For some unexplainable reason, I have started going to the earlier service on Sundays.
However, this Sunday past, I unexpectedly attended the later service; very soon after I entered church, I realised that the churchwarden who was at the door was full of the cold; I was horrified. The horror soon turned to anger! I hasten to add that I am not proud of myself! I was just so annoyed that some people can be so irresponsible!!!! Needless to say that this churchwarden was coughing and spluttering throughout the service.
As I wrote previously, most people in the UK have started operating like as if Covid19 has mysteriously disappeared. I wish that is the case but it is far from the truth; Covid19 is still very much with us and continuing to consume lives on a daily basis.
Recently I came across the term estate churches and so decided to ask the Mhinisteir about it. I’ve since learned that estate churches are churches that are within the estate of the landed gentry. These churches would have been funded and built by their forefathers.
Estate Churches are not uncommon in rural places. You may have seen an example of an estate church in period dramas like Downton Abbey.
Wherever there is an estate church, the gentry has some say in the appointment of a new vicar.
Thankfully, we do not have estate churches in any of our umpteen parishes! However, we do have a handful of landed gentry. Most of them behave impeccably but there are one or two who like to throw their weight about; they like to pretend that they are in possession of estate churches!
There was an incident in church one week when we were due to be away. I was disturbed by what had happened that my packing for the trip went completely haywire with me missing out a good number of essentials including my bible! Thankfully, these days you can access the bible online but sadly it is never the same as handling the physical book itself.
I am still shocked by that incident. I wish I could write about it… After witnessing that ugly incident, my first thought after I had composed myself was, is it any wonder that many clergy in the Church of England are signed off work when they have to regularly come face to face with intimidation tactics employed by some parishioners. However, I also wonder if clergy these days especially the younger ones are equipped for the real world. The ones that I know appear to live in lala land!
In the last 12 months, the Mhinisteir has had at least 3 requests for exhumation. I will not insult your intelligence by explaining what an exhumation is. I was intrigued by these requests. I used to think that you only exhume a body in extreme circumstances like when a crime has been committed.
The Mhinisteir explained that requests such as these are rarely approved. As the Church yard is a sacred place, there should be very little disturbance. This is why we say rest in peace. Furthermore, when a person is buried, It should be their final resting place.
By the way, I have since learnt that at least one of the person requesting an exhumation is the wife of the deceased. The reason given was that the husband’s grave was vandalised but the real reason is because she is moving away!
The Mhinisteir was covered in dog hair when he came back home yesterday. He had been out visiting a few of his parishioners in their homes. He wasn’t amused for he dislikes both cats and dogs!
At dinner, he told me that he struggled to focus in the house with the dogs for the smell of dogs was so great. According to him, this was even after the dogs had left. Poor him! The things you have to do if you are a Vicar!!!
It reminded me of an incident in the Highlands of Scotland when we both had visited the home of a parishioner. ML was a spinster and her pets meant a great deal to her but her house smelt of dogs. I started throwing up violently the moment I stepped out of the house because the smell of dogs was so offensive.
I know many rural people have pets but we don’t. The Vicarage is both the place of work and home and we are of the view that it will be insensitive to have pets especially if someone coming to the Vicarage has an allergy.
As for me, I am neither a cat nor a dog lover. I don’t mind dogs from a distance but they must be on a lead. At one point, I even contemplated a wee chocolate Labrador for company. That might just have been possible if the Labrador promised to remain wee and more importantly if we had a housekeeper.
As for cats, I don’t understand them. They appear unfriendly and I find them intimidating as they remind me of tigers!
I love going to Church on Sundays but dread it when there is to be a baptism. I know of some people who don’t turn up when they know there is to be a baptism but that is not an option available to me. I go by the principle that if I am going to miss church on any particular Sunday then I must have an extremely good reason for doing so!
Before I go on, I would like to emphasise that I write this as an ordinary church goer and not as a Vicar’s wife!
Due to the pandemic and lockdowns, there is a backlog of baptisms in our churches that the Mhinisteir is only now able to clear. Some of the babies who were born during the first lockdown are already toddlers!!!!
There are many reasons why I dread going to church when there is be a baptism.
Ordinary church goers get sidelined. The church wardens and others get so excited by the prospect of a huge turnout that the baptismal party is assigned the choicest seats while we the ordinary folk get dumped in the back or side.
Almost always, the day of the baptism is the only time these folk darken the door of the church. That is fine by me but it is unfair to let them to take control of the church and turn it into a party venue. Despite reminders to not take photos in Church due to safeguarding rules they continue snapping away throughout the service. The Church is the house of God and we are all there to worship!
They rarely have any respect whatsoever for anything that goes on in Church. They are fidgety and distracting. The clothes they wear especially the ladies is much to be desired. I know that most of us can’t afford to dress like the Queen but one can’t turn up to church wearing almost next to nothing. It is not only disrespectful but distracting.
Strangely, the children who come with their parents to these services are immaculately behaved!!!!
It is only Tuesday and I am dead tired. I haven’t been sleeping properly for several days and it is beginning to affect me. Furthermore, July has been a busy month. For someone who rarely socialises, I had two social events to attend and that has taken a lot out of me. I will write more about the social events in another post.
Church on Sunday turned out to be wonderful. In the service I attended, all were wearing masks and we were socially distanced!
In the last three days, I have received two bouquets of flowers. One was a bouquet of Alstromeria while the other was a bouquet made up of beautiful smelling sweet peas. They were both from parishioners from different villages. How very kind! It definitely cheered me up!
At one point, I had so much to write but now I can’t think of any of them! It just goes to show how tired I am.
I always look forward to going to church on a Sunday but sadly not this weekend. I am nervous. Very nervous. Since freedom day, things have gone awry. Covid cases are going up and up. Among other chaos, shops and supermarkets are struggling to keep the stores open.
For myself, I am just not ready to be without a mask or have someone sit immediately next to me in Church or anywhere for that matter. I am also nervous for the Mhinisteir. He has a wedding tomorrow and I dread to think how folk will behave.
The disappointing thing is that among the folk in our umpteen parishes, I am among a very tiny minority who feels this way! The rest are clamouring for the full works including singing without masks!
England has become the first country in the world to lift Covid19 restrictions. Who in their right mind will outsource public health to the public??? We won’t be getting a gold medal for making such a foolish decision. Sometimes I wonder how on earth we ruled the Empire!!!!
I will continue to use my mask and maintain social distancing. I am nervous about how things are going to be in Church as in the past few weeks, I have seen a handful who have had their masks under their chins. I am also concerned about how these new rulings will affect the Mhinisteir in his work.
I am a little fedup with people going on about how doubly vaccinated people will only get mild covid symptoms. Have they not heard of long Covid? It is not just the feeling of breathlessness etc. There are some people who have had their lives turned upside down. About 6 months ago, I read about a young female British doctor with long Covid who lost the use of her legs and is now wheelchair bound!!!! Long Covid is serious!!!!
During the first lockdown, there was all this hoo haa about how as a nation we would put on masks so that we can protect the vulnerable in our communities. What happened to that??? The vulnerable people in our communities still exist. They are the ones who are not able to have their vaccines for various reasons.
We should stop treating those who are not vaccinated with contempt. In this country, we have freedom of choice so people should be allowed to exercise it no matter how difficult those who have been vaccinated find it.
At the moment, I will be more worried of people without masks than those who haven’t been vaccinated.
The General Synod under the aegis of the ABY is trying to increase the number of lay lead parishes and have services in homes. To put simply they are trying to “kill” the traditional parish churches.
Unless they have all been living under a rock, my observation especially since the first lockdown is that most people still value traditional parish churches and church services which is why there was such an outcry over the closing down of churches during the first lockdown. I also happen to know that not everyone is happy or comfortable with online services.
How about the Eucharist? Who is going to administer that? A traditional parish church is a neutral place that is welcome to anyone and everyone. That cannot be said of these so called home churches because the home belongs to an individual and he/she reserves the right to deny entry.