Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lady Day

After the midday Eucharist, a trek in the rain over to Tredgarville School for the annual blessing and distribution of Palm Crosses to staff and children. A group of kids performed my Hosanna Rap account of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which gave me pleasure. Just as the ceremony finished, the Head intervened to introduce a surprise presentation - about me, a kind of brief 'This is your life', told by some children, and a Powerpoint presentation made up of pictures of me taken from an internet search, mostly very fuzzy, as they were small sized and unsuitable for blowing up, but it was fun nevertheless. The pictures of me with one of the granchildren in my arms drew lots of aaaahs, and the infamous photo of me holding someone else's ipod, in an image used several times in tech news stories since it was first taken, aroused much amusement all round.

Each of the classes contributed their own handmade good wishes cards, so beautifully done. I must see if I can photograph and most them for wider viewing - just delightful. Then there was a present - one of the bigger digital photo frames with lots of memory, big enough to contain thousands of re-sized family photos. Just the job for a full time grandpa. I was just overwhelmed. The thought that I might not re-appear again after the Easter break spurred the staff into early action. There will be another chance, however, as there'll be an Eastertide School Eucharist to celebrate when term re-starts.

I took the opportunity to do an inventory of the church stuff held in school. It's only taken me three years to get around to it. Glad I remembered before I no longer hold the keys to do the job. This means that the work I've been doing on a handover file for church officers and my successor is now nearly complete and only in need of checking. That'll take an age, given my fading attention to detail.

From school, I went down to County Hall, where I had been asked to say the opening prayers for the Council meeting, both the regular clerics who do this were unavailable. It's the first occasion during my seven and a half years in office, and probably the last. It gave me a chance to greet several councillors I knew beforehand, and that was good. When I'd done praying, the Mayor, Brian Griffiths announced my imminent retirement and expressed his good wishes on behalf of the Council. That was a nice kind touch. Much appreciated.

Then it was back to school for a Governors' meeting with the OFSTED Inspector, who read through the summary of his report for us. It took fifty minutes, and all I can say of its content pre-publication is that rather than nasty surprises, there were only good surprises.
There's some stuff to work at, but everyone is very pleased at the positive recognition of the immense team efforts made week in week out over many years, in some cases. When the introductory description of the school's 'Sitz im Leben' was being read out cooly, it struck me quite hard just how difficult and challenging a social context this is to maintain a school, let along one that aims so high with pupils of every kind of ability, so that they do their best from whatever starting point the depart. I'm so proud it's a church school. I don't see how having beliefs can ever be a problem when the founding belief is that only the best is good enough for the children we care for. I'm glad to have had a small part in it. I would have liked to do more, but there's never been enough time to do everything needing to be done.

From school, it was back to St John's for me to attend the meeting of our local Cardiff Cytun - City and Bay (as the City Centre Churches Together has now rebranded itself). Along with the business, and a discussion of what the organisation wants from its website in the hands of a new volunteer designer, we had a discussion which I led about language and identity, which was an opportunity to think about issues that could be touchy, and which certainly impinge on how churches in a bi-lingual city engage with each other. It was ten before I got home to eat supper. The pace has been pretty lively just lately. No winding down for me yet.

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