Thursday, July 16, 2009

Term's end

This morning I shared with Father Roy Doxsey in the Tredegarville School end of term Eucharist and school leavers' celebration. It was also the occasion to say 'god speed' to Annette James, deputy head, on her way to a head teachers job at Malpas Church Infants school in the autumn. She's a charismatic figure, very popular with colleagues and children alike, so the farewell for her and for year six children, going up to secondary school, following the Communion, was lengthy and emotional affair, with each year group doing their own presentations, full of fun, music and art.

Roy had to slip out and do another Eucharist back at St Germans, but was able to return before the farewell ceremonies concluded. Then I had to slip out to do the St John's noon Eucharist. This is the kind of juggling we have to do in the absence of support from colleagues. As the years pass, not only are the numbers of full-time clergy diminishing, but also the numbers of active retired colleagues able to step in. At the moment we run to stand still, and don't know how to change things positively. It is sad that we keep going until the system breaks down, rather than having a constructive way to manage pastorally inevitable changes. It's painfully difficult to give up our expectations of how things ought to be.

In the afternoon I visited to BBC Wales Llandaff studio to take part in an 'All things considered' programme discussing technology, religion and modern culture, a subject much to my liking. I was not on my best form, having been robbed of sleep by a nose bleed, yet again last night. A quick visit to the doctor earlier this afternoon set in motion a request for a specialist ENT examination to see what the problem is. But that didn't do anything for my foggy, foggy brain unfortunately. Not my best radio appearance, I'm afraid, although I did enjoy playing the skeptic instead of the enthusiast for a few fleeting moments when it came to talk about virtual on-line church.

A taxi took me in the rain up to Thornhill Church for an introductory meeting of the Gweini board. Paul Hocking has asked if I'd like to participate, and bring some insight from my encounter with the Local Authority in the course of my work. I was much impressed with talks given about the work of a voluntary group called 'Oasis' working out of Tredegarville Baptist Church with asylum seekers, and a community worker living and working in Ely, out of sense of Christian vocation. There's some energetic engagement with real world issues going on around town, and a journey of discovery for some, that a truly biblical piety enables this to happen.

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