WE have just had a wonderful weekend of fellowship and fun in St Margaret’s Church at the end of the summer holidays.

Bob, our speaker, was a blunt Yorkshireman from South Ockendon with a heart of gold. By gum, he were a good speaker!

Using the image of a rowing boat, he told us that if we were all united and heading in the same direction we wouldn’t have the time or energy to squabble or disagree. I thought how applicable that was for so many areas of our lives.

Some of us like to just recline in the boat. Not for us the hard graft and toil.

We are content to watch others do all the work and even claim the credit for ourselves afterwards. The notion of teamwork is foreign to us.

Some of us like to rock the boat.

We are the complainers; those who winge and gripe but never put forward any constructive alternatives.

We like to pull other people and their ideas to pieces without any concern about the damage our words and actions might do.

Strong relationships and real community is built by people who learn to row the boat and row it together, in the same direction.

We know our society is built by people who have learned the secret of shared values and core beliefs based on true faith.

St Paul wrote – do me a favour. Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourself long enough to lend a helping hand.

Whatever boat you are in and whoever is with you – don’t be a recliner or a rocker – neither of those attitudes are worth falling out over. Be a rower! – JOHN.