Good morning from a rainy London. Looks like the rain is set to continue for a week or so which is quite a surprise after many days of the summer sun.

A while back I’m sure you remember that I met a man named Peter who liked my legs at the gym!! We got talking, I invited him for dinner at the house where he was drawn to an old cross which he then said that he’d like to clean.

Well poor Peter (who despite getting the bad news that his wedding party will not be able to take place because he forgot to invite Boris Johnson who then extended the current stage of lockdown for another month) came to clean the cross last Wednesday and happily joined for dinner afterwards.

And look at that, the results were amazing and we hardly recognised Peter without his pink suit!!

As I was reflecting on all this I thanked God for father Keith who has always made our house and parish a very open and welcoming place for all people.

Peter was overwhelmed with joy the first time that he came for dinner. He’d been in churches before but never inside a priests house!

For Peter this was more than just dinner, it was love, acceptance, respect, dignity, equality, community, fellowship, brotherhood and much much more….

Gay people are so used to rejection that these little acts of love mean so much to them and then provide a platform from which to talk about God’s love and goodness.

And unfortunately I wasn’t able to be there last Wednesday because I too had been invited elsewhere for dinner with Rayne.

God bless Michael who I met during the first lockdown and with whom I became friends. He never judged me for having a same sex partner and when he brought me for dinner the first time I cried when he listened to my life story and gave me a warm and loving hug as he empathised with the pain.

At the start I was afraid to ask him if I could invite Rayne the next time in case he may not be comfortable but eventually I worked up the courage and now both of us have been there many times.

Perhaps it’s God’s sense of humour but Michael is Irish too, he grew up in the countryside and my dad’s name is also Michael. There is something about his love and acceptance that heals that part of me that longs for a dad. (No disrespect to my own dad who was and still is a man of few words and yet a big heart).

Perhaps the advantage Michael had was that he left Ireland when he was young and found community and joy in London and especially in the church over here. His faith and compassion for people of all walks of life amazes me and I’ve no doubt that he’s a little saint in the making or already made! He’ll be mortified as he reads this …thanks Michael!!

And so you see as we all gather around the table, we also all gather around the cross of Jesus who has a place for each of us and how biblical this is because this is what Jesus asked us to do!

He asked us to invite the poor and the marginalised for dinner because they will not be able to invite us back and thus our reward will be a heavenly one.

Now don’t ye all go inviting me at once, I’m fully booked till Christmas 🤣🤣🤣 but yea, on a serious note, even if you can’t invite someone for dinner, why not invite them for a chat or a coffee or a simple walk in the park?

You never know what difference that might make to a lonely suffering soul and help them get through another day, another week, another trial.

So thank you Jesus for our church, St. Mary of the Angels where so many people find a little bit of heaven and may our parish priest, Fr Keith be abundantly blessed for his exceptionally warm and merciful heart that excludes noone.

Have a great day and pray for me too please,

Michael