Sunday, September 20, 2009

St Matthew festivities

One of the regulars was there at eight o'clock this morning, others opted to come later on to the Sung Eucharist, celebrated by Canon Malcolm Ellis, my predecessor, on the occasion of the golden jubilee of his ordination to the priesthood. In place of the regulars came three passing strangers, all men - one English one Indian, newly arrived, to work in BT's Cardiff offices like others before him, and a third whom I didn't speak to, who looked South Eastern European in origin. It'slike that at the early service. There's always some good reason for turning up and being just there, even when I know the regulars are away.

The congregation at the Sung Eucharist was double its usual size with Mac's family and friends there to celebrate with him. It was great to assist him as he celebrated and preached. on Saint Matthew, a saint special to both of us because of his association with our shared ordination dates. It was a happy occasion, with an excellent party afterwards. It's so rare that I ever have the opportunity to receive the ministry of another priest in my own church. It may be as long as five years since the last occasion this happened.

Two of our regulars who divide their time between Cardiff and Teneriffe where their children work, came with son, daughter in law and this time two grandchildren. It was baby Lily's first home visit, so we welcomed formally and blessed her at the end of the Eucharist, as we did two years ago with her elder sister.

Our resident cheesemonger was in church with his mother and his girl-friend. He first visited us while selling North Walian cheeses at the Christmas market. Now he has a shop in Penarth. His Mum was on the final leg of her trip which took her from home in Nigeria to visit one of her children in Denver Colorado, and then to Cardiff to see her son. She was delighted to recieve a St John's welcome, being active in an evangelical congregation back home.

Visitors from abroad are so much a part of our regular church life these days, because Cardiff has so many tourists and international workers. It certainly makes everyday life interesting.

After the Eucharist a quick trip to the farmers market, and the coach ticket office, to book a journey to London. I have an errand - to return all the exhibition photographs to USPG HQ. This is the one opportunity I have to go this week, with extra things going on - Climate Change conference Tuesday, John Lewis preview Wednesday. London today, back tomorrow afternoon, rather a lot of time in a bus, but less expensive than freighting the pictures, and I get to see my sister in the bargain.

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