On Wednesday morning, I woke up to a rude shock. Just as I turned on the radio at 5.20am, I heard the news that the Church of England had made an important decision on marriage. Really? I had only read in the newspapers the day before that the Bishops were meeting this week to make that decision and that a statement would be made today. I did wonder if I had misheard but no I hadn’t. Mmmm….
During the course of the day I discovered that somebody had leaked this information to the press! Who could it be? It had to be one of the Bishops because they were the only ones attending the meeting. Needless to say that since then there have been chaos around clergy and laity around the country.
I have previously written about them and so will not repeat myself. They are a residential home for retired Anglican clergy and their spouses. They also have a nursing wing. They are beginning to feel the pinch with the cost of living crisis which is causing their regular donors to choose between giving to them or to another charity that they also support or stop giving altogether.
This January if you feel that you want to share a little then please consider them. I’m sure no amount is too small for them and would be gratefully received.
As I was logging into our online banking to make a small donation to them, the Mhinisteir reminded me that whoever has pity on the poor lends to the LORD (Proverbs 19:17)
ps: I do not represent the College of St Barnabas in anyway.
For the last few weeks the media have had a field day concerning Christianity. “Christianity has become the minority religion in the UK” screamed newspaper headlines. Really? I could feel a sense of glee in the voices of the radio presenters when they went on and on about this specific subject matter!
My understand of Christianity is that the Church will never be in decline because there is the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. The Church Militant refers to the Christians on earth while the Church Triumphant refers to the Christians who have been translated like the late Queen.
Sunday was unusual. The Mhinisteir having had spent all week in cold churches in freezing temperatures has finally succumbed to the cold. He is not well. However, the church services (Sunday services, end of school services, funerals etc) have to go on – that is the state of the Church of England as there are no other clergy available to deputise! He came back home from the second service refrozen. I didn’t like the colour on his face. After a very tiny lunch, he went straight to bed with the heating in full blast together with an electric blanket and a hot water bottle. He just couldn’t warm up. He only woke up at 8.30am the next morning and even then he only woke up because I woke him up as he had a funeral to conduct that morning!
On Sunday afternoon, I watched the FIFA world cup final all by myself while propped up in bed next to the Mhinisteir. I was a little sad to be watching it all by myself as I was so looking forward to watching it with the Mhinisteir. I watched a muted version of the football as I didn’t want to disturb the Mhinisteir but I also didn’t want to be away from him in case he needed me.
I had to give up the football halfway through the penalty shootout as it was time for Evensong. After that I made myself some supper and locked up before coming up to bed. It was only 8pm. As it was way too early for bed, I decided to watch the penalty shootout and the medal presentation on BBC Iplayer. Guess what? BBC Iplayer wouldn’t allow me to fast forward to those precise moments. There was no way I was going to watch the BBC bigmouth gassing away! I switched to ITV. I had to endure the commercials but at least I had the choice.
Soon it was time for bed. I did one final check on the Mhinisteir before lying in bed wondering where we would be and what we would be doing at the next FIFA World Cup.
The first week of December saw the Mhinisteir and I going for a mini break which I hope to write about next week but it also marked my second fall in my entire adult life! The first ever fall I suffered as an adult was when I was twenty one and half and in a foreign country.
My second fall happened as the Mhinisteir and I were leaving an eating establishment after enjoying a meal. By the way, I am teetotal. All I remember was seeing a man coming up the stairs in the opposite direction and thinking I needed to make way for him. The next minute I was sliding uncontrollably down the remaining stairs. I heard the Mhinisteir shouting and running down after me. I was so shocked. The Mhinisteir kept asking me if I was hurt but I didn’t know how to answer him. The good news is nothing was broken and because I landed on my bottom, my face was spared. Quite frankly that’s not how I was meant to have fallen. I should have fallen face down. Instead of being grateful, I was angry that I fell. I had to find somebody to be angry with so I chose God. I was angry with Him for a whole 24 hours. However, I was brought to my senses the following day when I looked at myself in the mirror. Despite a very sore bottom, I have absolutely no mark on my body. Can you believe that? All I can say is Praise Be!
I tend to operate on a need to know basis which means that getting information out of me is like pulling hen’s teeth! I have always been that way. I am a very private person. I only come out of my shell on blog posts even then I don’t “bare all”. However, I don’t operate on a need to know basis when it comes to the Mhinisteir. I share EVERYTHING as I believe that it is one of the secrets to a happy marriage.
One day last week I operated on a need to know basis when it came to the Mhinisteir because I had burnt his breakfast croissants! He had to shoot off for a difficult funeral and so he wanted something simple. I have a strict morning routine which starts like this….. Get up and put the kettle on, jump back into bed and read the bible before doing ANYTHING else, However on this fateful morning, I decided to skip the bible reading (bad mistake!) and started with the breakfast while ironing (who irons so early in the morning???). I got so carried away with the ironing that I was late in getting the croissants out of the oven which were by then well cooked. I knew the Mhinisteir had a difficult funeral and he wasn’t particularly looking forward to it. It was very unfair to expect him to eat over cooked croissant and so I threw them in the bin and put fresh ones in the oven again. He was none the wiser!
Clergy are entitled to one day off a week and so the Mhinisteir takes a day off during the week. EVERYBODY involved in the churches know when his day off is however most people struggle to respect it. It is the same every week. Quite frankly I don’t think anyone cares about clergy well being, all they want is someone to solve their problem when they want it. One recent day off was memorable because of the turn of events. It wasn’t funny when it happened but now when I think back it is kind of humourous.
We had just down in the Vicarage dining room for our leisurely breakfast when the telephone rang. A mini drama had unfolded in the church office and they were needing the Mhinisteir.
A few hours later, we sat down for our lunch. Would you believe it dear reader when I say the telephone rang again? It did and this time it was one of the church wardens. Nobody was willing to have a look at the pigeons living in the bell tower of one of the churches.
We tend to have our evening meals between 6.00pm and 6.30pm. We were halfway through our dinner when the telephone rang😁. A parishioner had been given days to live and so they needed to get married super fast.
Only the last phone call was a real emergency. The rest could have waited until the following day when the Mhinisteir was back at work but that is the life of a vicar!
I watched online the commissioning of the new secretary general of the Anglican communion this week. The ABC gave the sermon. I noticed that it look him a good few minutes to get started as he was messing about with his gadget (either an ipad or a tablet).
As I was waiting for him to get started, it suddenly dawned on me that said gadget was missing when he gave his sermon in Westminster Abbey on the day of the Queen’s funeral. I also remembered that like the ABC, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland too had his sermon written on paper. Why? I imagine it was because they were afraid that there would be a malfunction. Pity that it doesn’t bother them at other times.
On Wednesday, in Westminster Hall, the ABC did something bizzare towards the end of the little service to receive HM’s coffin. When he pronounced the benediction, it felt it was for the dead instead of the living. This made me wonder whether he knew what he was doing. I know he is the ABC but I can’t be sure that everything he does is kosher!
There was an interview in the latest Church Times that got me slightly irritated. The interviewee, a former Miss England commented that seeing poverty in China and India was eye opening as she had never seen anything like that.
Poverty has always been with us no matter what part of the world we live in. We can alleviate poverty but I don’t think we can make poverty history. For this reason, I cannot understand why this individual had to go all the way to China and India for that experience when it is daily on our doorstep. It sounded very patronising!
Sometime ago, I remember blogging about a little boy from East London who was frequently missing school. Upon investigation, his teachers discovered that he was missing school because there was only one pair of school shoes in the family which he had to share with his sister which in turn allowed her to go to school on the days that he missed school!!!
Just last week, I was reading about how the poor in Scotland have to live in dirty houses because they can’t afford cleaning products!
In order to see the poor in our own country, we must first open our eyes.