember. It’s even harder to remember when those situations can make us feel uncomfortable or unsure of how to respond. Tearfund – one of our chosen Parish Charities - works with people who are refugees. Christian Aid works with those in places where there is violence, there are petitions online and we can lobby MPs about situations in our own country. There are ways for us to stay informed, to protest and to pray. And we need to do this.

But we also need to be aware of the One who never forgets. Who never forgets us or anyone. Psalm 139 says this “O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.”

Whatever our situation, how ever we feel, whoever we are, we are not (and can never be) forgotten by God who loves us and calls us by name.

Your Rector,

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