Saturday, 28 August 2010

Finding peace

Our hospital chaplaincy team arrange regular education sessions for parish clergy. These are always informative and useful, as well as providing the opportunity for fellowship and networking. The latest session introduced us to the work of breathing space, a  first stop phoneline service for anyone who is experiencing low mood. I'm not sure whether to be disturbed by the extremely high figures on call volume quoted by Tony Mclaren, National Coordinator for Breathing Space,  or relieved that such a service is available to point those calling to other means of support.
The other speaker of the day, a charge nurse from the Acute Psychiatric Service in Ayrshire and Arran, gave us an insight into the integrated, holistic therapy they are attempting to provide. Both sessions provided lots of information and new perspective. As is often the case, my thoughts turned to how the church could be of use in lightening the load of service users and service providers. But the sad fact is that, probably, the church is the last place that many folk would turn even though, in many places now, there would be a welcome and an acceptance that might not always have been found in our churches. How can we change the perspective of generations who have lost faith in an institution but who still would claim to have faith in the ability of good to triumph over evil, even if they are only clinging onto that with their fingertips?

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Getting the priorities right

Call me shallow but, when a colleague mentioned this evening that the local crematorium was exploring the possibility of making DVDs of funeral services, my immediate response was one of delight - they would then have to employ a make up artist AND my hair colouring would become a professional expense.
Then I would have no need to take in ironing:)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Domestic Goddess?

Every once in a while I surprise myself by having a domesticated spell. Yesterday, when I saw some ripe brambles in the garden, I just had to turn them into jelly. Gifts of apples and courgettes enticed me to find a recipe in which I could use them. So, while I was at the gym this morning, two apple and courgette loaves were baking in the oven. Now THAT'S multi-tasking. A compulsion to have the laundry up to date saw me performing surgery on the washing machine today and then having to mop up the resultant flood - a clean floor into the bargain. All this alongside preparation for Sunday, meetings and pastoral visits. Strange times! Hopefully this will pass soon. LOL.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Crystal clear

I was listening to a wonderful discussion on the radio about textual emoticons - aka smileys. The presenter had just received a text that ended with, as he put it, a colon and a parenthesis. :)
Textual emoticons have become a part of everyday language. As have acronyms. I love to puzzle out acronyms - like LOL - laugh out loud - or LMAO - Laughing my ass off. Sometimes I don't always get it right, but usually the general sense is there.
We have a whole new language that baffles older generations.
As is often the case, the church runs apposite to this. We operate with a language and a turn of expression that baffles the younger generations. And never the twain shall meet? Fortunately this does not have to be a self fulfilling prophecy (more church speak) because the language of love, the timeless love of God transcends all boundaries and cultures and, in fact, needs no words - but simply actions. Maybe we should develop a whole new church text speak. LOA - love one another. JDI - Just do it!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Above the clouds

Above the clouds
Now that schools have returned in Scotland, life in the parish is hotting up again. Summer, such as it was, is officially over. Church organisations will soon be starting up and so a new session begins. Embarking on my third year in this ministry here brings the temptation to be despondent at the slow pace of change. It is easy to imagine that more should have been achieved or accomplished. God's timing is not easily fathomed. But it can be relied on that, when the time is right, change will happen. Meantime, there is still much groundwork to be done, lots of encouragement to be given and loads more feeding and nurturing to be offered so that we are ready to catch the wind of God when the clouds are blown away. God's timing is not our timing but it is right. Right now I think I'm in 6/8 while God is in 3/4. But I'm trying to rediscover the rhythm of God.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Letting off steam

I had occasion this afternoon to "get my top off and go for a run" as I once embarrassingly told someone. It was either that or resort to violence.
What is it about middle aged gentlemen and funeral teas? They say the most inappropriate things. (The middle aged gentlemen that is) Things they would never say to my male colleagues. Today, I was asked if I'd ever considered taking in ironing. Oh yes, I could set myself up with a nice little diversion while I'm hanging around the crematorium waiting on my next gig!
Here endeth this week's rant.
Normal service(s) will be resumed shortly.

Friday, 13 August 2010

That Friday feeling...

It's been a great week at Holiday Club, using SU's Wastewatchers material. We had a ball reducing, reusing and recycling, all in the name of God's transforming love. And it's amazing what can be achieved in designer wedding attire from old newspapers. Looking forward to Sunday's service incorporating music and stories from the week. So what's new?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Real virtual communities

I was recently involved in discussions about Mission Shaped Church. When it came to considering modern concepts of community, I was particularly keen that the myriad virtual communities to which many of us subscribe should be taken seriously as forms of friendship and support. My experience has certainly been that I have been able to share honestly and with a degree of vulnerability with folk whom I have never met but with whom I feel a connection and whose wisdom and insight I value. On occasion I have subsequently met some of the folk, mainly bloggers, with whom I have shared and our relationship has taken on another dimension but the face to face meet is not vital to the sense of community and sharing that is possible. One such community is RevGalBlogPals. In this community I have obtained practical advice, shared pain and gleaned wisdom. My perception is that, often, the value of online communities is under estimated. In a profession as isolating as ministry, however, such networks can be life giving.
More recently I have enjoyed connecting with others on Facebook. I refuse to become involved in Mafia Wars or Farmville or other such time consuming activities offered. But I do love snooping around, seeing what friends are up to, checking out their pictures and offering comments. However I see this as a very different kind of social networking and one that requires a lot more care and discretion. And it concerns me that there is often too much inappropriate information volunteered. Many younger folk do not see that as a problem and I accept that their way of connecting and interacting is different and is perfectly acceptable for them. However I do get concerned when colleagues post details that could be misconstrued or that demonstrate a lack of professionalism and are seemingly unaware of the very public nature of such a site.
Like all online communities, candour and discernment must be employed for our own protection as well as for the protection of those we serve.
I would be interested to know how others work out what is an appropriate level of sharing and the safety or otherwise of online communities.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Not so dumb waiters

Was waited on by this fine posse of men today. A real tonic.

Sunday, 1 August 2010


A day of relentless rain was suddenly transformed by the sight of this rainbow. Typical Scottish summer - dreich one minute and dazzling the next.

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