October comes and with it the academic year begins in universities and colleges. In anticipation of this I was in Northampton yesterday at the university for the opening of a new building.
We’ve opened so many buildings since the new campus was finished at Waterside it’s felt a bit like Groundhog Day in Legoland; but this new building is a bit special. It houses the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies, which has been going in one form or another for more than a hundred years, in Bermondsey in London originally, to where dirty trades like tanning were banished, and then to Northampton. It is now a world leader, and students from the Netherlands, India, the United States, and lots of other places come to learn at what is still an unparalleled centre of excellence. It is great to see the county making progress in this way, and great to feel that the skills of the leather and related trades, which kept so many of us in gainful employment for decades, are not lost.
And it also reminds us that the hope of regeneration and renewal is never lost, even when the first cold snaps come to remind us that winter is coming.
In church we turn too at the end of September, with Michaelmas, towards the end of the year, with All Saints and All Souls, as the nights draw in and the thermometer drops, and the mood gets solemn.
This year Hallowe’en may bring it with also a hard exit from the EU. Whatever your view of this, please note that supplies of foods and medicines may be affected, so do make contingency arrangements, and don’t hesitate to ask for help, if you need it, especially if you live alone.
Spring, with its promise of new life, is never so distant that it cannot be anticipated by all of us called to live in the hope Jesus won for us, once and for all, at the first Easter; by looking out for our neighbours, by taking care of the infirm, by helping to bring about reconciliation wherever people are at enmity.
Yours in Christ,