In the beginning was the ball, and the word was ball

Dog looked at the ball and gave it freely expecting that it would be thrown

And it was thrown

And Dog saw that it was good…..

 

Then created was the walk,

And dog was told that he may partake of any pleasures in the walk excepting the fruits of chasing cars, cyclists or eating joggers.

But the seed had been sewn and dog saw only the moving cars, the delicious cyclists and the scrumptious joggers no matter whether they were lithe and fast or large and wobbly…. And dog could not resist.

 

Thus there was much gnashing of teeth, of cries in the wilderness and elsewhere and there was much anguish.

 

Thus came the great commandments

 

“Closer!” – thou shalt place the ball within easy reach if thouest wants it lobbed verily.

“Sit!” – Thou shalt sit, an remain sitting until thy owner allowest movement

“Stay!” Thou shalt remain, until told “good boy” or instructed otherwise.

“calmmmmm….” Thou shalt sit, make an attempt at relaxing  and breathe – and take in the good air

“Oh Barney / Barnabus !!!” Thou shalt consider what sin thou hast committed and repent with an

appropriate sorrowful expression.

“Get DOWN! ?Get Off!” Thou shalt not attempt to climb into thy owner’s ear, nor trample the flower  beds, or share the duvet.

“Come to me/ Barney come!”  Thou shalt come.

Nb. The final commandment currently needs more work.

 

(With thanks and credit to Simon Cade who created a version of this on Facebook a few years ago and from whom I pinched the idea)

 

Barney the 10 month old Collie has been with us for a fortnight and progress has been made albeit slowly… but the taste for cyclists and joggers in going to be hard to break. The head harness has stopped the pulling to a large extent which means I no longer have to stop to recover while I sew my arm back onto my shoulder!

 

Saturday morning’s dawn expedition yielded something of a breakthrough when a jogger ran past without much reaction from Barney and he did not jump at any cars until the final one before we got back through the gate.

 

A fortnight ago I was celebrating a year of solitary morning lockdown walks when I prayed, wrote sermons in my head, rehearsed sermons and mulled over the issues of the day. Then suddenly all changed and all focus was on whether a jogger might be around the next corner or whether I could grab his collar at the sound of a car which has rather curtailed the spiritual meditative rhythmic pacing in the dawn light along the mineral tramway and the Great Flat Lode.

 

Life changes suddenly and lurches off in a different direction from that which you expect, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a way that can devastate.  As chaplain, a spiritual director  and as a licensed Lay Minister who now has a funeral ministry I talk to all sorts of people about tragedies ranging from  grief for a recent bereavement to the diagnosis of a serious illness and from family issues to the loss of faith and consequent heart break.  It was never something that was on my radar to do, Lez is much better at that stuff than me and my ministry was always from the pulpit or with children, I never thought I was equipped. God has other ideas however and the Holy Spirit provides us with the wherewithal to accomplish the tasks he sets for us whether we are in good health, in adversity or even at the point of his calling us home. “Do not fear,” says Jesus on countless occasions… but I think being nervous of doing something we are called to do outside our comfort zones is air enough.

 

Zoom Transitions

 

Love Zoom or hate it, in one form or another it is here to stay. There are times when I love it and some when I hate it but all things considered I would not want to be without it, or its equivalent.   Our morning prayer crew are still faithfully there across the week at 9am each day but they would certainly not gather so faithfully if that service was in a church. Meetings are so much better on ZOOM or Teams

  • You don’t have to travel which saves time, fuel and the environment
  • You have time before a meeting to make your coffee as you like it and roll into the meeting punctually
  • If it is really boring or if someone is irritating beyond your endurance you can always feign a connection problem and switch off.
  • You don’t have to travel in the dark….
  • You can have a comfortable chair!
  • You are not near anybody else’s germs.
  • You don’t have to wear a mask
  • and very importantly it is possible to have a meeting with folk who are geographically very distant.

 

So I rather hope that training sessions will continue on Zoom along with governor meetings and study groups….  Though I really am missing going to my favourite restaurants and the theatre!

From Saturday Morning prayer – the Ester Bonnet parade on Zoom before our rather solemn service with much prayer for those in our thoughts for various reasons. 

I am giving Zoom a miss next week as far as I can,  and will be walking the newest addition to the Seth household who is travelling down from Bristol today.

Apparently he is a bit of a handful…. but we are looking forward to the challenge and the delights of having a dog again. 

It may have influenced my choice of the Easter Picture further down the page! 🙂 

and on the dog theme here is Jac’s story on the diocesan website A story about Percy, God’s dog – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese

 

“The Elephant in the Church” 

Clicking the title will take you to an interesting piece in The JC (The Jewish Chronicle) sent to me by an old friend from college days, Pauline, who worships at Hatch End Reformed Synagogue.  

For me, I do not think of the  condemning crowds before Pilate as being Jewish, I think of them as representing countless numbers of human-kind across the millennia who when faced with oppression and injustice can be manipulated by religious or political organisations.

When you look around our world today it is repeated over and over again with mobs, factions, rioters, violent extremists all looking to blame, to shame and often to maim. The resurrection  of Jesus gives us hope that somehow we can rise above, be something more forgiving, more loving and caring, more discerning about what we are told.  The general populace is swayed by the media that tells us what to think, the loud voices of the tabloid press, the stirring up of anger by the likes of Piers Morgan and by the well oiled machine of spin that is the stuff of Government. 

I feel rather sorry for Judas….. a man who took his own life realising that he had got it so badly wrong.  A zealot who was probably manipulated himself to think that what he was doing was for the best- I just don’t buy the “dishonest thief who stole from the common purse” picture, that is a Piers Morgan type catch-all simplification. How could anyone be around Jesus as a disciple with that intent? But I can believe that he thought that precipitating action by his hero would bring down the powerful oppressors. How deluded was he and how desperate he must have felt! 

From the Easter hope we need dialogue, understanding and above all the love of the risen Christ.  Not only between the world’s religions, between countries and continents but between ourselves. When  women are still not seen as equal to men, when we discriminate on the grounds of race, colour, creed and sexuality  and when we cause hurt to others because of our views, whether or not we have been manipulated into thinking them, we are not being loving.

Simply, the message from Jesus is to love everyone and that through the resurrection and the gifting of the Holy Spirit we do have the wherewithal to do it.  as the canticle from the Northumbrian Daily Office puts it

Christ, as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek, yet all-powerful.
Christ as a light;
Christ as a shield;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.

Happy Easter One and All.

Jim

One of my favourite Ester images from Craig Aitcheson

Contact – some thoughts from Sandie Massie, a Reader from the Lizard Peninsula 

It’s hard to believe that Easter has arrived again, yet so much has happened to each one of us over the last year. We have had to find a new way of living and being, which has caused us to miss one of the most precious gifts; that of human contact. Yet isn’t this what Easter is really about? Certainly not about chocolate eggs and fluffy bunny rabbits, or indeed ancient rituals of worship – traditions that did not exist in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Why did Jesus become God Incarnate, God in the flesh, in human form? To be the living sacrifice given once for all for the forgiveness of sins? Yes, most certainly; but Christ also came to make contact with humankind. During his earthly ministry, Jesus touched people – literally. He touched the eyes of the blind and covered the ears of the deaf. He breathed on the dead to bring them back to life. He laid hands on the sick and the lame to restore normal function. He made contact with people. 

 

In particular during Passiontide, Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and held out bread and wine to them at the Last Supper.  He touched and healed the ear of the soldier wounded by Peter at Gethsemane. He locked eyes with his mother and with John, the disciple he loved, as he hung on the Cross, committing them to one others’ care. Contact – even reaching out to the men hanging beside him at Calvary. And then he was gone; taken down from the Cross and laid in a tomb. He was out of reach, out of touch, out of contact. 

 

Then came the miracle of miracles- Jesus’ resurrection from the dead as good triumphed over evil. And what was the first thing the risen son of God did? He made contact with Mary Magdalene and some of the disciples. Later he invited the doubting Thomas to place his hand in Jesus’ wounded side. He shared a meal of fish with his disciples on the beach. 

 

Later he ascended into heaven to be with his Father. But Jesus kept in contact with humankind. The Holy Spirit came and touched Jesus’ followers; and it’s the same today. That same Holy Spirit is here with us to keep us in contact with our Saviour and our Father. 

 

'There’s One Thing I Know . . .’

It is 4.30am and I’m lying in the dark, in an unfamiliar bed, feeling rather miserable. It’s not just the discomfort caused by the varied symptoms of post-surgical radiation therapy, though I’m beginning to wonder how I’ll live with these ongoing symptoms. Will I continue to be able to ‘do it anyway’ – my life-long policy when faced with things that could stop me or inhibit my plans – or maybe this time, will it really prove too much for me? Does God want me to get licensed as a Reader in October and move into that ministry? Or perhaps God is saying ‘Time to give up – you’ve done your best, I know. No shame on you but let it go.’

This is also the morning of my seventieth birthday. Who would have thought I’d be spending it in a city far from home, undergoing cancer treatment, in the middle of a Covid-19 pandemic with all the restrictions that we have/have not got used to. Well, that’s the reality, I think. So get over this misery moment and cheer yourself up before your hubby starts to stir in the bed beside you. Get ready to enjoy your birthday, and give thanks you are still around to celebrate your ‘three score years and ten’.

So I find my phone and put in my headphones, searching my music library for the right music. Maybe my lovely Bach, my favourite composer – who shares my birthday, though he was born in 1685, not 1951. No, I know, I’ll play my CD of the Penguin Café Orchestra. That always cheers me up. I love the joy these musicians express in their playing together. So I click on the first track, feeling calmer and anticipating the opening strains of the cello section. But – what’s this? This isn’t the PCO. It’s a work by Gavin Bryars that I haven’t listened to in years.

Jesus’ blood never failed me yet,
Never failed me yet,
Jesus’s blood never failed me yet.
There’s one thing I know,
For he loves me so . . .

Click the Picture NOW for the music- while you read!

How did this happen? I don’t even have that CD in my music library! What a mystery!

* * *

Gavin Bryars composed this work in a novel way, at the time. He began with a recording he had made when he happened to hear an old homeless man singing under the arches near the river in south London. The man was singing words from this hymn he’d remembered, maybe from childhood, who knows. He may have been drunk, but his voice is so touching, singing this hymn of comfort with such feeling. Bryars added orchestration that gradually joins in with the voice, reaches a crescendo, and then fades away, leaving just the solitary sound of the old man singing, until that too fades away. The sound continues to haunt you long after the music stops.

As I listened to this work, on my seventieth birthday, I heard the message very personally. ‘Jesus’ blood never failed me yet.’ I thought of all the times when Jesus has brought me back from dangers and traumas and other illnesses. It is true: he has ‘never failed me yet’. I thought of the blood of the communion cup and could almost taste the sip, as in my imagination I knelt at the rail. ‘There’s one thing I know, for he loves me so.’ Indeed he does. Now I knew I was going to enjoy my strange birthday – and I did. Later that day, as I walked with my husband along a local seafront, as we ate our fish and chips in the salty air, the voice of that unknown wanderer, without a home to go to, remained the soundtrack of my day.

Patti Owens (Reader in training)

Penguin Cafe Orchestra

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Carrie Tucker -
Our Secretary is Moving!!

Carrie is moving house when Covid restrictions allow the details to be sorted out to be closer to family in Plymouth. So as she is leaving the Diocese we will be saying goodbye to her with huge thanks for her amazing work and support of Reader/LLM ministry – without her the admin would look very different. 

I am interviewing her on ZOOM in the very near future and hope to post it on here next week. 

In the meantime… here are a couple of links to Carrie articles.

Maundy Money arriving by post not pageantry – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese

 

Kathy Lang - Methodist Local Preacher - RIP

Many Readers/LLMs will have known Kathy Lang who was a Methodist Local Preacher in Looe who preached occasionally in St Martins Liskeard. She died last night having discovered a few months ago that her cancer had returned.  Even though she knew her time was limited she managed to come to some of our Monday Morning Sessions where she joined in discussions enthusiastically and even came this Monday though she did look poorly.

 As a serial attendee at any training day many will  miss her presence, her sharp mind and often witty responses.  

I met her properly wen she came down to St Andrews in Redruth to hear me preach before booking me for the choir festival in Looe that summer…. she was a woman who knew exactly what she wanted but her love of the Lord never faltered. 

Rest in Peace Kathy….. and rise in Glory.

Malcolm Bowers
So sorry to hear this news. I valued her as a friend. Her faith was at the centre of her life. She had a sharp mind and loved music winning cups at competitions. The Lord will certainly say “well done good and faithful servant”.

Jane Darlington
Rest dear Kathy x

Jacqueline Haines
A very special person xx

John James Kendrick-Crawshaw
Oh my gosh, I’m so saddened to hear this, Kathy has touch so many peoples lives, from her preaching to her ‘at home’ get togethers. Rest in Glory Kathy Lang xxx

Ross Isbell

So very sad to hear this news. Rest in peace dear Kathy. 🥰 💛 xx

A Cartoons I found on Social Media.....

tis week!
DISCUSS 🙂


Maybe a Monday morning theme?

Morning Prayer continues on ZOOM with a growing congregation at 9am each day.

There always seems to be much hilarity before we begin, on the day of Mary’s hat several of us were wiping tears of mirth from our eyes…but if you want the story you’ll have to join us …. before 9 when all goes still and we pray together. 

The link is in the weekly email! 

So this week, having discovered that the roof of the shed was no longer completely watertight I bought some special sealant from Screwfix and set about painting it on…… that was at the beginning of the week, it took two attempts over two days and I am still aching having discovered pains in muscled I had forgotten I had.  But the sky was blue, the sun was shining and I did manage to climb up there safely and complete the task and for that I am grateful! I am even more grateful that my neighbours offered to come and complete the job for me at the point of the photograph…. people have been so generous with time in the last year  and although I did not need the help it was nice to have it offered. Who can we offer help to this week?

Ministerial Development Review - over Carn Brea

I am always on about the importance of communication within ministry teams. Caspar and I went for a walk for a couple of hours to discuss ministry and to reflect on the past couple of years. The rock behind me is where in normal years, the cross would stand on Carn Brea. Amazing that Caspar managed to look far more intrepid than me! So we managed exercise, being appropriately socially distant and had a good conversation. We might have to do the same thing when it is time for reviewing my working agreement…. which should be sooner rather than later. From my point of view it is an example of good practice in action. Thank you Caspar.

An Esteemed Otter

Bishop Philip pointed out that I had written to Esteemed Otters…. so I could not resist ‘Googling’ (or more accurately ‘Bing-ing’ some. 

Another Esteemed Otter

Reader David Watters found this heartwarming tale on social media

Katharine Hepburn, in her own words:
“Once when I was a teenager, my father and I were standing in line to buy tickets for the circus.
Finally, there was only one other family between us and the ticket counter. This family made a big impression on me.
There were eight children, all probably under the age of 12. The way they were dressed, you could tell they didn’t have a lot of money, but their clothes were neat and clean.
The children were well-behaved, all of them standing in line, two-by-two behind their parents, holding hands. They were excitedly jabbering about the clowns, animals, and all the acts they would be seeing that night. By their excitement you could sense they had never been to the circus before. It would be a highlight of their lives.
The father and mother were at the head of the pack standing proud as could be. The mother was holding her husband’s hand, looking up at him as if to say, “You’re my knight in shining armor.” He was smiling and enjoying seeing his family happy.
The ticket lady asked the man how many tickets he wanted? He proudly responded, “I’d like to buy eight children’s tickets and two adult tickets, so I can take my family to the circus.” The ticket lady stated the price.
The man’s wife let go of his hand, her head dropped, the man’s lip began to quiver. Then he leaned a little closer and asked, “How much did you say?” The ticket lady again stated the price.
The man didn’t have enough money. How was he supposed to turn and tell his eight kids that he didn’t have enough money to take them to the circus?
Seeing what was going on, my dad reached into his pocket, pulled out a $20 bill, and then dropped it on the ground. (We were not wealthy in any sense of the word!) My father bent down, picked up the $20 bill, tapped the man on the shoulder and said, “Excuse me, sir, this fell out of your pocket.”
The man understood what was going on. He wasn’t begging for a handout but certainly appreciated the help in a desperate, heartbreaking and embarrassing situation.
He looked straight into my dad’s eyes, took my dad’s hand in both of his, squeezed tightly onto the $20 bill, and with his lip quivering and a tear streaming down his cheek, he replied; “Thank you, thank you, sir. This really means a lot to me and my family.”
My father and I went back to our car and drove home. The $20 that my dad gave away is what we were going to buy our own tickets with.
Although we didn’t get to see the circus that night, we both felt a joy inside us that was far greater than seeing the circus could ever provide.
That day I learned the value to give.
The giver is bigger than the receiver. If you want to be large, larger than life, learn to Give. Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get – only with what you are expecting to give – which is everything.
The importance of giving, blessing others can never be over emphasized because there’s always joy in giving. Learn to make someone happy by acts of giving.”
~ Katharine Hepburn
(from Everything Good in the World)

The Living inLove and Faith Launch

 Last week’s emailing to Fellow Readers/LLMs, Church Family and Esteemed Otters (Others) was hurriedly sent around the Living in Love and Faith Launch last Saturday morning. I  had written a piece about that Launch but Bishop Hugh’s letter that arrived in inboxes yesterday says it so much better that I have linked it here in case you cant find it in your inbox.  It was a very worthwhile morning, and where I do not think it will change much in the way of canon law etc in the near future, I do believe it is a good way forward to promote understanding and a dialogue that is rooted in our love for one another.

LLF Letter follow up Bishop Hugh’s Letter  

I propose that as Readers we might actually do the sessions and go through the materials in a ZOOM format sooner rather than later with perhaps one group meeting in the evening and another during the day. (it would be helpful to have some keen folk to facilitate this though I am happy to set up links. 

Please do read +Hugh’s letter and then let me know what you think.

https://www.churchofengland.org/resources/living-love-and-faith

Truro Diocese Living in Love and Faith Pages 

St Piran's Awards

I am now the proud recipient of a St Pirans cross which I shall wear alongside my Reader’s badge when I wear a jacket which is rare these days. For now it is pinned to my computer screen with my Reader Badge and a cross made by Reader Robin West for the Readers in Training residential  at Epiphany House.  Note-my ready Webcam for this morning’s Morning Prayer Zoom.

The service on ZOOM was  uplifting in hearing and seeing all the people who were doing things to support their various communities from technology support to food bank and feeding people in poverty.  If you have not red the citations, they are really worth reading on the Diocesan Website as are the articles written by Jac.

Scroll down the News page to find them: News – Truro Diocese : Truro Diocese

Lockdown Evening Viewing

Finally, our evening TV (channel 4)  has included the wonderful series with Martin Sheen as president of the United States, “the West Wing” here is a clip of  the president talking to a right wing journalist relevant to the Living in Love and Faith Debate even if I am not sure about his point scoring tone…. which is not in the spirit of LLF.

 

So I was walking along the mineral tramway the other day chatting to God as one does and the conversation went something like this: (I understand that God might talk to other people completely differently! Please don’t take this too literally!) 

“Good morning God, here I am again…..”

“Good morning Jim what’s on your mind?”

“I thought you would know what is on my mind already…”

“Well of course I do but it will help you if you articulate it”

“I thought you may say something like that. Er…… So God…….”

“Yes?..”

“About healing…. “

“You’re going to ask about why some seem to be healed and others not……”

“Well…… sort of but more what do I say about it to folks who ask why they have had such bad fortune when others do not.”

“Perhaps you have answered your own question,” remarks God.

“eh? “ I pause, “what? Bad fortune?”

“Bad fortune happens, ‘stuff’ happens… “says God philosophically.

“But what about….”

“Miracles?”  God cuts across my thought, “I knew you were going to ask that.”

“Well, what’s the answer?” I ask.

“Giving you the answer would be too easy,” says God (I can almost hear God chuckling), “what is a miracle?”

“Well…… “I begin promisingly, ”a miracle is something unusual that does not happen often, something that is unexpected, rare …….”

“And…… “says God

“– well miraculous!”

“So if they happened all the time they would not be miracles. I know what you are going to ask next….”

“What?”

“Ask me and I will tell you if I was right.”

“I know you are always right, because you are God and I am just me trying to work it out…  but who decided who is going to get a miracle? I mean it’s a bit of a lottery…… “

“yes I knew you were go to ask that one, let’s come back to it,” says God changing the subject….. “what were you going to ask about earthquakes and famine”

“oh that… well yes, what do I say to people who ask how ‘You’ as God could let it happen…. ?”

“So tell me what I have given you, and by you I mean all humankind….. and then I will answer…”

“well , brains, natural resources, a beautiful planet, the ability to evolve…. And solve problems, create vaccines, grow food efficiently and much more….”

“Now we are getting somewhere….. “Prompts God….

“oh so if we used our talents and resources better, if we shared more and built less missiles, we could find more cures and find ways to help avoid natural disasters.”

“I will let you ponder on that one….. “Comments God, “what about miracles?”

“well I wondered about the amount of faith, and mustard size faith moving mountains and all that….  But that does not help.”

“why?”

“well, there are lots of faithful people who have prayed for miracles and not got them!”

“you mean the answer to their prayer was not what was expected?”

“Well there is some of that, but sometimes really awful stuff happens to people…. And maybe they get blamed for not having enough faith or it’s retribution for past behaviour…”

“It doesn’t work like that,” says God sagely, “besides that is not how you think about me is it?”

“No it’s not, I think about you as a loving God who is with us on our journey wherever that might lead and in whatever state of suffering we might be in. I don’t think you arbitrarily decide who will be cured and who wont not do I think that about natural disasters that a group of people suddenly brought down your wrath though I can see and understand why some people might think that.”

“CAREFUL!” warns God

“what?”

“you’re coming up to the road, focus on what you need to do while you are walking so that you don’t require a miracle.”

“er God, did you just intervene there?”

“Just know that whatever they are suffering I am there with them and will not let them go….  I know you want to ask more but that is enough for now….”

 

But that was the end of that conversation and I crossed the road listening carefully for the traffic coming around the bend and headed down the hill to home.

 

Roy Cooper found this excellent talk by Anglican minister Tom Honey: Why would God create a tsunami? | TED Talk  that he shared with the Monday morning group….. we get into some great discussions!

 

It was a marvellous healing – by Gerard Kelly

it was a marvellous healing;
after the months of asking,
of waiting;
after the desperate, slow deterioration,
the warring tides
of faith and doubt:
to be released in an instant,
from every pain.
it was as if the very molecules of his flesh
had been infused, invaded,
with the life of God,
until he was filled, fit to burst,
with the Shalom, the peace,
of the Father’s rule.
limbs that had fallen flaccid with weakness
waved and danced with joy;
lungs that had so utterly failed him
sang out with strength and boldness.

he ran
through the unfamiliar sunlight,
drinking it in,
experiencing all at once
the thousand and one feelings
that for so long had been denied him.

it was a marvelous healing:
to be so totally restored,
made whole,
rebuilt.
it had just surprised him,
a little,
that he had had to die
to receive it.

 

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.