Every morning from about 8:40 the faithful gather for Morning Prayer in the Redruth Team from Monday to Saturday. The link is in the email if you want to drop in and join us. 

Every day is different with a different member of the team leading and often with a completely different liturgy. It might be Common worship but we have also used materials from Lindisfarne, Iona, the Methodists and various books we have in our collective libraries. Today we had a liturgy for Lamas Day from Celtic Worship and as each person signed in they were assigned a reader number to join in. 

The group is rarely less than nine and never more than a screenful but it has been an anchor point for each day and a great joy- mainly because by 9am and the start of the service everyone is smiling or laughing together and I am quite sure that God is laughing with us. 

Last week the pre MP conversation was around our first jobs (we prayed for folks in the first jobs 0or seeking them later) and Mary told us all about her first job as clerical staff in a bone yard,  Sue told us about her job working for her father in the butcher’s shop and my tales were of  sitting with a group of women for a week in a box factory where I had to look at boxes full of boxes checking for printing errors while listening to tales of the menopause or anything else they thought might make a 16 year old lad uncomfortable.  These shared memories and conversations are as important as the service itself in many ways and makes the effort to conquer the technical problems and operation of zoom worthwhile. 

Reader colleagues- don’t assume your older congregation members will not use technology – some will and will spread the word- give it a go especially if your opportunities for ministry are a bit thin on the ground at the moment. 

Jim 

Find the relevance of the picture of my grandson Patrick in Fr Peter Fellowes’ Newsletter here…. https://redruthchurch.org.uk/fr-peter-together-newsletter-2nd-august/

A blessing I am going to use for Monday’s Morning Prayer on Zoom.

May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.

May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and xploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.

May God bless you 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 you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.

Three More Images of Christ I found on the Internet- what are your thoughts?

Following Monday morning’s Reader Discussion last week  and subsequent conversations I turned to prayer:

We pray for all who feel their identity  whether defined by race, gender, sexuality of economic status makes them feel excluded by the church. Lord, help all people, especially those who would call them selves Christian see our prejudices in the light of your love and work toward making the Kingdom here on earth fair and equitable. 

 

We pray for those who cannot, do not or will not follow the rules, advice and guidance in preventing the spread of disease in the current pandemic. Lord that they might see themselves in light of your love that they might love their neighbour and not just themselves. 

We pray for all politicians and world leaders as they face difficult decisions and difficult choices in coming weeks and months.  Lord, grant them wisdom to understand the underlying issues, eyes that really see the suffering of their people, ears that hear the cries for help and wills that they might change things for the good of all and not just the wealthiest. 

Amen

Some thoughts on Licensed Lay Ministry….. this might get the discussion going at Monday Morning’s meeting! J

 

My views are coloured by spending much of my teaching career as a deputy head. As deputy, someone else is mostly in charge and the deputy is there  to support, help and gently and appropriately challenge.  Often one’s own ideas are posted into the mind of the head only to find out they resurface sometime later as their idea – good deputies treat this as a success and say nothing.  Occasionally as deputy one gets left in charge, sometimes for a lengthy period  and that can be challenging especially of a new head is appointed – but the job of support and challenge remains the same.  I treat my local Reader Ministry in much the same way.

As you might imagine, I have a lot of conversations and communication with Readers about their personal situations and their ministry and I write this buoyed by the positivity, creativity and determination to carry on in the face of all sorts of problems. For example those who are ministering to others while suffering terminal illness, having to care for someone with dementia or recovering in infinitesimally small steps from serious illness shows just how strong that call, that charge from our Lord is and, as Chaplain, I am in awe as I pray for those Readers. 

On the other hand, others have found it hard to find a role and lately the range of Reader opinion expressed within my hearing has been wide to say the least. Here are some generic examples:

  • We are in transition and so much is expected of me – I love it because I am useful or it’s impossible because people expect too much and there is no end in sight.
  • I am not used enough, my incumbent does not understand me and I never talk to them because they are much too busy.
  • I love being part of a flourishing ministry team.    
  • The Covid period has been dreadful because everything has been taken away…
  • The Covid period has provided new opportunities for ministry and I have been energised and motivated in new ways…..
  • Secretly I have loved lockdown, I have been able to step back and re-evaluate what is important
  • Although I have enjoyed the solitude of lockdown it is bad for me because we ought to be out there …..

I am sure you can think of more….. perhaps one for your own situation. 

At its heart, Reader Ministry is about teaching and preaching, the lay theologians of the parish or at least it used to be. The Central Readers website now rebranded as www.transformingministry.co.uk asks,

What is a Licensed Lay (Reader) Minister ?

“A Licensed Lay (Reader) Minister is a lay person who, following a call from God, is trained and licensed by the Anglican Church to teach the faith, enable mission and lead in church and society.”

That is a far broader remit, so when Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) say they are underused the following goes through my mind to ask:

  1. Have you spoken to your incumbent about your work agreement?
    • Have you asked your incumbent why you are not asked to preach?
    • Have they watched you?
  2. Do you meet with the rest of the ministry team in your patch?
  3. What are the needs of your local church / community?
  4. What training do you think you might need to respond to need if your current skill set does not match?

Now you might be surprised that the first question is often answered with an ironic chuckle and comments about never seeing the clergy and never havening been asked about a work agreement to which my response is along the lines of. “download one of the sample agreements available on the chaplain’s website, edit it to suit you and book an appointment. If you are in transition you might want to consult the rural dean.”

The second one is more tricky. There are places where ministry teams don’t meet currently and I suspect there are local issues about this. There are weeks when I sigh and think …. ‘Oh dear another team meeting!’ but in all honesty they are incredibly valuable especially when we do some Bible Study together as part of it.  My advice is to keep asking!

The third question has often been done as part of AMD but not always shared and always worth revisiting but it helps if the ministry team meets.

The last question is usually answered with a denial of knowing what is available and a plethora of excuses about time and relevance.

Training

https://transformingministry.co.uk/life-long-learning/

https://trurodiocese.org.uk/res/online-cmd-programme/ Looks pretty but there was nothing there today, however https://trurodiocese.org.uk/resources/ministry/cmd/ will bring up the latest training offerings. I am looking forward to the prayer and Celtic Spirituality Course on Thursday afternoon!

If you were licensed in the last few years you may well get invitations to the Post Licensing Programme which is beginning in the autumn fronted by Martin Adams.

Those in training are following the SWMTC programme.

And…… there are webinars widely available. If anyone has suggestions they think others should know about please do let me know.

 

If you would like to contribute to the discussion come and join us on Monday morning – ask me for a link if you can’t find the email invitation.

 

Jim

Dear Friends,

 

I’m circulating this on the basis that almost all of us have had conversations among ourselves about the responses of the governments of the UK and the Republic of Ireland to the Covid-19 outbreak; also about what is an appropriate Christian response to the situation. All the recipients of this message are Christian friends or family; though you are spread around the globe and are of every shade and hue of Christian belief and culture. Moreover, each person receiving this message is someone who, I am confident, will not abuse its arguments to foment rebellion or threaten Christian unity, and will not be disturbed by the position for which it is arguing.

 

At the end of this message there is a link to an interview that I am suggesting will prove worthwhile. The interview is in several sections, each devoted to one fundamental question about responses to the Covid-19 outbreak. I’m not expecting replies to this message. I’m not going to quiz people about it. If you prefer, you can bin it now.

 

From the start, I have adhered to the UK government’s regulations about isolation, travel, mask-wearing and so forth. That is despite my scepticism about the governments’ responses in both countries. Also, most of you will know that I have been disappointed, at the deepest possible level, by the responses of various churches.

 

Nevertheless, I will continue to follow the regulations, partly out of respect for others. But I continue to be convinced that, for the nations of Britain and Ireland and for a very large proportion of their populations, the “cure” is, in so many way, proving worse than the disease. In that respect I’m in company with some pretty distinguished thinkers from all areas of the political spectrum, including a number of distinguished scientists. However, few people seem willing or able to hear what such objectors have to say. The interview below is an especially articulate and scientifically informed statement of scepticism informed by serious scientific thinking.

 

Some questions that occur to me as possible self-criticism are these: Is a Christian wrong even to think like this, and if so where does the error lie? Am I just using this issue to justify my natural inclination towards being a contrarian? Or am I merely the Victor Meldrew of Readers in Truro Diocese? Whatever I might think are truthful answers to those questions, I am certain of this —that the forces surrounding this event are extraordinarily potent, and are operating on spiritual levels as well as via physical events, to do what the scriptures tell us is the work of Satan: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

 

The interview offers an entirely secular explanation of just about all the issues that lead me to object. A friend alerted me to it, and my choice has nothing to do with political allegiances. (I support Spiked magazine financially — also many others, politically opposed to one another, including The Guardian and The Salisbury Review. I want to know what people think.) It is simply that I have not come across a more lucid interrogation not only of the policies adopted, but of the presuppositions that have given rise to them. It is especially good at identifying the culture of compulsion and of fear that causes and feeds off this terrible mess.

 

Culture of fear!  What is the most frequent command in the Bible? “Do not be afraid”. (There are plenty of readily available sources that enumerate all the appearances of those words and close equivalents.) It might be spoken by a prophet, by one of the Apostles, or by Jesus himself. It speaks of confidence in the love of God.

 

Here is a worthwhile aperitif for the interview that follows:

Dr John Lee’s Wikipedia page: 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lee_(pathologist)

You’ll see that he’s a patron of Humanists UK, and he signed that famous public letter objecting to the visit to the UK of Pope Benedict, back in 2010. So I’m not an uncritical fan.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/sep/15/harsh-judgments-on-pope-religion   That’s a very interesting page, and cogent to arguments I have made in Solomon’s Portico and elsewhere that The Guardian is the most fundamentally anti-Christian of all our mainstream newspapers.

 

And here’s the interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDEljJ6qyBc&feature=em-uploademail

 

I hope you all are keeping well; and I pray for us all, for our churches and our nation.

 

Warm good wishes,

Martin (Adams)

21 CV TRINITY 7    Click here for the illustrated PDF

 

21 CV TRINITY VI                               Thought for St.James’ Day

Readings:-                                                             by

1 Kings ch.6, vv11-14/23-end                         Didymus

Acts Ch.12, vv1-17

John Ch.6, vv1-21

 

Today we celebrate dear old St.James the Great, the patron saint of St.Kew Church, the beautiful and wonderful old church in St.Kew Churchtown.  All churches have a beauty of course, through their purpose and those who go there.  The core of a village was the close proximity of the School, the Church and the Inn, the latter for the thirst after righteousness.  That is not just an old joke, as many a chorister has sidled out and wetted his whistle during the long and more tiresome parts of the service!  Perhaps not recently, though.

Saturday would have been St.James’ Fete day, by courtesy of the Mathiesons at Trescobel, almost always in blissful sun, often quite hot, with the various stalls selling all manner of things, and meeting friends for a pleasant afternoon.  Much the same had happened at St.Mabyn, St.Tudy, St.Michaels(-tow), and we had St.Minver and St.Endellion fetes still to look forward to.  The covid virus has culled from us not just church services, but Bible groups and our fetes.  I wonder whether we will see the rich variety of fetes return, and when.

The reading from Acts describes firstly, the murder in 44AD of James the Great, brother of John bar-Zebedee, by Herod Antipas, who then seized Peter with murder in mind.  What follows is a description of Peter’s miraculous release from imprisonment.  Further on, Herod comes to an appropriately sticky end. 

We should remember that, earlier, the Bar-Zebedee brothers, the Boanerges, asked to be by Jesus’ side.  But are you willing to share my destiny, our Lord asked.  They answered “Yes” to which Jesus answered that they would also share his destiny.  James was the first Apostle to die.

St.James the Great is the patron saint of Spain, and his remains are believed to be north-western Spain, in the city of Santiago de Compostela, as I am sure many of us know.  There are several versions of James in Spanish, Jaime, Jamés or Iago, the latter being the one used here – the name of the vengeful villain of Shakespeare’s Othello.  The pilgrimage from South-western France to Compostela has become the most famous in the Christian world, and many, including sturdy, determined Christians from North Cornwall, have travelled “El Camino”, to find it a memorable experience.  It has been the basis for a film called “The Way”, which is the translation of El Camino.  The Cathedral at Santiago boasts a huge thurifer, (if that is the correct name) hung from the roof and operated by at least eight men.  The late Chef Keith Floyd called it “the biggest air freshener in the world”.

But enough of jokes.  The Gospel is taken from John’s ch.6, which tells old church hands that it is July-August.  This chapter is arguably one of the most important in the Bible.  The beginning of the reading describes the Feeding of the 5,000, and in verse 6, John reveals that Jesus knew perfectly well what would happen and what he intended to do about it.  I must admit that the miracle that follows on immediately, Walking on the Water, worries me, for there seems no obvious purpose to the miracle, other than that Jesus could do it, and thereby strengthen the Disciples faith in him.  Maybe that was the reason.

While this reading stands alone, the events and teaching which follow are broken into fragments over about six Sundays, thus destroying its central, vital teaching thread.  The authors of the Lectionary do this several times, presumably intending to avoid lengthy readings and comatose congregations.  Not at all – with a good reader the teaching of Jesus comes to life, as it should.

Last year I remember a news item I which a priest was quoted as saying that sermons were often rather dull (How on earth did he come to that conclusion?), and could benefit from a joke here and there.  

I remember talking to Bishop Bill, saying that the congregation often looked half asleep.  Perhaps “stunned” would have been more accurate.  The Bishop’s comment was “Yes, that is quite often the case, but if you slip up, you will find that they have been listening all the time, and will have your guts for garters.”

So, taking the hint, I have included a cartoon that was sent me years back.  It is funny without being disrespectful.  There isn’t much to laugh about these days, so enjoy it.

 

Include in your prayers thanks for the gift of laughter, for the joy of a fine day, and the beauty of our West Country.  And pray for those who lack laughter, beauty and wonder in their lives.

 

Amen.          

Together JULY 26 2020

An Illustrated version of the letter! 

Every week for 19 issues, Fr Peter has put together this “Together” newsletter which now goes out across the world. In this issue there is a report from a couple of Christians in Peru about the Covid situation there. Really worth reading. 

 

20727JSP (link to the PDF file and better links) 

Solomon’s Portico 27th July 2020  – 


Last Monday, in Jim’s Monday morning group Solomon’s Portico, we
began to discuss two topics of great importance: 


Future directions after the waning of “Corona-tide”
(Thank you, Rev’d Laura Bushell Hawke, for a term that gives an ecclesiastical flavour and implies “onward and hopefully upward”, since though we are Easter people, we celebrate Eastertide explicitly only until Pentecost!)
For the meat to chew on as we talk, see Bishop Philip’s recent article in the Church Times: and the report to which he refers, A Fair and Just Future…


https://trurodiocese.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Fair-and-Just-
Future-for-Cornwall-2020-WEB.pdf


The Five Guiding Principles
Thoughts on consecration, ordination, celebration of Holy Communion, prompted by the recent consecrations of four Bishops including Hugh Nelson, Bishop of St Germans, and two women.


For background to this:
Kathy Lang’s FB post: I watched the consecration of Bishops Hugh and Ruth with great joy this morning, but was still puzzled as to why two consecrations were needed. As a contemporary and friend of some of the earliest female ordinands, I should have remembered… but I thought it might help to clarify some of the stories going around, and to minimise the wider damage, if I posted this link from another friend who is a priest in the Chichester Diocese, with Archbishop Justin’s statement. Some will say these divisions are better hidden: but how can
they ever be healed if we don’t talk about them?


For the meat to chew on as we talk, see:
https://www.chichester.anglican.org/glitter_news/2020/07/14/statement/?
fbclid=IwAR3EHus86eDjjVKNLCG_nHKmMYvFRUMXDaDGEScn2zHi0-
RhuxKuUe36H8k

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/latest-news/statementepiscopal-
consecrations?fbclid=IwAR19PBkoqP1-
hfVboZlArMqTgYfQf6DRIqZ3leFCyt4msoSB3cRS7PpzTgs


The Five Guiding Principles formulated to allow women to be
consecrated Bishop: link to PDF in article above.
Comment in the Church Times that I found helpful
Published June 2019:


https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/28-
june/comment/opinion/the-wound-of-mutual-flourishing

 

Have you got a favourite image that represents your idea of Jesus?  Perhaps we could start a gallery here with comments and pictures. 

This representation of Jesus is by a Dutch photographer and appeared on Facebook in various posts today. One of my friends commented, 

The look of sorrow and compassion in this portrait is fascinating – I saw it this morning and have come back to thinking about it a few times since!” 

 Representations of Jesus is a really interesting study the image below, also said to be of Jesus, or what he might have looked like is not to sympathetic to me. 

Masked Raiders

With the latest edict about wearing masks in shops and now in places of worship, Lez made us some. Of course grandson Patrick also wanted to get in on the mask wearing and NEEDED some for his toys. Granny Provided.

Going Out and Going to Church

So…… if we have to wear masks in church, does that mean there could be singing? Just asking.

I wore my new mask to the chemist the other day when collecting a prescription which was the first time I had been into a shop for a month – since collecting the last prescription. It felt a rather surreal experience even walking up the town to post a parcel (small and shoved through the letter box) surrounded by people in masks of one sort or another or none.  You could spot the chaps who had been made fashion accessory masks made by spouses…… 

I think for Lez and me, thoughts of normal shopping, going out for lunch and even attending the church service in a building are a way off yet.  The memories of the winter’s very slow recovery from a chest infection still to the fore, making us both very wary.  That our children have worked so hard in doing shopping and so on to keep us safe also plays on the mind. To risk all for a service would seem churlish to say the least.

I think for the time being we need to offer a variety of church services online and digital and sometimes both. The readers service will be on ZOOM this year but licensing may be done away from that service. Much discussion is  crossing the wi-fi waves. My robes will remain unworn for some time yet!

"Do you enjoy doing this?" Zoom Morning Prayer?"

I was asked this  yesterday when I filled in for another team member leading the daily 9 am. 

It was an interesting question and threw me for a second or two. What did I enjoy? was I suppose to enjoy it? What if I said I didn’t? What did it infer if I said I did? Is enjoyment actually the right word?

I replied that I did indeed enjoy it – but what I enjoyed was more about the people who were taking part rather than the actual leading of it. I suggested that the group of between 9 & 12 regular morning prayer attendees were a congregation as much as that of any of our churches and what a delight it was that it was made up from people across the benefice. There was much nodding and general agreement and comments about how good it was to get to know people from other churches. 

Some lessons here….. if only I could think what they were 🙂 

 

 

So here is your challenge if you were not at the Redruth Team ZOOM service last week - what have these pictures got to do with the parable of the weeds among the wheat?

 The cartoon is from Bob for all of us who zoom regularly or might be felling zoomed out. 

Not much is the way of a blog this week because I am preaching tomorrow  and it has taken rather more thinking than usual to prepare – I got rather involved in looking for useful images to base it around to pep up the ZOOM presentation. The Rector, Caspar, an ex farmer had a picture of himself standing in a field of a crop he had grown himself amongst other things – but me in a classroom sorting the wheat from the weeds was not a suitable notion.  

There were children in my top junior classes who were really clever, some who were a bit naughty, some who were instantly likeable and some who did their best to be a thorn in my side but never  once did I divide them into wheat and weeds, good seeds and bad.  All of them had something positive to offer and those who struggled, struggled with good reason from parents with drug problems, to bereavement and abuse. In my 25 classes of children there were was not one child I thought might  be a seed planted by the enemy.  There were plenty of times, however, when I felt that the children had something of the devil causing lapses in behaviour. Bad behaviour does not equal a bad child. Thankfully God does not think about us like that either…… 

But tomorrow’s sermon does not talk about teaching, well it does not at the moment. but it does have Banksy, statues and dandelion clocks. 

Link  to the service on YouTube in case you want to hear the sermon 🙂 

 

**********************   XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX      **************************

On Wednesday afternoon I attended the first ZOOM train the trainers session of the new online ZOOm C2 safeguarding leadership course…… the second part is this week. It is interesting and I suspect will cause some deep debate and strong feelings one way or the other. 

 **********************   XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX      **************************

 Monday’s Solomon’s Portico….. where the Readers meet was as interesting as always and covered a real range of issues from the most boring jobs we had ever had, through  stories of life at sea to lay vs ordained ministry and the future of church in a post Covid world. 

 This week Kathy has something for us about Episcopal Consecration to discuss – see the post below this one. 

I did wonder whether any Readers who can’t make Monday mornings would like an evening meeting…. just let me know a good night if you do. 

**********************   XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX      **************************

Prayers:  There are a number of Readers who need our prayers at the moment- let me know if you would like the list or if you know of anyone who should be on it. 

Blessings and best wishes

 

Jim

Some prayers for tomorrow and the week ahead: 

The Costa Blanca Anglican Community always provides thoughtful prayers each week: https://costablanca-anglicanchaplaincy.org/prayers-and-intercessions/

http://www.richardeinerson.com/july-19-2020.html

Sunday 19th July 2020, 6th Sunday after Trinity

https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/what-you-can-do/your-church/pray-worship-reflect/pray/prayers-week

Generous God,
you have created such a beautiful world,
fruitful and bountiful beyond our needs –
and yet we sow it with the weeds of selfishness and greed,
and spoil it for one another.
Strengthen those who strive
for fairness and justice, care and love
to be hallmarks of our shared life;
especially those who work
for the wellbeing and flourishing
of our children.
Bless The Children’s Society
in all their work to end hunger, poverty and distress in families,
especially as the school summer holidays approach;
may they encourage and enable all our young people
to be nurtured, cherished and fulfilled,
in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

 

Some Points to Ponder

 

Arch+ Welby’s statement:

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/latest-news/statement-episcopal-consecrations?fbclid=IwAR19PBkoqP1-hfVboZlArMqTgYfQf6DRIqZ3leFCyt4msoSB3cRS7PpzTgs

Statement by two Chichester Bishops: my post in D of T support FB Group:

I watched the consecration of Bishops Hugh and Ruth with great joy this morning, but was still puzzled as to why two consecrations were needed. As a contemporary and friend of some of the earliest female ordinands, I should have remembered… but I thought it might help to clarify some of the stories going around, and to minimise the wider damage, if I posted this link from another friend who is a priest in the Chichester Diocese. Some will say these divisions are better hidden: but how can they ever be healed if we don’t talk about them?

https://www.chichester.anglican.org/glitter_news/2020/07/14/statement/?fbclid=IwAR3EHus86eDjjVKNLCG_nHKmMYvFRUMXDaDGEScn2zHi0-RhuxKuUe36H8k  

Dear Fellow Readers (Licensed Lay Ministers) and highly esteemed others

Reminder:  if you don’t want this semi-regular epistle please do reply and let me know and I will take you off the list. (It does happen occasionally)

In this week’s blog:

This week the Chaplain’s Blog (Stardate 12.07.2020) has a new page!  “Hymn of the Week” by Bob Owens who starts with a hymn topical for Sea Sunday! https://www.readers-chaplain.org.uk/hymn-of-the-week/

Roy’s Sunday Scribblings still have me riveted to the anecdotes of Roy’s sailor. This week  you really get the feel of a rolling ship, the immense heat of an engine room…. And what happens when someone cuts corners…… https://www.readers-chaplain.org.uk/roys-sunday-scribblings/

I was reminded of the phrase ‘Liminal Space’ by someone  this week – some thoughts about that in relation to ‘church’ and ministry  at the moment.

 

Liminal space is the time between what was before and what happens next and it’s a precious resting point where prayer and contemplation will help and guide us.

Richard Rohr says of liminal space, “Get there often and stay as long as you can by whatever means possible…This is the sacred space where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed. “

At the moment our church life is in some ways in liminal space, what we have known before stopped and we are wondering if it will come back in the way it was or indeed whether it should come back the way it was.

There are new technologies and ways of doing things at play. Even where services are gradually coming back into our buildings  they are not the same; the handshakes and hugs are missing, the consoling arm at the funeral, even the smiles have gone in places where masks are advisable.  Our churches are alongside many other organisations religious and secular, voluntary and business that are going through financial crisis putting other pressured on our return to ‘normalcy’

I have heard a lot lately from various sources about people being fearful to come back to church (or to resume shopping in town) but I think its really the wrong word and the wrong way of looking at things. If those staying away are fearful it intimates that those going to church (in vulnerable categories) are being brave which is a bit silly!  I would like to think that what folks are actually doing is risk-assessing their own situation and deciding whether the risk of going to an enclosed space with other people in a time of pandemic is worth the benefits of what they would find currently in church building based services. 

Morning prayer each day in the Redruth benefice has a dozen people each day and the Sunday Zoom service a couple of Zoom screens full , so its popularity as fellowship, worship and prayer will cause a hole if it were to stop. 

A couple of the regulars at morning prayer this morning were asked if they would attend the same service in church at 9  am and the answer unsurprisingly was not really- but they would miss the Zoom service that they can join from their arm chair.

So perhaps we should be using our ‘liminal space’ to reassess what we need, what we do and what is truly important.  For me it is more important, at the moment, to meet Christ in the Zoom room faces, the laughter before the service and the fellowship rather than in receiving communion in one kind in church while I ponder on who is or who might not be taking adequate precautions against transmitting covid 19.

For many of us in ministry have found our lives have changed considerably if we have underlying health issues or if we are over 70  and some of us are wondering what’s next? Do we get back to our funerals and services of the word, our study groups and our home communions or is there something else as well. I have missed my story-telling in schools and I can’t see when that might safely happen again. Picking up the grandchildren from school and helping with homework etc has also gone for a burton and might also be fraught with problems once the children go back to school in September. 

So my prayers are for those ministers who have not yet filled the gap, who are waiting for everything to  go back the way it was and for those who think it will never go back to the way it was and don’t know if ministry in the future holds a place for them.  Lord, sew some seeds of ideas in their hearts and nourish their ministry till it grows and fruits and they are able to bring back a harvest for you. Amen

****

I would imagine that anyone who has actually read my meanderings will be aware of the Centre for Action and Contemplation and the daily Meditations from Richard Rohr. If by any chance you are not you might like to start with last Thursday’s about Wisdom in Times of Crisis which you can find here…. https://email.cac.org/t/ViewEmail/d/58E819A4B00C269B2540EF23F30FEDED/4C24BF6E4305D57646778398EADC2510

Roots on The Web- worth the subscription!

 

Prayers this week taken from https://www.rootsontheweb.com/ 

God of all seeds and all stories

God of all seeds and all stories,
we pray for the wisdom to apply the truth of Jesus’ parables
to our own lives
and to our life together in this place where we worship you  
and this community where we serve you.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

In the world, we pray especially
for places where climate change has brought drought…
for the places where it has brought floods …
for those whose crops have been scorched…
for those whose livelihoods have been washed away.
We pray for the people of Japan –
for those caught in the heavy rains there –
and for the people of Australia
and their wildlife endangered by the forest fires.
We pray too for those in our own country
who face continual upheaval and heartache through repeated flooding.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

We pray for those whose life’s seeds
are being choked by anxiety, poverty and hardship…
for those who have lost their jobs…
for those unable to feed their families
or to pay their mortgages and rent…
for those living without basic facilities.
We pray for those given hope by the emergency budget
and for those who feel hope-less
and for foodbanks and charities that try to help all who are struggling.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

We pray for those unable to thrive because of illness…
and those denied the opportunity
to plant the seeds of their dreams in fertile soil…
for those hospitalised with Covid-19…
for those whose journey to recovery is long , slow and painful…
for those who nurse them…
for those who love them…
for those whose treatment has been put on hold…
We pray for those robbed of the opportunity to go to school,
for children in war zones, those in refugee camps,
those who have to work to find their daily food.
May we see you, may we hear you, may we know you care.

And we pray for those whose seeds are watered by their tears…
those grieving the loss of someone close to them…
those who feel forgotten…
those who are neglected…
those who are victims of injustice, abuse, or cruelty…
May they – and all in any kind of need today – see you, may they hear you,
and may know you care. Amen.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Video of one of my favourite versions of ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’ sung by Joanna Hogg of the band IONA.

For some unknown reason, apart from being tired and a bit stressed, I wrote about this Sunday’s Gospel reading in the last blog- but I suspect it was one of those spiritually prompted happenings because several people who read it wrote to say they had found the message helpful.  So the same  message applies this week and it’s still in the blog / news column.  

Don’t Forget to Look at Roy’s Sunday Scribblings on this weeks Lectionary Reading! https://www.readers-chaplain.org.uk/roys-sunday-scribblings/ 

He finishes with this prayer:

 Lord Jesus, hear my prayer.

 Cast your burden upon the Lord;

He will sustain you.

Create in us clean hearts, O God;

Renew a right spirit in us.

Cast us not away from your presence;

Take not your Holy Spirit from us.

Give us  the joy of your saving help;

Sustain us with your life giving spirit.

Blessed be the Lord, day by day;

The God of our salvation, who bears our burdens.9

 Amen

 

Peter Coster’s Thoughts for the day are: CV12 EASTER 6[11706]

 

 

Safeguarding Courses

The brand new C2 safeguarding for leadership course arrived hot off the hard drive from the National Safeguarding Team into my inbox the other day and today I had the chance to discuss it with chief diocesan trainer, Mandy Wells. Some opportunities to take part in the course will be arranged just as soon as it has been trialled with the safeguarding trainers team.

In response to the evaluation of previous courses we have been provided with a student work book (or more accurately a computer document file with spaces you can type into) which will be sent out next week so that you have a chance to reflect on the questions before discussing the answers at the first presentation.

There is much more discussion built in to the two sessions, some theological reflection on a psalm 91 and much more opportunity to apply the message of the course in a practical way in your own situation. The psalm is an interesting, and some might say, a curious, choice as it can be read in many different ways depending on the reader’s situation. I wonder if a victim of abuse from someone in the church would find the words reassuring? What do you think?

As a first response to the need to train in the current time of pandemic, the course is a very worthy effort and with some flexibility should make for a very interesting course and some great discussion.

 

 

Margaret Sylvester-Thorne came across this wonderfully encouraging video which is definitely worth a few minutes of your time to watch. 

Finally for this week a Chaplain’s Prayer – or indeed a prayer for chaplains by Claire Burgess, herself a hospital chaplain.

Breath of life and love,

Thank you for being our constant as the normal rhythm of life is disrupted.

Once we gathered, now we are scattered, still united by common purpose and your unfailing love.

Help us to embrace and respond to this new sense of community.

Let us sing your song in new ways.

You came to this world to live like us, help us to live like you.

Let us mirror you servitude, and share the load of carrying the cross

Help us to speak and live your word, that we may bring your words of comfort.

Allow us to walk in the places you walk and take our hands and use them as yours.

At this time Lord, where every place feels like a thin place, guide us to those who need you

Be with those who are lost, lonely and confused. Help us to find new ways to point to you.

Help us to use the quiet moments in our day to rest and heal to prepare ourselves for the challenges we face in our lives and work.

Let your love be visible in us, that it may radiate into the ordinary ness of our day, overflowing into the lives of those we encounter.

Help us to hear the stories of others, that we may respond in ways that weave your story into their story.

Let us be the invite to the empty space at your table.

Open our eyes and ears lord that we may see and hear you amongst the anguish suffered by your people.

Be patient with us as we stumble through the uncertainties of the future,

prepare us Lord to be flexible workers for you.

Send your Holy Spirit before us to reveal the things we cannot see. Help us to

seek you, in all that we meet, that we may show people your ways, and the truth of your love.

Amen

 

(Claire Burgess – Hospital Chaplain)

 

 My Prayers this week: 

 for those trying to keep us safe. For the police, for those who have been tasked with monitoring our town centres, for stewards at holiday attractions and for the Coastguard.

 For the incoming holiday-makers that they enjoy our county but be respectful of the tides, the beaches and of the local population – may wisdom and common sense prevail.

 For headteachers and governors attempting to unravel and implement government edicts about children returning to school  while being mindful of staff well-being and the worry of parents and carers who may be vulnerable.

 For the sick, the shielding and the self isolating, for those who are fearful especially those facing treatment for other conditions and worried about infection. 

For those who will use the church buildings in the coming week especially those leading services and volunteering to open and clean the buildings. 

For those carrying the heavy burden of abuse; the trapped, the violated, the manipulated, the financially trapped- for those fearing that complaining will hurt them more and for those with no-one to tell.

Lord hold them all in your loving arms and grant healing, peace and grace.

Amen