How life changes! I remember as a boy sitting in our lounge at home in Birmingham watching Andy Pandy and the Wooden tops on a TV set build by my uncle Aub. It had a screen the size of an iPad in the box the size of a  dark plywood refrigerator! 

This week we found a couple of series of programmes we had watched some time ago on Britbox and we pondered between that and the offerings on Netflix and Amazon Prime….. and BBC1. and then we found The West Wing on More 4……. the choice was endless. 

Choices are endless not just of TV but also of food to the extent that we really are spoilt for choice. Gone are the days when you chose what you wanted from the local cooperative store with sugar and rice  in plain blue bags. We got quite irritated doing out ‘Click and Collect’ the other week from Tesco because they had not got any Aubergine, I mean fancy that no aubergine!! Then we took a step back and realised how silly that is when much of the world  has only the choice of a bowl of some cereal or not eating. 

Choice is something we treasure… there always being a choice, even if that choice is to do nothing. Sadly there are folks who have little choice in these times of pandemic and lockdown, with loneliness being high on the list of problems. One could argue there is a choice about whether to break the law or not and group with others  or choose whether to get connected electronically but in reality people feel trapped and choiceless. 

Lent is a time of choices:

we can choose whether we are grateful or whether we just take things for granted, or worse still, moan when we can’t get the aubergine of our choice. 

We can choose, on out shopping walks, or during exercise to greet people and with a smile and say hello or we can shut out the world and stare at the ground

We can choose whether we look up and breathe in the air and the wonders God has given us or we can choose to feel miserable or guilty because we have failed to give up chocolate for alcohol for lent. 

So this week, as I switch from Britbox to Netflix or order an aubergine, or an alternative by ‘Click and Collect that someone else will take off the shelf for me it will remind me that in all I do I have choices and that I can choose to love God love my neighbour generously and gratefully.

 

Trelawny Was Here!

 

St Sampson’s Church at South Hill was Trelawny’s first parish as a Rector in 1673, nearly 350 years ago.   He must have purposely strode down the same path, entered the same door and stood on the same spot by the altar, where many priests have stood before and since.

After South Hill, Trelawny became Bishop of Bristol, then Exeter and finally Winchester.  But his links with South Hill were not forgotten.   After Trelawny, two further family members became Rectors of South Hill, his brother Edward Trelawny and then his son Hele Trelawny.

St Sampson’s Church is a small Grade 1 listed medieval gem in the rural parish of South Hill, near Callington in East Cornwall. Churches used to be community meeting places as well as places of worship. The St Sampson’s Unlocked project aims to make the church part of the community again by restoring and improving the building, ensuring its survival and making it fit for purpose for 21st century community use as well as worship.

“Restoring St Sampson’s will benefit the whole community by providing an additional community space and keep our history and heritage alive.”

“This is a fantastic project, fulfilling a big need in the parish”.

It is going to cost about £550,000.  

March 5th, St Pirans’s day, is the day when Cornwall traditionally raises a glass to Bishop Trelawny and joins together in singing a heartfelt rendition of our “Cornish anthem” in the Trelawny Shout.   Sadly, that won’t happen this year, with large, exuberant gatherings in our pubs not allowed.  

So, in memory of our Cornish hero and in place of buying a beverage or two, please donate to the worthy cause of restoring St Sampson’s Church, so that Trelawny can be remembered there for the next 350 years. 

A small donation will have a big impact on the need in this community.

St Sampson’s Church, South Hill, Cornwall, St Sampson’s Unlocked project, – JustGiving

A small church with a big history

How well do you know your local Trelawny connections?

March the 5th is St Piran’s Day, and Trelawny Shout day.  South Hill, and in particular St Sampson’s Church, has more connections with Cornish hero Trelawny than you may have thought.

Bishop Trelawny’s first parish was St Sampson’s, South Hill.  He was Rector here from 1677 – 1685    It is amazing to think of him at our little church.  He lived at Trelawne in Pelynt and probably had a curate based at St Sampson’s to do most of the work, but he most surely would have visited here and as his prominence and importance grew so did his influence on St Sampson’s at South Hill.  `Even after Trelawny became Bishop of Bristol, the family connection with South Hill continued.  He was succeeded as Rector here first by his brother, Edward Trelawny, and then his son, Hele Trelawny.

The Trelawny family was also connected with the Manaton family of South Hill, who had been here for over three hundred years.  Like the Trelawnys, the Manatons were active nationally and had various eminent connections.  Sampson Manaton (1583-1642) was brother-in-law to Bishop Trelawny’s grandfather, Sir John Trelawney, the first Baronet (1592-1664).  Sir John Trelawney held two-thirds of the manor of Calliland and the advowson (the right to appoint clergy to a vacant benefice) of South Hill.

Francis Manaton (1663-1735), grandson of Sampson, would have been cousin to Bishop Trelawney himself and his successors as Rector of South Hill, Edward Trelawney and the Bishop’s son, Hele Trelawney.  Michael Hill, Francis Manaton’s grandson (who is commemorated in our quirky little man monument in the Manaton Chapel) would also have been second cousin to the Trelawny family.

Francis Manaton was buried at South Hill in 1735. In his will Francis requested “to be buried in my aisle in the parish church of South Hill among my ancestors.” He bequeathed two guineas to Hele Trelawney, Rector of South Hill, “if he preaches my funeral sermon.”  Francis’s burial is recorded in the South Hill parish register but there is no record of whether or not his cousin Hele preached the sermon.

If you would normally be raising a glass to Trelawny at the Trelawny Shout, then please consider throwing a few pounds in the St Sampson’s Unlocked pot to help restore his first church. 

St Sampson’s Church, South Hill, Cornwall, St Sampson’s Unlocked project, – JustGiving

Restoring St Sampson’s will benefit the whole community by providing an additional community space and keep our history and heritage alive.

We are a small church, but we have a big history.

Thank you

 

Chatting to my Spiritual director the other week, I was asked what I was going to do for Lent – which is always an interesting question!

 

I don’t give things up for lent, apart from attempting to give up moaning, but then I am always attempting to give u that and inevitably failing.  I try  to take something on; this year it is being more positive and therefore less negative and to say thank you and give praise rather more.  I have also got a couple of books to read but currently the reading is a bit laboured to say the least… I won’t say which as me nodding off the fastest.

 

I began the positive thanks on Twitter giving praise and thanking Will, the guy who is usually out in all weathers in Tesco Car Park in Redruth making sure we get our click and collect shopping.  His concern for ‘his’ customers is marked and he commented yesterday that he worries when his regulars miss their usual slots. He’s an example of ‘salt if the earth!’ and definitely deserves recognition for his invariably cheery greeting, care for customers and his empathy for those who find it hard to bend down to pick up their shopping. Thanks too  to the lass in Morrish’s fish and Chip Shop whose job it is to ferry the orders from the kitchen to the waiting customers in the car park  We go every other week at the moment and whatever the weather she makes it sounds as if she is smiling and cheery behind her mask. I left a note on the Facebook page.

 

So when I got notification that I was to get the Cross of St Piran award, I was not really sure how to react or what to feel though it is always nice to get some feedback that you are doing something that actually helps people and that you are not getting in the way.  

 

I was not quite prepared for the flood of congratulatory encouraging emails and messages but I a grateful and indeed thankful that I can make a positive difference. It still seems weird getting an award for something that I like doing as well as being called to do a lot of it.

 

So to all the folks who have written – thank you and a special thank you to Caspar, our rector who is quick to encourage and who shows such support for lay ministry.  It is a curious thought that if people were not there to need what I can provide then I would not be getting the cross of St Piran…. So maybe it is really for all of us in these strange pandemic times.

News – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese Click the link to find out about the other 18 recipients this year….. I suspect all 19 really represent teams and communities all of whom are working to capacity to help other. 

Now how do I go abut getting an award given to those folk who just make a positive and joyous difference to others by being themselves every day – whether they think it or not, whether they are ‘Christian’ or not the light of Christ works through them and it is to be treasured. 

 

 

 

 

Interviews

 

Because of the St Piran award I had the delight yesterday of an hour of talking about my favourite subject, me, to Jac Smith  who writes for the communications team in the Diocese when she is not fund raiser in chief at all saints Highertown . 

 

I had not realised that Jac was the author of the prayers in Covid Time on the Diocesan website and it did make me revisit it.  Prayers for use during this period Archives – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese

There is some great material there and I shall definitely be using some in my Morning prayer  ZOOM on Monday.

 

There is a good deal of useful and fascinating stuff on the diocesan website….. but one has to set aside an hour to try all the doors on the front page to see which mazes you are invited into – I shall spend some time exploring a post a few highlights in coming weeks.

Now I think I would like to interview Jac and some of the folks who work behind the scenes for the Diocese and ask the about their own journeys…..

The Morning Prayer Congregation is a little different each day - the link is on the email why not join us at 9 each day for lent?

AstraZeneca / Pfizer adventures: the latest

 

Last week I had an appointment for my AstraZeneca vaccination on Wednesday to following instructions I emailed the antibody research team and awaited the go-ahead. Nothing came in the email so I dutifully set off to the Health Clinic in Redruth but was sent away again…. I had to be unblinded!

 

Later in the day I was phoned to say that having been unblinded they could reveal that I had been given the placebo so I could go for my vaccination the following day which was Pfizer rather than AstraZeneca  but was I going to stay on the trial?

Of course I was – I have been teaching kids for years in science about the importance of control tests ad I had become a control subject.  No other side effects other than being a bit more wheezy thn usual and some muscular-skeletal irritations I have seemed emphasised for a few day which I thought was a small price to pay. I’m looking forward to getting my second sometime!   I am looking forward to those hugs that have been missing for so long.

It seems strangely ageist that at the age of three score years and ten Licensed Lay Ministers suddenly stop being licensed and are given permission instead.  Personally I find this somewhat baffling. Someone said it was to be in line with ordained clergy but that seems no good reason to have a line drawn in the sand when many readers have a  good 2 years of ministry after their 70th birthdays!

If it is a matter of assessing competence, then that should, and indeed does, apply to all licensed lay ministers (readers), currently once every 5 years, probably to go along with DBS checks. Again from a personal perspective of dealing with a myriad of LLM/Reader problems over the last 5 years I think the relicensing should be every three years and continue until the person is no longer capable / motivated / healthy enough to carry on. 

Why? 

The greatest woes inflicting LLM/Readers seem to stem from lack of communication and the relicensing has performance management built in to the requirements. Effectively this means talking through a work agreement with a focus on the needs of the parish / benefice, the training and support needed by the LLM to carry out their ministry, and  a review of performance as applied to all aspects of ministry from leading services to relationships with the church people as a body. 

Alongside that, safeguarding training updates must be completed on time, there are no good excuses for this and DBS checks should be up to date.  It would be helpful if Reader/LLM records were held by the safeguarding team and reminders sent out from there which would eliminate  those problems of lost certificates or not having completed the final task of the training.

as LLMs/ Readers we are not paid, but neither are we amateurs. Considerable resources are need to train us and we must provide good value. That needs some sort of measure.

I shall submit this article of my ideas to the Warden’s Committee working group- but I am equally happy to add or change ides in response to thoughts form other LLMs/Readers!  Do book a chat, or write! 

Scams, Phishing, phone calls and Facebook.. and SAFEGUARDING

In a nutshell – safeguarding is about good discipleship and loving one another as Jesus commanded.  Please do read on…. and join the party helping to protect the vulnerable.
 

The Covid Pandemic seems to have fuelled the intensity of effort of those people who want to part us from our money without any thought as to the long term consequences of their thefts. Those people with dementia but still independent or the very lonely are particularly vulnerable. 

In the last week I have again encountered

  • the belligerent and demanding woman with an Indian accent claiming to be from BT. whose main aim is to convince people to allow them to put an app on their computer to ‘help’ where actually it s there to steal banking details. 
  • The cheery greeting who needs a favour from a Facebook ‘friend’ who is actually someone who has copied the name of an account and used some of the photographs from it. (advice on protection from that below)
  • A phone call from a friend worried about a threat that came up on her computer urging the recipient to press a certain link to sort it out – of course that would have led to stealing the details but she very wisely deleted it immediately. Those can be really scary! 
  • A fake email from an account pretending to be our rector! That I reported to <report@phishing.gov.uk>; but presumably would have been a request for money eventually had I replied. 
  • an email from ‘Royal Mail’ for a parcel they could not deliver wanting me to log on to a fake site in which to pay my re-delivery fee. 
  • One from Lloyds bank, (I do not have an account there) telling e to press a link to check a security issue. 
  • three social media friendship requests purporting to be  from scantily clad young women offering ….. er all sorts.  (deleted and blocked!) Learning how to block is an important part of online safety.
  • and a dozen more…….. 

And if they don’t want to scam online their are the false vaccine hoaxes, the demands for money for a Covid test and the good old fashioned call at the door to sell you a substandard service that you don’t really need 

These are real safeguarding concerns for all those people who are new to technology or who are vulnerable and all of us Safeguarding savvy folk should be promoting ways of keeping safe and keeping an eye on our vulnerable folk.  I know safeguarding sounds like a box-ticking exercise but please think about doing the online courses which are all free to do: https://trurodiocese.org.uk/resources/safeguarding/training-safeguarding/

Safety online – Using Facebook- for all of you who do.  This is potentially quite a serious safeguarding issue if people are fooled.

A useful tip: It is a good idea to go to the settings tab little down arrow just along from your picture top right… select privacy and then set your friends so that only you can see them. There are folk making clones of accounts to pretend to be folks they are not …. if you hide your friends list it makes it harder for them to message people you know, Just occasionally put your name in search and you can see whether someone has copied your account and used some of your pictures

On The Way…. 

Working with Schools at a Distance CMD Tuesday morning.  Faith at Home

 

Celebrating 25 years of Reader Ministry in the Church of England 04.02.1996 – 04.02.2021.
All Saints Highgate, London Diocese 1996 to 1999; St. Georges
Badshot Lea, Guildford Diocese 1999 to 2006, All Saints Tuckingmill, Truro Diocese 2006 – ongoing.

Into the valley of Tesco Click and Collect rode the Vauxhall Meriva……. but it nearly did not happen this week.

The day before the collection time I turned the key in the ignition, the engine gave a half-hearted chug and not so much died as just  did not even think about living!  The battery was dead  even though it had been on the charger for a couple of days. So the RAC was called.

Our own batteries get very heavy use at this time of year through January and February – the darkest part of the winter and little chance to re-charge. There is still so much uncertainty in this time of pandemic and we can’t even plan holidays and things to look forward to to provide the light at the end of the winter tunnel. I for one am not booking bed & breakfasts and leaving deposits or purchasing tickets for the RSC in Stratford.

My own batteries last week felt decidedly depleted although I managed more than the ‘Meriva’s ‘chug’ and refusal to do anything.  My recharging prayer walks have been curtailed by the lack of light and by the weather and I have been aware of ongoing lack of physical hugs from children and grandchildren- the screen is not quite the same as a pile of kids on the sofa for a story.

Then there is the draining business of the news which seems to delight in as much doom and gloom as it can dredge up from the depths. Racism in football, violence in homes, blind prejudice in the church, Covid…. always Covid and its consequences. The mad the bad and the ugly or the anti-vaxxers, the conspiracy theorists who blame 5G wireless, or that Covid is a hoax,  or those who dont care and party on without a care for others.

And, amidst all that there are life’s standard woes of folks getting older, needing operations and specialist treatment and sometimes not able to get it.  Is it any wonder we become alarmingly aware of our own mortality?

So how do we recharge?  What is the equivalent to the RAC for replacing or recharging our worn batteries?

In the depths of last week, just an email from my spiritual director asking if I needed  a chat put me on an upward trajectory…. just knowing I could off-load and praying about what I should talk about to them .

When we are really low the constant trickle charge of the solar powered office prayers are often not enough and a defibrillator charge of the heartfelt arrow prayers are needed,  the ones where words are hard to find and are not really needed! You need to give yourself space… somehow!  The temptation to stay on the treadmill of busy task-driven lives of service because we are needed  is great – but as I was always taught doing St John’s Emergency Aid courses, “look after yourself first because if you become the emergency you will make the problem worse.”

So what we need is a positive charge – and an escape from the negative, the things that wear us down, the things that make us cross, the things even, that might make us feel a bit guilty for judging too harshly.

Do you remember the old dynamos they had on bicycle wheels for powering the lights? No real extra effort to the pedaling cyclist! In looking for the positive ourselves maybe with no extra effort we are also helping others to do the same.

so this lent my challenge is to take up being more positive, more thankful and ore praising; to look forward to longer days, better weather and brighter news. I am not aiming to give up anything….. but I might try to moan less or to rehearse my woes!

 

It is worth reminder about the Richard Rohr Blog /Newsletter which comes daily of you sign up. 

This week is all about Unknowing: Here is Friday’s letter…..

 

Descriptions of the “dark night of the soul” from the Spanish mystic John of the Cross (1542–1591) have become the marker by which many Christians measure their own experience of unknowing. He fits an entire life spent exploring God’s mystery into memorable poetry, and even dares to call unknowing “an ecstasy”! Here are several stanzas from his poem “Stanzas Concerning an Ecstasy Experienced in High Contemplation”:

1. I entered into unknowing

Yet when I saw myself there

Without knowing where I was

I understood great things;

I shall not say what I felt

For I remained in unknowing

Transcending all knowledge.

. . . .

4. He who truly arrives there

Cuts free from himself;

 All that he knew before

Now seems worthless,

And his knowledge so soars

That he is left in unknowing

 Transcending all knowledge.

. . . .

6. The knowledge in unknowing

Is so overwhelming

That wise men disputing

Can never overthrow it,

For their knowledge does not reach

To the understanding of not-

understanding,

Transcending all knowledge. [1]  

John’s poetry is exquisite in its humility—knowing that he does not know, can never know, and doesn’t even need to know! He goes so far as to call this dark night “a work of His mercy, / To leave one without understanding.” [2] John’s teaching contains paradoxes that are difficult to absorb, but modern readers have the good fortune of many good translations, including that of Mirabai Starr. Like the other friends whose work I have shared this week, Mirabai knows the via negativa, the way of unknowing, personally and intimately, and describes what happens between the soul and God in the “dark night:”

The soul in the dark night cannot, by definition, understand what is happening to her. Accustomed to feeling and conceiving of the Beloved in her own way, she does not realize that the darkness is a blessing. She perceives God’s gentle touch as an unbearable burden. She feels miserable and unworthy, convinced that God has abandoned her, afraid she may herself be turning against him. In her despair, the soul does not recognize that God is teaching her in a secret way now, a way with which the faculties of sense and reason cannot interfere.

At the same time that the soul in the night of spirit becomes paralyzed in spiritual practice, her love-longing for God begins to intensify. In the stillness left behind by its broken-open senses and intellect, a quality of abundance starts to grow inside the emptied soul. It turns out that the Beloved is longing for union with the lover as fervently as she has been yearning for him. . . . God will whisper to the soul in the depth of darkness and guide it through the wilderness of the Unknown until it is annihilated in the flames of perfect love. [3] 

 

It’s amazing what we have collected in our “much watch this” – or “much watch this again” so we’ll record it on the box list….. Awaiting us …. sometime are Singing in the Rain, Swallows and Amazons, Paddington, and some old cop shows that got a bit violent and dark and we did not watch the end of the series. Oh and Montelbano- the wonderful Italian detective with subtitles that you have to be in the mood for or one falls asleep and misses out chunks of the plot. 

It all promises that one day there will be time, one day the grandchildren will return to be looked after and ask, “May we have a snack?” and “Can we watch something?” 

In the meantime we continue to be as careful as we can and try and stay healthy! Look after yourselves! 

Permission to Officiate..

My Tesco click and collect is now booked up to the week before my birthday reminding me that I will be one year way from my three score and ten when in the eyes of the church all ministers lay and ordained suddenly have to have a different licensing system presumably because of our encroaching decrepitude.

As we have readers who are doing a wonderful job in their 90s it does seem something of an anachronism to draw this line.

Now that all Readers have to be relicensed every five years (personally I think it should be three yearly to go along with Safeguarding requirements) it would appear to make PTO an unnecessary piece of bureaucracy. 

 

And Something About Relicensing......

The re-licensing process is vital to healthy ministry when approached with an open mind and heart and not merely a ‘tick-box’ irritation that must be endured.

  • the elements being:
  • Safeguarding
  • A Work Agreement
  • and the full support of the congregations in the cluster or benefice in which a Minister is serving as well as the approval of the incumbent and / or the Rural Dean. 
The Work Agreement is really important and the best way of going about this is to download a sample and prayfully edit it to suit your capacity and the needs of the local situation. Once that is done it is time to speak to your incumbent or the Rural Dean in time time of transition. That discussion will include a review of your work, matching the needs of the local situation, training that you might need and where to find it and how you see your ministry progressing over the next three years. 

Support of the local people is not just about the PCC passing a resolution, it is about whether your ministry among them is appropriate and valued although the PCC will have to give the formal nod as well. If you serve more than one PCC, they should really all give their approval.

AstraZeneca  trial week 3:

So I did not have to have the Covid test but I did need to provide blood and the usual small plastic bottle of yellowish liquid as well as having my blood pressure and oxygen levels monitored. Apparently my BP is a bit on the high side (it always is whenever a practitioner gets anywhere near me) but my oxygen levels could not be better!  

Well no symptoms or side effects thus far so I have either been injected with the placebo. or the antibody injections have not caused any problems…. I guess I will never know. I have to let the research team know when I have my appointment for a vaccination…. which I can still have, thank fully. 

I wonder how many of us have tried to fix computer problems talking on the telephone in the past 40 weeks?

Yesterday – I actually went to an elderly  parishioner’s home to fix her email issue. To ensure safety… she went for a walk with her dog which meant we could be suitably socially distanced and she has had both her vaccination shots so it seemed reasonable.

The fix involved finding a little Office 2007 program called scanpst.exe that lurks deep in the bowels of the hard drive. It worked thankfully and she was able to send emails to her daughter and the family once more. It underlined just how much of a life-line the computer has become to many folk. Age is not the barrier- just motivation to use the stuff and having the physical resources. 

ZOOM has a function for remote help which works for some things…. but if the person has an old machine, or one that is being pushed to its limits its a dead loss.

Maybe we need some courses on helping folk get started, or keep using their technology!

Changing anything in church is tough.

  • moving a pew
  • a new setting for the Gloria
  • leaving the church open
  • Joining two or more PCCs into into one streamlined unit. 
  • starting a youth group
  • etc

Some responses you might hear….

  • But you cant get rid of that pew, it was given in memory of…..
  • Leave it open? We tried that once and someone stole the flowers….
  • sing something different? but we only learned this one in 1972.
  • Join PCCs? but then St Selfish’s will have all the power- it’s not fair!

There are lots of tools to help with gentle change management but it all begins with changing the culture, and that begins with prayer.  The SWOT analysis is an example….. many of you who work in change management in other organizations will have other resources…… I wonder if we need to make more use f this sort of stuff rather than suggesting change, getting the negative, defensive response and then trying to work our how to get round it. 

The Morning Prayer Congregation Meeting each Day at 9a.m. on ZOOM!

Blogs, sermons and tricky letters are often composed whilst walking – recently the soggy nature of the footpaths has blocked a lot of routes….. but at least the county is not actually underwater as some folks are who have been evacuated from their homes. It must be especially woryying in a time of pandemic.  

The 2nd appointment for the trial anti-body treatment for Covid was on Tuesday when I spent an hour in the Doctor’s consulting room. The first 5 minutes were handing in my sample and having another armful of blood taken in four different tubes. The next ten minutes were taken up with another covid swab, measurements for oxygen, pulse weight, height and BP and then a shot in each buttock…. 2 antibodies – 2 shots. The rest of the hour I read a book, chatted to the Doc about the value of medical trials and of being a Practice that trains and researches. Occasionally the site of the injections were inspected and I was offered a cup of tea while I waited. Friday as I write this and thus far no side effects that I can distinguish from all my normal ailments! But then there is a 1 in 3 chance I might have had a placebo….. I guess i will never know. Back next week for Day 8 tests.

Yesterday I had the sad news that Lesley Margetts who became a Reader in 1983 and served in the Saltash Team had died following her long struggle with illness in Derriford Hospital with her husband Richard and two sons at her bedside. Lesley was a wonderful example to us all, managing throughout the last few years to continue teaching Yoga, preaching and leading worship and even joining us for some Monday Morning Readers Chats online. She was Carrie’s predecessor as secretary to the Readers and so has an important place in the history of the Readers in the Diocese of Truro. Her wisdom, kindness and insight will be sadly missed. My prayers are very much with Richard and the boys as they prepare for times ahead.

So sorry to receive your email saying Lesley had died.   I was last in touch with her in October when she was having more chemotherapy, always tough.   She was an example to us, all I admired her fortitude and positive attitude – and she did such a good job as secretary to the Readers.   Please convey our thanks for her life, well-lived and our sympathy to her family. Thank you.

Love Joy

Some Illustrations for Christian Unity

Dogs

There is an interesting article in the Church times this week about grieving for our pets Grieving our beloved pets (churchtimes.co.uk) (thanks Simon for getting me to look) …. Facebook has a feature of bringing back posts from past years which serve to rekindle the loss we felt, and also remind us of the joys they brought.  Beneath in Simon Cade’s Meneauge and our Arlo in the background at the beach from 5 years ago when they were both still  fit and full of giving. 

Lez suffers from Restless legs…. and I suffer from….. well. Lez’s restless legs. She gets a bit fed up with having to get up and stretch her legs at night.  My asthma is a bit irritating…. and we both  have some arthritis….. It makes one prone to moan and creak and grumble and sigh.

The problem is that when you hear about people with problems that are far worse the temptation is to feel guilty about moaning. But  guilt is a wasted emotion….. and a bit of moaning when your body won’t work the way it’s supposed to is fair enough as long as we don’t wallow in it ….. or set ourselves up as martyrs.

Grant yourself leave to have a moan occasionally, wallow a little but try and make a space for others who are in desperate need of our prayers and pleadings.