Sunday, 28 June 2009

Busman's holiday

25 years ago we discovered the beautiful Isle of Tiree as a place of retreat and refreshment. Between terms when I was studying, I would spend a month at a time there several times a year. I often took services in the two parish churches. We even took over the running of our friend's guest house on a few occasions while she went on holiday. Its been a joy to introduce our children to the unspoilt beauty of the island and see their pleasure in that slower pace of life. Recently, we've taken to just turning up unannounced, knowing that we were always welcome and surprising our friend. That was the plan for next week. We sail out on Monday. However, this time our friend has surprised us. Audrey died suddenly but peacefully early last week. Next Tuesday I shall conduct her funeral service on the island. What a privelege. We have been through a lot together. From our early days of marriage, the loss of her husband, Jack, her battle with bowel cancer some 15 years ago when she stayed with us while undergoing treatment, the arrival of our children, our various church moves.
Audrey was always one for having the last word. She certainly stumped us this time! We give thanks for her and hope and pray that that will be the prevailing note in the service.
And then, when we have performed those last offices of love, let's hope that the healing of that Island peace will be ours as we soak up a few days before returning home. Thanks be to God.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Schools Out

I loved summer days listening to Alice Cooper. Having spent the last two weeks involved in all sorts of end of term activities in my numerous school chaplaincies, from judging talent shows to praying at award ceremonies- and a whole gamut of opportunities in between - it has come of something of a relief to know that that frenzy is over for another year.
What strikes me as most different from my school days is the emotion that youngsters display faced with the prospect of moving on. I can't even remember feeling such emotions, never mind displaying them. At our recent secondary school functions, senior pupils were given space and opportunity to reflect on their education so far and encouraged and affirmed in their mixed emotions at moving on. And the picture was very similar for pupils moving from primary to secondary education. Somehow, displaying emotions has become a healthy option. Changed days indeed.
Another huge change is how the potential of these pupils is honoured and celebrated. They really are encouraged to "follow their dreams". Even in these days of economic recession, there is still the belief - not unrealistic, either - that they can achieve whatever they set their hearts and minds on. And, you know, even the most cynical could be convinced by the grit and determination and simple self belief displayed by so many of our young folks. More power to them.
It seems to me that it is in keeping with the heart of the gospel to foster this health and wholeness in every child that we encounter, providing the nurture and encouragement that will lead to their maximising their potential.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Midgies and drizzle

Spent the weekend at Guide Camp accompanied by drizzly rain and midgies with tackety boots on. In spite of that, we had a great time. Its not camp without a fire and a few songs and marshmallows on twigs. I was also saying goodbye to my Guide unit. Next year I'll be involved in Guiding closer to what is now home. Now wondering if the skills I've learned are really portable and transferable or if my survival is dependent on the wonderful team I've been working with. Time will tell. Meantime I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've had and hope that I can find my niche in a new setting.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Shallow or what?

Many of my blogging friends are posting on deep and meaningful topics, like Iran and school leaving ceremonies and dissonance, to name but a few. Me, I just want to show off my new toy and wonder where all the summer weather has gone?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Scary Ministers

It always amuses me that, even in these"secular" times, folk still see the visit of "the meenister" as something to get excited about. One lady I visited this morning was so excited by my visit that she didn't recognise me and proceeded to tell me about the nice new young minister who had come to the parish. Having got over that, she then offered me coffee which I gratefully accepted. Except that, when I tasted it, it tasted awfully like Bovril. I wasn't sure whether to say anything or not - it was perfectly drinkable. But I thought that if she had made herself a cup of this and got the cups mixed up, she would think it strange that I didn't mention it. Turned out, instead of reaching for the jar of instant coffee, she had reached instead for a jar of Bisto gravy granules! My visit had certainly left her flustered. What a hoot on a grey wet morning. Now where else can I go and wreak havoc?

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Farm Park Fun

Had an amazing day today at Heads of Ayr Farm Park with the Youth church. Plenty of fun for all ages. And a great bunch of young folk, who, even though it's not cool, stuck around to show the adults how to have fun on the bouncing pillows.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

God in all of life

Took the ironing to church this morning. No one took pity and offered to do any. As we celebrated communion together, we celebrated that God is present in the celebrations and in the mundane. Wherever we are we can spread the table and know communion with God and with our neighbour.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Spirit dust

I met the Holy Spirit this week.
On the 9am from Glasgow.
As we trained through lush green countryside.
With the sun streaming in the window,
almost obliterating the laptop screen.
The Holy Spirit lurked in the passageway,
She touched the passengers around me
Brought them smiles instead of frowns.
I’m not sure if anyone else saw her or realized that she was at work.
But I saw her dancing up the aisle and smiling her mischievous smile.
I often meet her on trains.
She seems to like rail travel.
Folk are enclosed and confined.
So she sets to work, kindling their imagination.
Waking their senses.
Lifting their heads up from their free copies of Metro.
Inspiring their work.
So that they arrive at their destination
With a sense of achievement.
Of course they don’t often give her the credit.
They’re rarely aware of her work.
But I saw her.
And she doesn’t mind not being recognized.
She does what she does beautifully and doesn’t mind who takes the credit.
Liz Crumlish June 2009

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

West is best

I attended a meeting in Edinburgh today.
I left the West coast at 7:30am in brilliant sunshine.
Arriving in Edinburgh, the castle was shrouded in mist.
I arrived back in the west this evening to more wall to wall sunshine.
West is definitely best!

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