Chaplain’s Thoughts & News February 2020

Dear All

I don’t think I have actually been so busy since I was actually working for a salary and I have given up being chair of governors of two schools! As  I have said to many folks, many times, The trouble with retirement is that you don’t get a day off!”

Regular readers of the blog will know that I officiated at my first funerals just before Christmas and since then I have done a couple more and preached at Lesley Boyden’s – as requested in Lesley’s funeral plan. It was quite an emotional occasion though just getting the request was poignant.  Another couple and I will have taken more funerals than I have attended in the past 60  years or so! Funny how one’s ministry changes in response to need and the skills we gain with experience. When I was first licensed as a reader in 1988. death and dying was not something I wanted to think about and focussed very much on children and young people but after four years as Chaplain to Readers and longer with my involvement with those in training and with Spiritual Direction sitting and listening take less physical energy that my youth ministry used to! The mental effort of making sure that once captures the real essence of the deceased person so that everyone at the funeral recognises them in one’s words is both challenging and rewarding. (when you get it right!)



The St Andrews Randoms

My lovely wife amongst all the other things she does puts on a twice yearly musical event. Last week it was a folk night rather than the usual themed event so rater than the usual skilled keyboard accompaniment I was drafted in to play guitar and tell a folk tale in six parts. My fingers were so sore by the end of the performance but the story went down well and a good time was had by all making £600 plus towards the MMF making it a really worthwhile event in the eyes of the parish treasurer! The real benefit though is that some of the cast are not church goers and the same is true of half the audience meaning that it is a very really contact with Christians doing relatively normal fun stuff in a safe environment. 



Storm Dennis took its toll on the Readers committee which has been postponed to March 21st. It should be an interesting meeting with a number of good discussion items on the agenda. One current issue you might like to comment on is about PTO, permission to officiate which starts somewhat arbitrarily at the age of 70. Having just had my 68th birthday this looms somewhat ominously. It does strike me that it is largely an irrelevance if we are all being re-licensed every 3 years or 5 years depending on diocese, a number does not make the job change, capacity does. More on this after the meeting. It will of course have something of a knock on effect on training……

Buckets to catch the storm at St Andrews Redruth

A Tale of Lesleys 

My life has been blessed with a number of Lesleys , my dear wife, Lesley Borden and Lesley Margetts our former secretary to Readers who gets a brief mention as the other Lesley Lesley B’s funeral sermon. A fourth Lesley is Lesley Michell who has a commendation as a reader on the anniversary of her licensing on March 25th and I shall be going to ST Mary’s in Penzance that evening to present her certificate. I am looking forward to it. Doubtless Lesley B will feature in future sermons and other Lesleys may as well! 


My Lesley (Lez) trying to fit in an audience and still move! The photo is so she can remember for next time.


It has been gratifying in the safeguarding training I have been leading to see a much more positive commitment  towards safeguarding and in particular our care of and recognition of the pain of victims of abuse. I have been from Sennen to Rilla Mill with a mixture of safeguarding training and Chaplaincy visits. One session was one to one so that a Reader could be re-licenced  and the last was a C3 in my house for Readers in Training and two readers who needed to refresh their training so that the trainees would be ready for their placements. It seemed a good thing to do on the morning of my birthday:) 

I maintain that everyone who comes to church should have basic safeguarding training – not so that we are suspiciously looking for misdemeanours and culprits. but so that we love each other enough to spot when someone is suffering and then do something about it. Readers have such an important role here in spreading the word and changing the culture. 


Prayer List – news in the accompanying email.

the damp looking stones at the bottom… mossy, grassy, stained but so important….. a bit like safeguarding! 

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