Monday, September 14, 2009

Holy Cross Day

I went into church this morning to take down the USPG exhibition photos and pack them ready to transport back to London. The exhibition boards are staying up for another couple of weeks to accommodate another exhibition of paintings by local artist Brian Gardiner, which opens on Wednesday, entitled 'Spirit of Place'. Before going to clergy school, I spent some pleasant hours digitally scanning large format high quality photo slides of his work, in order to be able to post them to a publicity page on the parish website. It will be good to have his paintings on display in church, especially as the stream of summer visitors continues. His paintings offer views of parts of Cardiff which a normal tourist would be unlikely to pass by. They show beauty in the ordinary features of a quiet suburb away from the glamour of the city centre.

Paul Hocking and I met with Mike Friel, head of the City Council's Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal Team today, to report on all that had happened in the Street Carers Forum over the past few months, and to make evident the determination of the Representative Group to press ahead with plans already made to arrange a training and accreditation programme for Street Carers despite recent setbacks. Our news was well received. That's an encouragement, providing us with the confidence to proceed with tomorrow night's Forum meeting, to which leaders of churches with Street Care teams are invited for a briefing on our plans.

The meeting was over in good time, to allow me to visit Tredegarville school for the first time since term began, and receive an update from the head teacher on his plethora of plans for the year ahead. With additional matters grabbing my attention at the moment, it won't be possible to re-start 'God on Mondays' until after half term. Kelly, one of the teachers who has been working with me on the service over the past year is off sick at the moment, and that is a contributory factor as well. It's a disadvantage not having a ministerial colleague to share this particular piece of work with, to ensure continuity. I feel bad that it can't be every week all the year round, but there are other haphazard demands to be met that disrupt the routine, not least my own vulnerability to illness. The return of nosebleeds during the hours of sleep this weekend after a five week break has been most disconcerting - and still no sign of a specialist hospital appointment. It must be three months since my doctor first requested one for me.

I was saddened to hear this morning of the death of Graham, Jones, a long standing member of St Michael's and their senior server. Last week in clergy school Caroline their Vicar told me that he'd been admitted to hospital with liver failure, and two days later she reported that he was to be admitted to a hospice as he had an agressive cancer which had spread rapidly through his vital organs. It's happened so quickly, he hadn't been ill for long. The cancer had spread undiagnosed. A stark reminder that health no matter how much or little we value it, is a precarious gift.

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