Now that summer is upon us, almost every other Sunday we hear at least one Banns of Marriage being read out in church.
In the Church of England, it is a legal requirement for Banns of Marriage to be read out in Church. Banns of Marriage are announcements that are made in the church that the wedding couple are due to be married in. They are read so that it will give anyone the opportunity to give a reason why the couple cannot be lawfully married.
The Banns of Marriage of a couple are read for three Sundays, three months before the actual wedding. After the Banns have been read, the congregation prays for the couple.
When I moved to England and started worshipping in the Church of England, I very quickly realised that these couples whose Banns of Marriage were announced were rarely present in Church. I mentioned earlier that the main aim of the announcement is to give anyone the opportunity to give a reason why the couple cannot be lawfully married. If you don’t even know who is getting married, how can you in good conscience say that you don’t know of any impediment?????????
After all these years, I still find the rules of the Church a bit strange but then it is not the rules is it?? The Church and her Vicars need to be more diligent in imposing them. The couple must be present when their Banns of Marriage is being read. If it is too much of an imposition, they should seriously consider why they wanted to get married in a Church in the first place!. Contrary to what senior clerics promote, the Church is NOT a wedding venue! You can’t pick and choose which bits of the church you like and which bits you don’t.
On Saturday, the Mhinisteir received a call from one of his many parishioners. Here in our rural parishes, most of our parishioners are OAPs. As they say, old age doesn’t come alone so Mr B was updating the Mhinisteir about his impending medical appointment with the consultant.
Mr B had spoken to his consultant earlier that week and the consultant had wanted him to come in to the hospital that same week for the procedure. However Mr B had asked the consultant for an appointment the following week. The consultant was puzzled and wanted to know the reason to which Mr B replied by saying that He needed to consult the Vicar!!!!!
Anyway, it turned out that Mr B wanted the Vicar’s blessing and not his medical opinion which I think is very sweet.
Since the recent lockdown, there is hysteria among clerics and laity in the Church of England about Church closure. It appears that a strong majority in the Church of England would like the Churches to be closed during this lockdown. The reason given is it is for the care and protection of the community. I would think that it is exactly for that reason that the Church should be open for worship. Church is essential just like access to doctors. If and when the government instructs Churches to close then we must close the churches. The government has not asked the churches to close so I am not sure why this hysteria. The football matches are on and people have no problem going to the supermarkets where I imagine social distancing will be compromised. In our local village shop, there is never a drop of sanitiser in the dispenser. It is just there for show! I am not for once suggesting that Churches are Covid free but I think Churches are one of the safest places to be!
There is also this clamour for all Church services to be online. It certainly doesn’t work in rural parishes such as ours. Powercuts are not uncommon especially during the winter months. Furthermore, not everybody has computers or internet access. Internet access is often very patchy. Some people actually move to rural areas so that they can be off grid!
Sadly, the Church is not putting the spiritual interest of its parishioners first!
I never wanted to read Pilgrim’s progress as I always associated it as a “holy Joe’s” book.
In my circle in Scotland, people went on and on about John Bunyan’s pilgrim’s progress that it actually put me off the book. I had never read it and had no desire to read it until late summer this year!
It is one of the hardest books that I have ever read in my entire life but it was worth every minute of my time. I started reading it in late summer and only finished reading it about a week ago! I struggled to read it because Christian’s journey is so true to mine. I needed to take a couple of days to ponder on the few pages that I read each week!
I am unable to do a proper review because trying to do one will be like trying to review the Holy Bible!
In short, the book is about Christian who is a pilgrim in this world and his journey to the celestial city. It is a wonderful reminder to the reader of the ups and downs of Christian life.
The Author John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s progress when he was in jail. A tinker by trade and though not ordained, he preached in pulpits when invited. It was his preaching as an unauthorised person that got him imprisoned. He was imprisoned from November 1660 to May 1672 and again for six months in 1676. It was during his second stint in prison that he started writing Pilgrim’s Progress.
Today, Pilgrim’s progress is regarded as one of the best theological fiction in English literature. It has been translated in over 200 languages and has never been out of print.
It is a book worth reading especially if you are a Christian!
In the Church of England, clergy are required to take a week’s holiday immediately after Christmas to make up for a very busy December.
This year, the Mhinisteir and I were due to go away for a week but because we have been moved to Tier 4, this is not possible, plan B is to holiday at home. Fat chance!
On Boxing Day, there was an Almighty panic among the Church wardens about the new Tier 4 rules which resulted in phone calls and emails.
On Sunday, the Mhinsteir had to do services because there was no one else. Our Curate is away for their well deserved break. Life as a Curate is very cushy as there are very few responsibilities.
Today there were more panic phone calls and emails from the Church Wardens! There are a good few in our parishes who are in hospital or have received devastating diagnosis so they are desperate for spiritual assistance.
This is the calling that the Mhinisteir chose all those years ago and being married to him means it becomes my way of life too so there is no room for complaints.
I was on the phone to my parents when the Mhinisteir mouthed “heating is not working”. Since we were coming to the end of our conversation, I rang off to attend to the impending crisis.
Unusually, the Mhinisteir looked worried. He said the boiler wasn’t working and that there was a red light on. Mmmm…. sounds serious. He also added that he has been in touch with the plumber but all he got was the answering machine. Double Mmmm….
With all the Christmas services, the next 48 hours are going to be extremely busy for the Mhinisteir.
How can the boiler break down when we have been so diligent in servicing it? Will the plumber even check his answering machine? It has been very very cold with hailstones so what are we to do if the plumber can’t come for the next few days???????????
Anyway, I needed to get a grip. I am supposed to be a help not a hindrance.
I told the Mhinisteir that we should exercise our faith and pray. Half an hour later, I went to check on the boiler. The Mhinsister was just coming out of his study. “Boiler is working!!!” he mouthed again because this time he was on the phone to a parishioner!!!!
People usually say prayer is powerful but I say God is powerful.
It was reported this week that the Archbishop of Canterbury is to go on a three month sabbatical. Given that we belong to the Church of England, I only knew about it when I opened up Monday’s papers.
Readers of the Telegraph were aghast that the ABC was going on a sabbatical. They are disappointed with him over the decision to keep the churches closed during the Covid pandemic. They also feel that he has been twiddling his thumb during the pandemic
Just one reader wrote to say that he was pleased that the ABC was going on a sabbatical as this would mean that this reader will get a break from the ABC!!!!!! I know what he means!
With news of the Covid 19 Vaccine, I fear that people will start treating it like the morning after pill. I get the feeling that people are (or willing) to let their guard down now that a vaccine has been found. The Vaccine is not a miracle cure. We MUST continue to act responsibly. I for one am a little sceptical about the vaccine as it is still in its infancy. How can a vaccine that normally takes 10 years to produce be produced in 10 months??? Furthermore, do we know anything about the side effects etc? Is it a competition between the pharmaceutical giants as to whose vaccine will triumph
People continue to die from Covid nationally and globally. The government can no longer desensitise the situation by producing statistics as more and more of us are facing the hard facts that these statistics are now someone we know or whom we once held dear!
Life is not always about eating, drinking and be merry!
I was brought up a Protestant Christian so I didn’t follow the liturgical Calendar until I joined the Church of England.
Yesterday was the Feast of Christ the King, marking the end of an old year.
Next Sunday will be the start of Advent which marks the start of a new liturgical year. Just based on observations, I used to think that the start of advent was the start to the party season!!! That was when Office Christmas parties and Christmas shopping got underway.
Advent according to the liturgical calendar is similar to Lent where Christians are in a penitent mode fasting and praying. For this reason, I am not sure who came up with advent calendars filled with chocolates, gins etc!!!!!!