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"I hope you've had a blessed week. As we stand at the midpoint of June, I'm reminded that time indeed flies by. It's hard to believe that we're already halfway through the year! I know I'm not alone in feeling like the days seem to blend together, but I hope you've taken a moment to pause and reflect on the many blessings and opportunities that have come your way so far and as we move forward into the second half of the year, I'm excited to see what God has in store for us and to continue exploring new ways to serve and share His love with others". 

John Wycliffe was a 14th-century English theologian and Bible translator who is considered a precursor to the Protestant Reformation. Born in 1320, Wycliffe was a scholar at Oxford University and became disillusioned with the corruption and abuse of power within the ruling Church. He believed that the Bible should be translated into the vernacular languages, rather than just being accessible to scholars and clergy, and that the Church should be reformed to return to its original teachings. 

Wycliffe's ideas were radical for his time, and he faced fierce opposition from the Church. Despite this, he continued to translate the Bible into English and distribute it to the common people. He also wrote extensively on theology and reform, arguing that the Church had strayed from its original teachings and that believers should be free to read the Bible for themselves. Wycliffe's followers, known as the Lollards, were a group of laypeople who were inspired by his teachings and began to spread his message throughout England. They formed a loose network of underground communities, where they would meet secretly to discuss Scripture and share Bibles. The Lollards faced intense persecution from the Church, which saw them as heretics and a threat to its authority. Many were arrested, imprisoned, and even executed for their beliefs. Wycliffe himself died in 1384, but his legacy lived on through the Lollards. 

One of the most remarkable stories from this period is that of Margaret Beaufort, a noblewoman who was deeply influenced by Wycliffe's teachings. Despite being a member of the royal family, Margaret was a devout follower of Wycliffe's reforms and worked tirelessly to spread his message throughout England. She even hid Bibles in her clothes and distributed them to other Lollards when they were in danger. Margaret's bravery and devotion inspired many others, including her own son, Henry Tudor, who would later become King Henry VII of England. Henry was a strong supporter of the Reformation and played a key role in establishing the Church of England. 

The story of John Wycliffe and the Lollards is a testament to the power of faith and conviction in the face of adversity. Despite facing fierce opposition from the Church, they remained committed to their beliefs and continued to spread their message throughout England. Their legacy has had a lasting impact on Christian history, paving the way for future reforms and shaping the course of Western Christianity. 

As we reflect on the story of John Wycliffe and the Lollards, let's be inspired to leave a legacy of faith that will make a lasting impact on the lives of those around us.

Be blessed, David Peñate