2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Butcher · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Rural · Scotland · Tears · Vicarage · Winter

A simple jar

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

Several years ago, after our move to England, I found myself in an emotional turmoil. I found England to be very different. I am sure people who have had to move between countries will empathise with me.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with England or her lovely inhabitants. It was me. I was used to something strikingly different. If you have watched the Scottish drama Shetland, you will get a rough idea of what most of my married life was like on various islands. The joys of being married to a Vicar! To be thrust into a city was a culture shock, to say the least. Everything from finding new friends to getting a certain cut of meat from the butchers was difficult.

I needed to turn a corner and needed to do it fast before life became unbearable. That was when I decided to do something with an empty jam jar (a clean one!) and scraps of paper. Every time I prayed over something, I would also write it down on the scrap piece of paper and put it in the jar. Every Sunday evening, I would go through all the written prayers and remove the ones that have been answered. It was amazing how many scraps of paper I was removing from the jar every week! I was beginning to feel better again as I was reminded through this act that even though I was lonely, God never left me! By the time, we moved yet again, another three times actually, the jam jar got lost and I forgot all about it!

However, since the start of January 2022, I have resurrected this habit and am feeling the better for it!

2022 · Anglican · Archbishop of Canterbury · Archbishop of York · Blogging · Church of England · Church Times · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Scotland · Vicarage · Winter

ABC is being naughty yet again

Photo by Abdullah Ghatasheh on Pexels.com

It was reported in the most recent Church Times that a new Archbishop’s secretary for appointments has been found. For the uninitiated, the secretary of appointments is the one who manages the process for the appointment of bishops, deans, and other senior posts in the Church of England.

Some people within the Church of England are a little surprised by the appointment as the post which has been vacant for only about 2 months doesn’t seem to have been advertised. Furthermore they are irked by the revelation that it is an internal appointment!

Personally, I find it strange that in the Church of England, clergy have to apply for new positions; something which I am not familiar with because in Scotland the clergy receive what is known as a “call”. Meanwhile administrative positions appear to require no such applications.

I dread that what happens inside the Church mirrors the secular government!

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Cleaner · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Prayer · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

The Good, The Bad & The Funny

Photo by Linda Wong on Pexels.com

As we come to the close of the first week in January 2022, let me start with the good and finish with the funny😁.

The Good

Earlier in the week, I had written about the Mhinisteir’s sibling who was awaiting test results for a growth. On Tuesday, we got the good news that the growth is not malignant and so we rejoice. Thank you to all who contacted me and expressed concern.

My sibling who was ill with Covid19 like symptoms DOES NOT have Covid19 and has almost recovered.

My birthday wish for my family member too has been fulfilled as said family member is sounding much brighter and was able to go out for a wee while.

The Bad

The vicarage boiler has broken down thus turning the vicarage into an igloo. Thankfully, the heating engineer was able to come this morning. Unfortunately, the spare part that is required to fix the boiler will not be available until next week! In the meantime, I have struggled to get any work done because of the cold and disruption but as I type this while wearing fingerless gloves, the heating engineer has arrived with some portable heaters to tide us over until next week. I am very touched and grateful because I don’t think they are obliged to do this. In case you are wondering, we do have a fire place but the chimney hasn’t been swept. Since the summer, despite many chimney sweeps advertising, we have been struggling to find one who is available; unswept chimneys are a fire hazard.

The Funny

Yesterday, our cleaners went off with my shower gel by mistake!!!!!!!🤣🤣🤣🤣

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Epiphany · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Epiphany

cPhoto by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Today is Epiphany, the revelation of Christ to the gentiles.

On the drive back home from church after attending the service to mark Epiphany, I was reminded as to what an important day it is for without the revelation of Christ to the gentiles, there would have been no hope for the rest of us who are not Jews. Unfortunately, my Protestant upbringing meant that we never marked Epiphany or any of the feast days.

Anyway, Epiphany also means that it is time to take down the Christmas decorations. As everyone else’s home, the Vicarage now looks bare without the decorations but it is just a matter of getting used to! I always keep the decorations to a bare minimum and even then I was exhausted taking them down.

Thankfully, today is the day the cleaners were scheduled to come and so they were able to clear up all the mess that I created while taking down the decorations.

2022 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Rural · Vicarage

Happy New Year!

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

On Sunday morning, I was rudely awakened by rain lashing against our bedroom windows. The first thought that came to my mind was ” why must it rain on a Sunday morning when I have to go to church?😪”.

As I lie in bed, I started thinking about the new year. Why do we celebrate the new year when the slate doesn’t get wiped clean instead we just carry over the same old problems, anxieties and fears of the old year.

On New Year’s Eve, we got some worrying news; one of the Mhinisteir’s siblings discovered a lump in their body and is awaiting test results to be out in the new week. A few hours later, I got a text from my only sibling to say that they are experiencing extreme sickness and symptoms that are very simillar to Covid19!

Just before bed last night, I heard that a long time family friend whom we call Auntie S has suddenly died. I have known Auntie S since I was a little girl. Her parents and my paternal grandparents were lifelong friends and the friendship continued throughout the generations. A few days before Christmas, Auntie S had received an unexpected and shocking diagnosis of stage 4 cancer with just 8 weeks to live.

On what basis can I wish myself and everyone else a happy new year? The answer is found in the poem below by an unknown author. I step into the new year full of hope and confidence. I hope that you will too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Footprints in the Sand

One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Face Masks · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

Boxing Day Shock

Photo by Vlad Cheu021ban on Pexels.com

I am not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world but for us here in England, it has been very wet and miserable. It was raining on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and as I type this, it is raining again. All I can see out of the big windows in my study are great big puddles of water!

Despite the weather, the Church attendance on boxing day was good and after the service, I stayed behind to chat to a few people whom I don’t usually see. During that time, a couple of ladies approached me and after the usual polite greetings said that they hate people who dress well all the time but that they don’t hate me for which I should be thankful. I was quite shocked but thankful that my face mask hid my shock. I laughed and wished them a Happy New Year and went my way.

I have never had anybody say that to me ever before. 😬 Thankfully this incident is not going to change the way I dress.

2021 · Agatha Raisin · Anglican · Blogging · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · Coronavirus · England · Faith · God · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Vicarage · Winter

The Vicarage Christmas 2021

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

We were late in going to bed on Christmas Eve. Actually, it was already Christmas Day when we went to bed at 2am; I was waiting up for the Mhinisteir to come back from the midnight mass. I always get very nervous when he has to drive in the dark especially during the festive period when half the drivers appear to be less than sober!

The next day, I struggled to get up for the Christmas Day service. Unlike the Mhinisteir, I wasn’t bright eyed and bushy tailed but at least I wasn’t grumpy after a nice warm shower. Just as I was about to enter into Church, a parishioner approached me for a hug. I had to politely decline. He was shocked and I felt bad but I had to act responsibly. I wish that he hadn’t put me in that situation in the first place but ……

While in Church, I realised that it was warmer outside than it was inside for I was frozen. After the service, folk were saying how cold it was in the church but that’s rural churches for you; poor heating and no loo😁. The service was lovely and I got to see the new baby; a young family who are regulars have had a new baby boy. They already have two other boys.

Back home, I struggled to thaw. After a bowl of warming soup, I decided to head to bed with Agatha Raisin and the electric blanket while the Mhinisteir went ahead with his home visits/communions.

A few hours later, I found the Mhinisteir reading next to me in bed! It also meant that it was time for our Christmas dinner which was pan fried turkey breast with rosemary and all the trimmings. I know that the Mhinisteir was exhausted as he also had a few deaths in the parishes in the run up to Christmas so I didn’t insist that he dressed up so we had our Christmas dinner in our old pyjamas which was a first for us!

In case you are wondering, we do have family whom we are very close to but unusually for us, both sets of our families are very busy doing good between the Christmas and New Year period so we don’t usually have a get together during the festive period. It is not something new but has been going on for generations. In fact, almost 50 years, the Mhinisteir’s uncle was returning home after distributing food and presents to the underprivileged when he was tragically killed by an errant driver.

ps: We have yet to open the Christmas presents that came from our parishioners. We hope to put that right this evening and after that I have to start writing thank you cards.

2021 · Anglican · Birthday · Blogging · Christmas · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Rural · Scotland · Vicarage · Winter

A Birthday Present

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

Recently, I was asked how it feels to have a birthday between Christmas and Hogmanay (In Scotland, it refers to New Year’s Eve). I didn’t know how to answer that question because quite frankly I don’t know otherwise. I have always received one present but nothing unusual there because as a family we never exchange Christmas presents; the ones we buy are for the under privileged.

I do know that in the busyness of Christmas, people tend to forget my birthday. No matter. A friend once texted me a month later as she had totally forgotten!🤣

This question got me thinking and I remember how more than a decade ago on Christmas Day, I found myself in a distressing situation in a foreign country. I remember praying and asking God for a birthday present. I have never asked Him for one before! It was very bold of me but I was desperate. By the way, I did get my “present” a day before my birthday!

After all these many years, I have decided to ask God for another birthday present – better health for a close family member.

I don’t intend on making this a habit but this one will make me very happy.

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Heaven · Multi Parish Benefice · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Sabbath Day · Vicarage · Winter

Marking or Re-enacting?

Photo by Jessica Lynn Lewis on Pexels.com

At Christmas, we mark the birth of Christ. Increasingly, I am beginning to wonder if in the Church of England, we have started to re-enact the birth of Christ?

The Mhinisteir is coming under pressure to cancel the Sunday services on boxing day. The reason given is people will be tired after Christmas! I am gobsmacked!

I am appalled that some churches are doing away with their Sunday services on boxing day this year. Sadly, they have bought into the Christmas frenzy and have started re-enacting the birth of Christ.

According to Canons of the Church of England, there is to be at least one holy communion service in a parish church on a Sunday unless you have special permission like during the time of the first lockdown.

God willing, I plan to go to the service on Christmas day to mark the birth of Christ and I will go to the Sunday service the next day because it is required of me to keep the sabbath day holy.

2021 · Anglican · Blogging · Church of England · Clergy Wife · England · Faith · God · Multi Parish Benefice · Parish Church · Parish Life · Parishioners · Rural · Sabbath Day · Vicarage · Winter

Unholy Thoughts

Photo by franpics on Pexels.com

On Sunday in Church, one of the hymns that we sang was On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist cry; unfortunately for me, during the singing my mind wondered to a certain scene in Yes, Prime Minister!! In that particular episode, a former prime minister suddenly dies of a heart attack and a state funeral had to be organised.

In that scene, a Jordanian official in his national attire approaches Sir Humphrey Appleby who was the Prime Minister’s cabinet secretary. The following conversation ensued:

Jordanian official: Sir Humphrey, I have just seen this order of service for tomorrow. This hymn. It is deeply embarrassing.

Sir Humphrey: “On Jordan’s Bank, The Baptist’s Cry”? Why?

Jordanian official: Did you not know that the Jordan Bank went bust yesterday?

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣