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. 

“A phase III Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multi-centre Study in adults to determine the safety and efficacy of AZD7442, a combination product of two Monoclonal Antibodies for pre-exposure Prophylaxis of Covid-19!”

On Tuesday I had the first of 7 appointments to take part in the AstraZeneca Covid antibody trial.

 

It has the wonderful title: “A phase III Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multi-centre Study in adults to determine the safety and efficacy of AZD7442, a combination product of two Monoclonal Antibodies for pre-exposure Prophylaxis of Covid-19!”  

 

Appointment one was to take an armful of blood for analysis, a covid swab, a covid antigen test (which, with a prick of the finger and a drop of blood, showed within 15 minutes that I had not been exposed to Covid) and measures for height, weight, blood pressure and an electrocardiogram! So hopefully this Tuesday, I will be told I am fit enough to take part, give more blood samples, have more tests and be injected in the behind with either the medication or a placebo.  There’s a two thirds chance of getting the actual stuff and instant immunity….. but I will never know  so I won’t be taking any risks!

 

But it does seem very important to take part in a study which will ultimately help others and may well save lives. As a by product I may well get some immunity (though I have to wait 30 days before I can have a vaccine….. AND I get a medical MOT into the bargain. 

 

Thank Goodness for Click and Collect

I hate shopping which means that lockdown and instructions to stay at home in the pandemic are something of a blessing for me.  Tesco Click and Collect, however, has been something of a revelation! Once one gets the notion of booking a slot three weeks in advance and having a preliminary guess at what one might need then it becomes routine. 

Wednesday morning at 7:55 we climb into the car, drive less than a mile to the Tesco Car Park where Will and his truck await. We pull into the bay and a cheery voice asks, “How the devil are we today?”  Crates are piled to make a rough table for our shopping which we unload into our own crates or baskets.. “oh you’ve got a leak in that one!” comments Will…. “Where?” Asks Lez looking slightly alarmed.  I lift out the pack of leaks and Lez groans and Will laughs. 

“Take care, stay safe, see you next week!” calls Will as we set off back home. By 8:!) the bags are in the kitchen for Lez to do with as she will while I make the coffee.  

The shops and supermarkets who have walked the extra mile to make life safer for us and especially individuals like Will who have a real notion that some of us don’t like bending down too far to get our shopping and need a cheery chat deserve a lot of praise and thanks. I suspect they get more abuse than praise- so I am going on a bit of a quest to see where one can leave good comments! 

Thank you Lord for Click and Collect

For those who try to keep us safe in this time of pandemic

For those whose smiles are possibly te only ones that some lone souls might see in a day. 

Amen

 

 

Transforming Ministry Magazine Digital Edition

 FAQs

 What do I need to tell our Readers/LLMs?

 

The digital edition of Transforming Ministry was announced in the Winter 2020 edition of the magazine (p.36) so many of your Readers/LLMs will already know about this. Now would be a good time to share some encouraging good news and inform them that, for 2021, subscribers through the diocesan scheme will have free access to the digital edition and all the added value material on the website.

 

  • Page-turning pdfs of each new edition
  • Option to read online or download to read offline
  • Fully indexed and searchable archive of Transforming Ministry (and its predecessor The Reader)
  • Over 500 book reviews plus extended reviews not available in the printed magazine
  • Online-only material such as seasonal resources and Advent and Lent features.

You will need to explain that to access this material they will need to register on the www.transformingministry.co.uk website using the voucher code in the Chaplain’s email. 

You might want to mention that an individual Print + Digital subscription to Transforming Ministry for 2021 is £15, i.e. the diocese is giving them a gift worth £15 towards their continuing ministerial development.

 

When should I contact my Readers / LLMs

 

You could do it now. It might also be helpful to remind them about the free access to the online material at the beginning of January when the Spring 2021 edition of the printed Transforming Ministry magazine arrives through their letterboxes.

 

What exactly will Readers/LLMs have to do to subscribe and gain access?

 

Please include this information in your letter/email to Readers and LLMs.

 

  • Go to the transformingministry.co.uk website
  • Click on the MAGAZINE tab in the Navigation Bar at the top of the page
  • Hover over SHOP NOW in the Navigation bar
  • Select DIGITAL from the SUBSCRIPTIONS drop down list
  • Click on the green box ADD SUBSCRIPTION TO BASKET (at this stage it will show a charge because the discount code has not yet been applied)
  • Enter the code sent in the email  in the grey COUPON CODE box then click the green APPLY COUPON box which will reduce the price to zero for the year
  • Click PROCEED TO CHECKOUT
  • Enter your personal details including your diocese
  • You will need to enter your debit or credit card details in order to proceed but you will not be charged. The subscription will auto-renew in a year’s time but you will receive an email in advance of the renewal date so you have the opportunity to cancel or change your subscription should you wish
  • You will then receive an email confirming the order and detailing how to download the digital magazine or view online. You will also be sent your login details and password (which you can change through your account on the website)
  • If you use social media, please follow us using the website links to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with news and information.

What will happen for digital magazine subscriptions in 2022?

 

It is too early to predict whether we will be able to continue this offer into future years. It may be necessary to ask individual Readers to pay an upgrade fee if they wish to retain access to the digital options.

Are you a Chaplain in a school, prison or other institution?  Do you have experience of conducting home communion?  Any other experience with ministry outside the church building?

 

As part of the post-licensing training programme for Readers who received their licenses last year, we are hoping to benefit from the wisdom of Readers who have experience of ministry outside the church building. This might be especially in administering Holy Communion or in conducting other services with those who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend services in a church building — but it is not necessarily confined to those things.

 

On Saturday January 30th we will be holding a Zoom conference as part of the programme, and we hope to include this subject from around 2.00 to 3.00pm.  Anyone participating may stay online for just ten minutes or so, or for the whole afternoon — which will end around 3.30 with Evening Prayer or some other suitable service. It is likely to shape up as a fairly informal sharing session, where Readers experienced in this area speak about sound practice, and answer questions from those on the training programme.

 

There is a wealth of experience and wisdom among Readers in our diocese; so Jim and I hope we will have several volunteers.

 

Please respond by contacting me at madams@tcd.ie

 

Martin Adams

(Reader in the Parish of St Illogan.  Director of Post-Licensing Reader Training)

We're going on a bear hunt, we're going to catch a big one.... oh no, it's a lockdown, a big lonely lockdown, but we're not scared. We can't go over it, we cant go under it.... we'll just have to go through it..... wash wash wash, mask mask mask, step away! (apologies to Michael Rosen)

So another ‘lockdown’ was inevitable but at least over the last 43 weeks we have learned strategies for coping / dealing with and making use of the opportunities provided.

I would love to rant at this point about government polcy and decision making beginning with why on earth did they send the schools back for one day to get infected? But I am not going to…. It won’t help and just makes me irritable.

So lockdown week 43 phase four-ish means no visitors, no visiting and no coffee stop on my walks with my son-in-law- who has been working from home, is about half way round and makes particularly good coffee….. and the conversation away from a computer screen WAS very welcome.

I could almost get really depressed about it but there is too much to do and I have so much to be thankful for so there are projects!!

In no order because I will grasshopper between them as is my wont.

  • build up the long walks after the Christmas feasting has added to my girth – I am really looking forward to lighter mornings.
  • Rebuilding my desk top computer. This has meant much watching of YouTube videos, scouring reviews and browsing of amazon…. Not to mention consulting an ex-pupil who I can proudly say knows vastly more than I do. Now this might not excite most people but for me it gets the little grey cells working in a different way and frees up other buts of the brain for rest and recuperation. It has a practical implication in hopefully making ZOOMING services, chopping video clips and so on a rather less ponderous process.
  • I really want to record memories of school days and college but not as a memoir…. More as a fiction of the various characters based on fact. One must not let too much fact get in the way of a good story…. Someone once said.
  • Reading: I have a stack of books to read….. This task might prove difficult… I get too easily distracted! Currently I am reading “The Wanderer’s Club, ’ ‘Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes!’ and a book by Michael Curry that Rector Caspar gave to each of the Redruth ministry team at Christmas.

Well with that lot, ministry in the Redruth Team, Chaplaincy conversations, the odd meeting, the very odd meeting and so on time will flash by and suddenly all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well. (to quote mother Julian of Norwich)

Next Tuesday spare me a thought at mid-day. I have volunteered to take part in an AstraZeneca trial for the Corvid anti-body treatment which seems to involve giving a lot of samples of differing types and being poked with a needle or three and then follow up phone calls and appointments. But…. if it helps other people suffering with this wretched virus., or prevents a few folk from getting it then I am game! 

Finally a thought on vacuuming! 

Vacuuming in lockdown is a disappointment. 

It normally heralds visitors, folks coming to dinner or for a party but not this time. 

Nor is there the clicketty-clacketty as the machine attempts to digest the grandchildren’s’ left over Lego. 

We have no dog and thoughts of getting a new one are on hold….. the vacuum no longer smells of wet dog and there are no tumble-weed balls of dog hair to chase around the carpet. 

The vacuuming promises much, reminds us of what used to be and delivers little except for the thought that it will have to be done again soon. 

No wonder I am allowed to do it 

 

Lord

thank you for vacuuming time,

that I am healthy enough to do it as I pray for those who breath is in short supply.

Thank you for the noise that reminds me of the grandchildren and of better times, of visitors, shared meals and a house ringing with music and laughter. 

Thank you for the reminders of the smell of wet dog hair of the deep joy that our dogs brought us in the years of wagging tails. 

Lord, I ask for healing for all those whose health is too fragile to push the vacuum….. and to think the thoughts the vacuum can inspire. 

Amen

When Something's Lost and Something's Gained...

So that’s it for 2020, a year in which I learned all about ZOOM, publishing on YouTube and the delights of walking, and praying, in the light of the  dawn.  The year in which I realised how important hugs are and how much they would be missed. And, a year when morning prayer at 9 on ZOOM would unite elements of congregations from not only  the five Redruth Churches but from across the diocese as we were joined by numerous Readers. 

Relationships have taken a hot this year where meeting online has not been appropriate and as T.S.Eliot said, “We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken.”

When we have all had our vaccinations and we kick-start the activities we have put on hold things will be different and my hope is that we can rebuild the relationships and do the activities better, shedding those that we have found we have not really missed! 

 

‘The Lord is with you . . . do not be afraid’.

A Meditation on the Annunciation, Luke 1:26–38

 Bob Owens

 Luke’s account of the Annunciation is one of the most frequently illustrated stories in the Bible. We’ve all seen pictures of the angel Gabriel, with his great wings, announcing to Mary that she has been chosen to give birth to Jesus. I’d like to take just a few moments to meditate on how Luke describes the scene to us – to try to enter into the story imaginatively, and to ask what it might have to offer us in our own lives as Christians.

        The story opens with God sending Gabriel to a specific place, and to a specific person. The place is Nazareth, a small town in Galilee. What’s special about Nazareth? Nothing at all. It is not a great city like Jerusalem, where all the rich and powerful people live, with a Temple and other important buildings. And what’s special about Mary? Nothing at all. She’s a young peasant girl, still a virgin though she is engaged to be married to a local carpenter. Mary is just an ordinary person – not someone living in high society. And yet – God chooses her to be the vessel through which his son Jesus Christ will enter the world. Isn’t that a thought worth pondering?

        What does Gabriel say to Mary? He greets her warmly, telling her she is ‘favoured’ and that ‘The Lord is with you’. This is far from the kind of greeting Mary would have expected, and it startles her. She wonders what it could possibly mean, but says nothing. Perhaps a look of fear crossed her face, because Gabriel tells her not to be afraid: she has indeed found favour with God. She is going to give birth to a son and is to call him Jesus. He describes this child in amazing terms: he is to be God’s own son; he will be given the throne of his ancestor David; and he will reign over Israel for ever. What Gabriel is telling Mary is that she will give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, a figure she would have heard about from readings of the prophets in the synagogue.

        Mary’s initial reaction is a completely down-to-earth one. ‘It is impossible for me to have a child. I’ve never slept with a man – I’m a virgin!’ Her consternation is easy to imagine. Can this angel really be serious? Mary is no shy, demure little bride-to-be. She knows a thing or two – including that you have to have sexual intercourse to get pregnant. Gabriel patiently explains to her how this will all happen. The Holy Spirit will conceive the baby in Mary’s womb by the power of God himself, so that the son she will bear will indeed be the Son of God. God can make this happen – even Mary’s cousin Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age. Nothing is impossible with God.

        How, finally, does Mary respond to this announcement by Gabriel? She submits completely to God’s calling. ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Mary hears the word of God; she believes it; and she says ‘yes’ to God’s love and his purpose for her. Perhaps there are times when we feel ourselves called by God to do something that we think must be impossible. When we have our doubts and uncertainties about how to respond, we might remember those words spoken to Mary: ‘The Lord is with you . . . do not be afraid’.

Amen

.

This is a picture of the chapel in Iona- I still hope to get there one day but plans to travel have been demolished for various reasons over the last few years – maybe 2022!!

One of the strangest things in 2020 has been my lack of contact with schools  and indeed children! I started at school in 1956 and have been in an educational environment up until March this year. The last decade has been mostly in school governance and story telling in nursery but I was in school several times  week. Consequently my thoughts are with teachers and especially head teachers who are under enormous stress.

The meme above seems to sum it up for me. If you have ever worked in a primary school you do not underestimate the value of a wet paper towel in healing. However- I am praying for some divine help here! 

 

Dear all

this is the last blog tis side of Christmas- next week I shall be deep in  ZOOMland particularly on Christmas Eve with the ZOOM service with the children which is even more daunting on ZOOM than it is in Church in normal days when the place is heaving with people. So on Zoom I am hoping :

  • we will get some people there
  • There will be a few soloists or family singers
  • that I can arrange the quiz / story activity in a way that works! 
  • that we don’t get uninvited visitors with disruptive intentions… 
  • and…… that somehow we will provide something for the Holy spirit to touch the lives of those who attend.

Prayers please! 

Following that at 8pm and at 11:30 I am button pushing for the two live ZOOM services from church…. although I will be at home. 

Christmas Day…… hopefully meeting the grandchildren on the beach….. even if it’s raining and I am taking a break from ZOOM! 

Have a wonderful Christmas!

I am grateful to the people who occasionally pas comment on the emails and blog content. I do wonder sometimes if anybody is reading it, whether it is helpful or whether it is just a nuisance. 

So when someone contacts me about something else and say.. oh by the way I did like the bit you wrote about x….. it is always encouraging. 

This Christmas there are some Readers having a really tough time with health, or as a carer or because they are alone. Please do keep them in your prayers too. 

With every blessing

Jim

Chaplain to the Readers in training- Vacancy!

 

I have been very grateful to Reader Margaret Sylvester-Thorne over the past two years  for easing my chaplaincy role by taking on the Readers in Training. Margaret has now decided that it is time to pass the baton  and so we have a vacancy! It is never easy finding people to fulfil these roles and we do want a Reader from this side of the border taking it on so I have prepared a job advert.

We have a vacancy for Chaplain to the Readers in Training and would like Readers to consider whether they might be called to this ministry.

 The Chaplain would be expected to attend the seven residential weekends in Plymouth each year, normally Friday 4 pm to Saturday 5pm.

  • Be alongside students in lectures
  • Be available to talk to students about issues raised in lectures that might impact on their faith
  • Support students in prayer through their training.
  • Attendance at some staff meetings.

 The chaplain might also be involved in some of the formation evenings at the Old Cathedral School in Truro or online. They might also want to be involved in the Post Licensing Training year too.

There is of course no pay for any Reader Chaplaincy work but expenses may be claimed where needed.

 Please do consider whether you are called to this fulfilling and important role and if interested speak to me or Jane Kneebone (Director of Training)

Many thanks – Jim.