First time at my desk since the ordination. Thank you all very much for your good wishes and prayers. It was a lovely day and we’ve had a bit of a holiday in the south since then.
Legoland in half-term on a very hot day = quite an ordeal, but worth it for Rusk’s face when he met Lego Bob the Builder (bigger than he is).
Our tour of the M25 took in visits to some very lovely people, including a good friend’s wedding. Fantastic day all round. Rusk spent his time charming everyone, even playing football with the mother of the bride for half an hour. The next group of people we saw had a lovely garden, complete with climbing frame and slide. Mr F’s face when he saw Rusk had climbed to the top of the climbing frame by himself was a picture.
We were also introduced to the game of Bananagrams. Anyone else play? There is a Facebook app, but it doesn’t do the game justice. Marvellous fun.
Sunday morning was my first normal Sunday since the priesting. The vicar took the opportunity to have the day off so I was left to my own devices, ably assisted by the usual team. I was totally astounded when a lovely couple who had been very unsure about women priests came up to the rail and received communion. They have been very kind to me and we’ve had some good discussions about it over the year, but I really wasn’t expecting it. So lovely. Still brings tears to the eyes to think about it.
In other news: inauspicious, abnegate, writerly, efficacious, honorific, ostentation, sedulous, fallible, vinification, desuetude, pilose, ideate, arriviste, gimcrack, muliebrity and revile. Quite a collection of words to take in from my word a day calendar since I last looked at it.
Rusk woke me up (a rare happening in itself – it usually takes a mighty stramash to pierce the depths of sleep) at 5am today, well at 4.59 to be precise. Waking when there is a 4 in the hour seems so much more extreme than a minute later would have been. After taking ages to get back to sleep, the snooze button on my alarm was well and truly abused until I looked at the clock and there was only 5 minutes before morning prayer, at Church, 2 minutes walk away. Not a great start to the day. I am leading prayers this week – who knows what or who I prayed for during the intercessions, but my incumbent didn’t raise eyebrows too much, so it can’t have been too random.
The meeting with the local Methodist minister followed on straight afterwards. My incumbent is getting used to my first thing in the morning, after a disturbed night, bleariness, so fed me toast and decaff until I looked more human. Lovely man!
General admin until lunchtime followed this, then the final week of the Lent courses, with a bread and cheese (really good cheese – brie, wensleydale and stilton) lunch. The conclusion to the course was to try and persuade people to view PCC (parochial church council = church meeting) meetings as a time to integrate the gifts of the Spirit, that we see in those around us, with the opportunites in the community. i.e. start by recognising gifts and only then plan strategy, avoid starting projects when you don’t have the people to run it effectively. We looked at the beginning of Luke 10 and an interesting question was raised: why do we (i.e. the CofE) persevere with ministry to every community when there must be some where there is no welcome there? Why don’t we do as Jesus taught the seventy and shake the dust from our feet and walk away?
Evening prayer was just me, so after praying the office, I spent some time reading Thomas Merton – The Seven Storey Mountain. I like autobiography, but he comes across as so arrogant and rude, particularly towards the Anglican Church (although the passage I read today had a rather scathing account of the Quakers). I’m persevering with it a bit at a time, mostly because of the picture of him on the front cover. He is such a smiley person – it will be interesting to see the influences on him becoming a monk. I’ve only got to the beginning of his time at university at the moment – some way to go.
Now I’ve just got some hymns to pick for Monday’s Tenebrae service and then I might have a bit of a go at the next Settlers level.
A small group of us had a planning meeting recently for the Palm Sunday Service of the Word – (non-Eucharistic service, mostly lay led except me). I was intrigued by this idea we (but mostly they) came up with and thought I’d share for the benefit of people like me who sit up late into the evening googling for service ideas.
It is quite a simple idea (and may have been done before, but I’m not intentionally stealing it from somewhere else). At the beginning of the service, we are all going to have palm branches to wave in accompaniment to shouting Hosanna. After the reading of the entrance into Jerusalem, the people will go up in small groups to the altar rail and lay down the palm branches. A short time of silent confession will be encouraged, before receiving the assurance of forgiveness (would be absolution if a priest was present), along with the traditional palm cross. The service will then move into the Passion narrative.
What do you think?
I left you just over two weeks ago with the announcement that I was off to war: sock war.
This was the first time I’ve competed in sock wars – it won’t be the last. The patterns were released on January 15th and sock knitters the world over (203 of us) cast on and began to knit socks as fast as our little needles could click. We all knew who we were knitting for, but the mystery of who was knitting for us remained. My assassin revealed herself via email before the patterns were even released, so I knew the socks that would kill me were coming from Tennessee. I was knitting for someone in California (with very small feet – hurrah), so the outcome of our section of the war would mostly depend on the efficiency of the postal service.
Having cleared a whole Saturday (except morning and evening prayer) for knitting, I got fairly far through the first sock, but with horrible cramp in my right hand. Does anyone do a class on the ergonomics of knitting? After that, I made sure that there were at least ten non-knitting minutes in every hour. On Sunday I resisted the temptation to knit during Church, but got to the end of sock number 1. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were busy with work. Despite encouragement from the vicar, (he was worried about ending up with a dead curate on his hands) I didn’t knit during the archdiaconal training morning – it was too interesting! Wednesday evening saw them finished and they were dispatched on Thursday. The waiting began.
I knew that my assassin had been even quicker with her knitting and had posted her socks to me on the Tuesday. A week later they arrived. Rusk was a little alarmed to see his Mum killed by a pair of socks, but happier when he realised it was just for as long as a photo took.
If I hadn’t finished my socks, I would then have posted the unfinished ones off to my assassin to finish, but since they were already posted she would have to wait until someone further down the line was killed before finishing. She would then get their socks to finish for their target.
My socks finally arrived with my target yesterday. Phew! Sock Wars is over for me, but there are still 103 people alive and knitting.
Next – the Knitting Olympics. An individual challenge to exceed your expectations for what you can achieve in knitting while the Winter Olympics are on.
This afternoon I took a visiting friend on a bit of a tour of the parishes. The coast here is so beautiful. We wandered down to the cliff path from one of the churches and sat looking out over the sea. The weather is beautiful today – so sunny and calm. Even on sunny days usually there is what we call a ‘breeze’, if only to distinguish it from the gales that are the customary fare. While we were sitting there watching the fields rolling down to the cliff, while some paragliders floated serenely overhead, I could feel a story starting to bubble up. As if I have time for that now – I have an MA to write you know. I will sit on it until after the end of November and then wander back amid the winter weather and see if the urge is still there. It is such a privilege to minister to people with such a rootedness in the landscape. I feel a real sense that the people here do see themselves as custodians for the future.
The hat went much quicker than expected, and is now finished, pending blocking. I *think* there will be enough wool left (yes, Daisy, it is Rowan Tapestry) for another one. I had about 3 yards of the first ball of purple left at the end of the hat and I have weighed what is left of the variegated ball and have 26g of a 50g ball. Might be cutting it a bit fine, but we’ll see. In the pause between starting the decreases and the 4mm dpns arriving, I started a sock. I have never knitted a toe-up sock before. It looks most peculiar with just the toe done.
The sloes have been pricked, jarred and covered in gin and sugar. It looks quite revolting at the moment, but the caterpillars all floated to the surface when the gin was added and I have fished them out so it could be worse. Not sure I would be able to describe it as suitable for vegetarians now.
Back to pondering the Sunday readings. We follow the related series of readings in the lectionary and it has not yet clicked as to how they are related. I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. I sometimes wish there were footnotes where the compilers could say what they had in mind.
Off to a consultation on stipends and pensions this evening. Pray for us, please.
Now as I understand it, the aim of a curate going on holiday is to maximize the time away, while minimizing the number of Sundays away (only allowed 4 per year). We tried out this theory, taking a Monday to Saturday the week following holiday. I fear that this may not be a sensible strategy in future.
I knew that all I was doing on the Sunday was leading the prayers at 2 services, but which two? Convinced it was the 8am and mid-morning services, I duly prepared them on Saturday evening, before checking my diary. D’oh – the mid-morning and the evening. Ah well, but the alarm clock still went off in time for the 8am.
Having an accidental pre-mid-morning snooze left little time for preparation for the mid-morning service. Result – standing in the Gospel procession, unable to remember whether to lead it back to the altar or reverse order and follow the others. (Turns out it was the latter – I of course chose the former). Not to worry – all these things are minor.
Come the end of the day, sitting down for tea at 5.45pm, something just niggled. Was I really sure that the service was at 6.30pm? Should I check? The first mouthful of lasagne teasing the taste buds, I reached for my diary for peace of mind. Nooooooooo. Church 3 miles away, service at 6pm. An hour later, I was back at home, finally eating lasagne – not a meal I recommend interrupting after one mouthful.
A bit of a blonde day.
On the plus side, turns out I won some champagne in the raffle that was drawn while I was away. I wonder how many raffle prizes it is polite to win? I wouldn’t want to become the family that everyone hates because they always win.