This week has been an another interesting one beginning with preaching at our Benefice Joint Service at All Saints Lanner. It is amazing that after 34 years of preaching that I still get that adrenaline hit in those minutes before as I pray prior to preaching but if I did not get it, I would start to worry that I was starting to take the privilege of preaching for granted. Although I had a slip of paper with half a dozen well-rehearsed points it was more of a ‘comfort-blanket’ and I did not refer to it.
You may be relieved that I am not going to relate the seron content here!
Monday Morning and Ministers in Conversation (on ZOOM) was the first time I have logged in where the women outnumbered the men which i thought was fantastic! There were some great discussions and conversations and I do hope more folk will spare an hour of their Monday mornings and join us. Anyone, lay or ordained…. or worship leader…. or in training…. or retired is most welcome to join us! Just look out for the link in the emails and drop in between 10 and 11! I know some who would like to join can’t because of other commitments – if I get enough requests, I will set up an evening one as well.
Deanery Reader Chaplains
The Deanery Chaplains are going to be a key part of the way Readers / Licensed Lay Ministers are looked after and represented. It is vital to have some folk who will contact, listen to and be available to Readers in their areas whether they are current, in training or retired. They will also relay Reader concerns to the Warden’s Group and be an influence on the way the diocese works with Lay Ministry. If you are not already in the role please do consider whether it is part of the vocation to which God is calling you. If you have been a DRS and you feel that it is time for someone else to step up, please do not feel guilty about stepping back and do let me know.
On Monday afternoon I helped lead the Safeguarding Leadership Course which, as always, provided a great forum for discussion and I invariably come away with something I need to remember to do from a job description for a toddler group helper to a risk assessment for food bank volunteers.
I am still unconvinced about the wording of the booklet instructing participants to reflect on four questions before they come to the first session. The problem, for me, is the mention of a word count of 250-350 words. Yes, the invitation to use bullet points has been added but it still looks like an examination instruction and that is not what we are doing safeguarding for. We want folk to reflect on the issues and to make some notes for discussion on each of the topics….. why does the National Safeguarding Team insist on making it look like part of a GCSE syllabus? It does a disservice to the course, to the promotion of safeguarding and to its credibility! That I get frequent moans that it is a box ticking exercise is unsurprising, but it is also saddening as I am a passionate promoter of safeguarding in its widest sense!
Tuesday began with my ZOOM morning prayer using a musical version of the Northumbrian Office with the lectionary readings prescribed for the day. Laughter before hand as always and prayerful reflection from a faithful group to begin the day.
Then New Curate Chris and PTO clergy Margaret arrived to plan Sunday’s service which is trying desperately to find a family friendly interactive experience crammed into an ‘informal’ communion …… in a normally high church setting….. It is tricky!
In the meantime, the damson tree in the garden is creaking under the strain of the ripening fruit and I am steeling myself for some afternoons of balancing on the steps with a bucket! Then it will be the turn of the apple tree; things seem to be ripening quite early this year!
Wednesday was annual MOT and service day for the car, so I took the opportunity to take Barney the Collie and take the scenic route home around Carn Brea via a cup of coffee with the grandchildren in Carnkie. The car passed without issue thankfully!
On Thursday I took the funeral of a local man at Treswithian Downs Crematorium which was a good opportunity for our Curate Chris to see a different style having experienced the very different approach of our other PTO priest, Father Peter. The family was very grateful. Because he had been a part time fireman, a fire engine pulled up behind the hearse and four firemen in full kit shouldered the coffin into the crem. The sister very kindly said that it had been worth the seven hour drive to attend the funeral of her brother.
Loving God, we pray that the church may be a place of welcome, security and compassion.
Keep us watchful yet caring, trusting yet ready to question, that all who worship in our churches may do so in safety and in the knowledge of your love;
May the doors of the church be wide enough to receive all who come seeking God and fellowship.
May the doors of the church be narrow enough to shut out pettiness and pride, envy and enmity.
May the threshold of our churches be no stumbling block to young or frail feet. May the threshold of our churches be too high to admit complacency and self-seeking.
May the church be, for all who enter, a safe place and the doorway to a richer life in Christ.
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
May God bless us with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may seek truth boldly and love deep within our hearts.
May God bless us with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we really can make a difference in this world, so that we are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
Lord Jesus we thank you for calling us to the service of others.
Bless us with a generosity of spirit to ensure the vulnerable are protected.
Bless us with compassionate hearts so that we will reach out to those who are wounded by abuse.
bless us with courage and determination as we seek the safety of everyone in our parish communities.
Help us dedicate ourselves to this work of service and pray that you will help us to do your will at all times and in all places.
Lord, our God, Look with favour on our children whom we as a Church commend to your tender
Your Son, gladly welcomed little children.
He took them in his arms, blessed them, and held them up as an example for us all.
We pray that you, Father, will also send your blessing upon all of us gathered here this day, so that
we may play our part in helping our children to grow in Christ,
and by the power of the Holy Spirit, may they become Christ’s witnesses in a world which craves
their energy, light and generosity.
Allow us to create environments where both children and priests flourish and minister to each other
in a spirit of light, love and joy.
We also beg your pardon for the times we have failed in this ministry. We remember those who
have been hurt and those who are hurting, may your healing be a source of strength and comfort to
them and their families.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen Lord, we thank you for the gift of our children;
they are our light and our joy.
Give us wisdom to guide them, patience to teach them, and a desire to encourage them always. As
we strive to love them sincerely, may we never betray their trust, dampen their hope, or discourage
May we help them achieve their potential and fulfil your dreams for them.
May your grace and love fall gently upon them giving them the inner strength, peace and patience
they will need for the journey ahead.
And as we strive to create safe environments where we can freely minister to them, may we be open
to you ministering to us in and through them. Amen
we pray that the church may be a place of welcome,
security and compassion.
Keep us watchful yet caring,
trusting yet ready to question,
that all who worship in our churches may do so in safety and in the knowledge of your love;