THE WATERSIDE CHURCHES - KAREN'S CORNER
THE WATERSIDE CHURCHES - KAREN'S CORNER
‘How very dare you…!’
I booked a holiday last week. The travel agent called back 10 minutes after I had confirmed our booking. She told me that, as I turn 56 at the end of this month, I qualified for a ‘seniors’ discount! Well, dear reader, I was shocked. Like lots of people, I don’t think of myself as being a ‘senior’. Despite the physical marching on of time which has led to grey hair, the need for at least 8 pairs of reading glasses dotted around the vicarage and car, arthritic toes and the inability to digest a meal after 8pm, I still feel fairly young inside.
Upon hearing of my ‘senior’ holiday discount Chris tried (not very successfully I might add) not to laugh. He is 9 months younger than me and went off, chortling quietly…
It did make me think though… most of our church volunteers are mature ( I have avoided the word ‘senior’!) and do the ‘heavy lifting’ with regards to jobs in our churches. There is no doubt that, without their hard work, energy and dedication, the churches would not run smoothly, if at all. There is a concerted effort to encourage younger church members to take on some of the volunteer roles and to expand our volunteer base.
Last weekend St Piran’s church held 5 services over three days and the church officers and volunteers as well as our wonderful organist Julia, made each and every one of them special. I certainly could not have done without them and thank each and every one of them.
A Funeral vigil was held for the late Mrs Beryl Harding in church on the Friday evening and her funeral was held the following day. Many of the community came along to remember her and to support her family, which was lovely.
On Saturday afternoon the church was filled with the family and friends of baby E as she was Christened. The children love the opportunity to remind their families of their own baptism. I ask them to ‘bless’ the grown ups with water, which they find irresistible and the grown ups take it in good humour. It always produces lots of laughter as the children make sure that every adult is splashed.
On Sunday afternoon the St Piran’s church craft afternoon for children aged between 5 and 11 was held in the church hall. Again, this is run by a team of great volunteers who are building a new congregation of young families.
Over the weekend St Piran’s welcomed over 175 people into church. Some were church family, some occasional attendees and some were new to the church. We never know what seeds are sown into hearts by the Holy Spirit and how hearts are touched. We can only pray that they see the love of Christ in our churches and are drawn back to find out more.
On Friday I went along to the St Feock parish lunch. I sat with parishioners as well as a couple I had not met before. We enjoyed our lunch accompanied by good conversation and laughter.
On Wednesday 15th March the last of our Lent Talks takes place. The Revd Jeff James will be joining us to speak into The Beatitudes. Many of you know Jeff as he has led services with us before. Refreshments will be served afterwards. All welcome, as always, to the Devoran Parish Centre at 2pm.
Our dedicated Lent page on the website is updated daily with a Lenten Reflection. Do check the page out.
On Sunday 19th March at 3pm our Celtic Service of worship will take place at Devoran Church. The theme this month is ‘deepening discipleship.’ It is a lovely, quiet, contemplative service which always finishes the weekend off beautifully. Again, all are welcome, as always.
On March 18th there will be a service in the cathedral, led by Bishop Philip, to celebrate lay worship leadership. Chris will be commissioned as a Lay Worship Leader at this service. All are welcome to come along and to support our lay ministry team. It would be lovely to have a Waterside Churches group in attendance to support all of the lay ministry that tales place across our churches as well as the diocese.
On 19th March at 11am in the Devoran parish centre we will be holding our own celebration of our lay ministers. They are a blessing to all of us and all are welcome to come along and to celebrate their gifts and ministry amongst us.
Chris’ commission as a lay worship leader is one that I am very much looking forward to. Aside from being the Vicar’s husband, which is a role in itself, he has a call from God to lay ministry. It is a huge blessing to me to be able to share ministry with him and to encourage his flourishing in his own vocation. Each morning we meet in my office to pray together and to share ideas and listen to one another. I am blessed to have a husband who not only supports my own ministry but who also wants to minister to our congregations and communities. I am grateful for his time, his dedication, faith and love to the place and people we have the privilege to serve.
I always thoroughly enjoy writing Karen’s Corner and feeling that I am speaking to you in person. I hope that whatever your week holds, it is blessed.
I am signing off to go and have a brew and a sit down, as any good ‘senior’ does late on a Sunday afternoon! I am still getting over the full roast lunch that Chris and I shared with parishioners at the Cornish Arms in Frogpool after our last service this morning. 10 of us gathered to gather to share lunch, to catch up and to enjoy each others’ company. We are truly blessed to be surrounded by so many loving and kind people.
Yours in Christ,
‘A Lent Talk and the ‘good biscuits…’
In our family there has always been an unspoken understanding of what ‘the good biscuits’ are. They are the not ginger snaps, rich teas or digestives…. ( I am happily prepared to argue the case against these not being the good biscuits). ‘The good biscuits’ are the chocolatey, foil wrapped, swirly iced, fancy biscuits that come in boxes and have words like ‘deluxe’ or ‘luxurious’ written on the side. Ginger snaps and fig rolls are the biscuits that you have with a brew and a good book.
‘The good biscuits’ come out at Christmas, when we have guests or for a special occasion. Well, there was one such occasion last week when we were joined by the Dean of the Cathedral, The Rev Simon Robinson SSM. He spoke into our Lenten topic of The Beatitudes eloquently, movingly and with passion. He spoke about his own witness of survivors of genocide. I think that I can safely say that everyone who attended his talk was deeply moved and came away with much food for spiritual thought.
It was a joy to have Dean Simon with us. He was very generous with his time and answered questions after his talk and stayed on for tea and chat afterwards. We are certainly blessed to have him with us at the cathedral.
Next Wednesday we are joined by The Revd Canon Jane Vaughan Wilson for our Lent Talk at 2pm in the Devoran parish centre. It is fascinating to hear other voices and theologies speak into The Beatitudes.
It is that time of year again when I write the Vicar’s report for the APCM’s which will be held after Easter. Before I write this year’s report I spend time revisiting last year’s report and reflect upon where we have come and what we have done over the past 12 months. What has been been fruitful? It also gives me time to reflect upon what has been unexpected or upon things which need changing or given a new direction.
When I wrote last year’s report I had no idea of what a very different complexion the coming year would have from the one that I envisaged or hoped for.
For many of you, as well as for Chris and I, these past eight months have been painful and difficult. Of course, amongst the difficulties there have been highlights and there have been so many blessings. I am assured that God is in all of this and my prayer is that we will be able to move forward as a benefice. With God’s help we have been keeping our eyes upon what God wants for the churches and our communities.
I think that there is an inevitability to the fact that the past months have had a profound impact that we are still processing.
Prayer has always sustained me and please be assured that my prayers are for all of us, across all three churches.
Two weeks ago, over a cup of coffee, a parishioner asked me what kept me going. I thought about it for a moment and my reply was, ‘God, copious amounts of tea and the ability to laugh at myself’.
There are many other things that keep me going of course; such as Gin, time at a spa, fish and chips and a packet of M&S Percy Pigs. I am joking….
I often think that God has a sense of humour. You’ve only got to look at a Platypus… half beaver, with a duck’s bill, a mammal who lays eggs to boot!
We are made in God’s image and, to one extent or another, we have a sense of humour. It’s the diversity of our humour that is a joy. Some people laugh at the antics of a clown, others at a dryer form of humour. Funeral Directors have told me that their sometimes dark humour gets them through difficult days. My Dad loved the humour of Spike Milligan and had a very dry sense of humour. He was one of the very few people who could reduce me to tears of laughter.
A good chortle has positive benefits for our health. When it comes to relieving stress, more giggles and guffaws are just what the doctor ordered. Here's why.
Laughing does you good. Laughter is a great form of stress relief, and that's no joke.
A good sense of humour can't cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive things laughter can do.
A good laugh has great short-term effects. When you start to laugh, it doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter can:
• Stimulate many organs. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
• Activate and relieve your stress response. A rollicking laugh fires up and then cools down your stress response, and it can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. The result? A good, relaxed feeling.
• Soothe tension. Laughter can also stimulate circulation and aid muscle relaxation, both of which can help reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress.
Laughter isn't just a quick pick-me-up, though. It's also good for you over the long term. Laughter may:
• Improve your immune system. Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.
• Relieve pain. Laughter may ease pain by causing the body to produce its own natural painkillers.
• Increase personal satisfaction. Laughter can also make it easier to cope with difficult situations. It also helps you connect with other people.
• Improve your mood. Many people experience depression, sometimes due to chronic illnesses. Laughter can help lessen your stress, depression and anxiety and may make you feel happier. It can also improve your self-esteem (The Mayo Clinic).
So, stretching the chuckle muscles is good for us in so many ways. It can be difficult to find the funny side of life when times are hard. During life’s darker moments God can give us the tiniest of blessings which can raise a smile. Whilst I had pneumonia I was feeling pretty rough and sleeping was not easy. Chris woke me up in the middle of the night, declaring, ‘Oh, it’s you breathing! I though that the boiler was packing up…’ The wheezing and rattling of my lungs obviously sounded like an ailing old boiler….I found the funny side and my laughter then set off a whistling in my nose. Every time I laughed or even breathed, my nose made a whistling sound. The more it whistled and I wasn’t able to stop it the more we laughed. I went back to sleep, thanking God for the laughter and a moment of lightness.
Whatever your week brings, I hope that there is some laughter in it, some moment when God breaks into your life and illuminates it with joy.
‘Tears and no electricity…’
Well, dear reader, Sunday was quite the morning. I arrived at St Piran’s to find David Harris trying to get the electricity to come on in the church, to no avail. Every trip switch and button was turned on and off and nothing…
A call to Paul, our Churchwarden followed as we decided to have a truncated version of our 8.30am BCP Holy Communion service. The hardy congregation sat huddled in the choir stalls. We could see our breath and candles illuminated our prayer books. The BCP congregation are a robust bunch and we shared Holy Communion with good humour to beat the cold.
We moved our 10.00 am service over into the church hall, which did have power. Many trips were made as we made an altar and brought in more chairs. The congregation gathered around tables and sat ‘cafe’ style. In their usual good natured and resilient way, the congregation all mucked in to make sure that we could worship together.
The keyboard was brought across from the church for Juliet to play. When she sat down she couldn’t reach the keys! So, in true Elton John style she stood to play, all very rock and roll!
As I was preparing the makeshift altar in walked a very good friend who I hadn’t seen for years. Revd Mark Houston and I trained together at St Mellitus College. He lives and ministers in Cumbria and, as far as I was concerned, that is where he was on this Sunday morning. I couldn’t quite take in who I was seeing, It was almost an out of body experience! Mark was here visiting his daughter in Falmouth and wanted to surprise me, he certainly did that!
I promptly burst into tears and we exchanged a big hug. It was a joy to have him worship with us and to be able to share Holy Communion. I asked Mark to pray for our congregation, which he did so beautifully.
When I introduced Mark to the congregation, they all gave him a spontaneous round of applause! I shouldn’t have been surprised by the welcome that was offered to him, they are such a loving bunch of people.
When it came to sharing Holy Communion, it was the first time that I had been able to do this for Mark. I had a lump in my throat, I confess. Chris followed Mark and I could feel my eyes filling up, it was such a special moment. To see him chatting and laughing with Chris was lovely, it was such a highlight of the day.
I usually use the pulpit to preach from but this morning there was no pulpit. I listened to the guidance of the Spirit and decided that, as were sitting cafe style we would have a discussion about temptation and how we can resist it with the help of Jesus example to us. One congregation member told us that she was going into hiding for the duration of Lent as she was unable to resist temptation! Much laughter ensued as we tried to offer her guidance…
It was certainly a very different and unexpected Sunday morning. God moves in wondrous ways and He showed us all that church can look so very different to how we are used to it looking. It can also bring such unexpected blessings and food for thought too.
The good news is that the power is now back on and many thanks to all who made this morning possible, against the odds.
I has started my Sunday morning early and had checked my emails. One of them had given me pause for thought and I went off to Perranarworthal wishing that I hadn’t read it before worship. However, the morning that followed raised my spirit no end and God showed me what marvellous things are happening in our churches.
There is so much to celebrate and to thank God for across our churches. Just one example is that Jane, our dedicated LLM, is staring a ‘Tots and Toys’ group in Devoran. She has worked so hard to get to the point where she is looking for volunteers to help out and is hoping to begin the group after Easter. If you think that you could help Jane in any way do let her know. Her contact details are on the website. ‘Open The Book’ is also starting again in Devoran School, which is good news.
Our Lent Talks continue on Wednesday 1st March at 2pm in the Devoran parish centre. Refreshments are served afterwards. All welcome, as always. Do come along to support our guest speaker and to dive into the Beatitudes a bit further.
I have been updating the dedicated Lent Page on the website daily. Each day there is a new reflection, scripture and prayers. Please do use the page to engage with the season of Lent and to share the journey towards Holy Week. As Christians we are asked to spend the season of Lent in prayer, reflection and time with God. The page is designed to help provide the resources that will be useful to do this. Of course, you can use your own resources, the important thing is to do something.
On Saturday we took both dogs to the Devoran Ladies Group charity coffee morning in the parish centre. We enjoyed the coffee, biscuits and stalls and the dogs enjoyed the fusses and cuddles! It was a good opportunity to help Marnie’s training and we don’t think that she has any issues with socialising! She sat, as good as gold, whilst we chatted and drank coffee. We then went for a walk along the Quay, chatting to other dog owners. The coffee morning was raining funds for the Helping Hands charity and everyone was very generous as they spent their money on raffle tickets, name the Teddy and the stalls. Thanks to all who made it such a lovely morning.
Whatever your week brings, may it be blessed.
‘The case of the missing lemon drizzle sauce…’
On Sunday afternoon we held our monthly Celtic Service of Worship in Devoran. This service was slightly different in that it was a service for all ages that focussed upon God’s wonderful creation. The service involved a game of ‘God Said’ which is a bit like ‘Simon Says’, with actions and noises! It created a bit of competition and laughter as the congregation had to only respond when ‘God says’.
Earlier in the day, at our 10am service in Devoran I had told the congregation that I had bought a bottle of M&S Lemon Drizzle pancake sauce, which Chris liked. He had decided that it was not going to be on the ‘toppings bar’ at the pancake party that we were throwing later that day. It was secreted in the Vicarage fridge…
When it came to the pancake party and everyone was topping they pancakes; fruiting, squirting cream, sprinkling and drizzling, there was no lemon drizzle sauce…. Chris was asked by party goers where it was, that it was missing and that they really would have liked some…. Even the children were involved in teasing him about it. There was much light hearted leg pulling, ribbing and chortling at Chris’ expense. I had to try and keep a straight face as one after another people asked him for the missing sauce…
The party was a wonderful get together, it had a real ‘family’ feel to it. It brings me huge joy to look around a room and to see people chatting, enjoying hospitality, laughing and simply being together. The service and party were certainly in the tradition of the pre-Lenten feast of using up the rich ingredients before Lenten fasting and abstention.
Today is Pancake Day, or Shrove Tuesday, it is the traditional feast day before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday. Lent – the 40 days leading up to Easter – was traditionally a time of fasting and on Shrove Tuesday, Anglo-Saxon Christians went to confession and were “shriven” (absolved from their sins). A bell would be rung to call people to confession. This came to be called the “Pancake Bell” and is still rung today.
When Chris gets in from work tonight I will start to cook his pancakes (and, no doubt, the missing lemon drizzle sauce will be drizzled…). We have a tradition that we don’t eat an evening meal, we have our pancakes. I keep cooking pancakes for Chris until he says ‘stop’! We are traditionalists and like them with lemon and sugar (well, I have the lemon, no sugar). At the pancake party tradition was set aside as the pancakes were topped with cream, syrup, jelly beans, chocolate drops, sprinkles, fruit, chocolate sauce and marshmallows! Thank you to everyone who came along, who made pancakes and who washed up afterwards.
Lent begins tomorrow and we have our Ash Wednesday service of Holy Communion with the imposition of ashes. Traditionally, the ash is made from burning the palm crosses from last year’s Palm Sunday service. Chris lights the BBQ and burns the crosses for me to mix with a small amount of oil, to be used to mark a cross on the foreheads of the congregation. It is one of those jobs that, as a clergy spouse, Chris gets on with and has become something that he does each year. As I write this he is heading out into the garden to produce the ash for me to use.
The service will be at Devoran Church at 7pm tomorrow evening, all are welcome, as always.
Our Lent Talks begin on Wednesday afternoon at 2pm in the Devoran Parish Centre. The talks are based upon The Beatitudes and we begin with ‘blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied’. I am looking forward to leading this first talk and we will be joined by guest speakers for the other three talks. Again, all are welcome.
The beatitudes that Jesus teaches can be lived out in the lives of believers today. The disciples did not have to wait till they got to the kingdom in heaven in order to live out this attitude perfectly. Although in heaven this attitude will be lived out perfectly, the disciples were aware that they could live out the attitude of Jesus even though it would not be lived out perfectly.
Jesus, in His first sermon, speaks of happiness in terms of being blessed. In the original Greek language, the word “blessed” simply means to be “happy”. Of course the world tells us how we can achieve happiness, but it is only temporary happiness. Happiness spoken of through Jesus is portrayed to us as what is only in the heart of believers. True happiness is found from putting on the proper attitude. The Sermon on the Mount can help us to identify true happiness by way of understanding the importance of the beatitudes and how each of them are still relatable to us today.
Please do keep in your prayers the family of Terry Nankivell as they prepare for his funeral at Devoran Church this week. Terry will be buried with his late wife, Margaret, in the churchyard after the funeral service.
It is the turn of The Waterside Churches to host the Powder Deanery Chapter meeting this week. We will meet on Thursday afternoon in the Devoran Parish Centre; to pray together, to talk about what is happening in the deanery and to share good news. I am in a bit of a quandary because, as we all know, the hospitality of our churches is always good. However, we will be in Lent and the usual offering of ‘the good biscuits’ is causing me to pause and to think… do I encourage others to break their Lenten observance for the sake of a chocolate covered Hob Nob or Kit Kat? I suppose that we will see which of the gathered clergy manages to resist the sweet afternoon treats!
If you are having pancakes today do enjoy them. If you would like some lemon drizzle sauce to pop onto them, its in the vicarage fridge, just call Chris….!
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed. I look forward to sharing our Lenten season together as we journey towards Holy Week together.
Yours in Christ
Have I told You Lately that I love You?
Last week I caught some of a programme about 80’s music. One of my favourite songs, ‘Have I told you lately that I love you’ featured. The Voice-Over said that the songwriter, van Morrison, wrote the song about his relationship with God and of his religious convictions.. Although he's never been heard to speak specifically about the song, he does acknowledge a spiritual element in his music.
I have copied the lyrics below for you to read. I listened to the song again and heard it in a whole new light.
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
You fill my heart with gladness
Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
For the morning sun and all it's glory
Greets the day with hope and comfort, too
You fill my life with laughter
And somehow, you make it better
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
There's a love that's divine
And it's yours and it's mine
Like the sun
And at the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray
To the one, to the one
Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
You fill my heart with gladness
Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
There's a love that's divine
And it's yours and it's mine
Like the sun
And at the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray
To the one, to the one
And have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
You fill my heart with gladness
Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
Take away all my sadness, fill my life with gladness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
Take away all my sadness, fill my life with gladness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
Van Morrison’s lyrics are straightforward and speak into a faith that is based on the good things that God brings into his life. It is a song of thanksgiving and of acknowledging the kingship of God.
I’ve enjoyed and listened to this track for years and it never dawned on me that it could be about a relationship with God. I always had it down as a love song and it is a love song. It speaks into the love that Van Morrison has for God.
This week brought the feast of St Valentine. If we leave all of the red hearts and teddy bears to one side for a moment… St Valentine had a loving relationship with God that enabled him to go against the Romans and to commit to his convictions. St Valentine’s conviction about love was so strong that he risked his life in the service of others, in the name of love. St Valentine’s day can be one that seems focussed on couples. We see a slew of adverts for romantic meals, gifts and cards. Shops are full of red and pink, teddy bears abound and heart shaped foil balloons bob about in their windows.
Please do not get me wrong, I enjoy Valentine’s day. Chris and I always celebrate it. We made a promise to one another when we met again in our 40’s that we would celebrate the milestones in our new life together. Chris cooked a lovely evening meal for us and we shared a bottle of wine (midweek, we were living on the edge!)
I’ve aways believed that Valentine’s day is one that is all about love in general, not just for couples. I am aware that not everyone has a partner to share the day with. It’s a day on which I commit to sharing love around a bit. In the film, ‘Hello Dolly’, Barbra Streisand (as Dolly Levi) very dramatically (and with much hand wafting) says that love is like manure. It does no good unless it is spread around. Perhaps not the most romantic of analogies but you get my drift…
Valentine’s day focusses the mind a bit on demonstrating love for one another. However, we know that we should be doing this every day. It’s not always easy when things are getting on top of us and we don’t feel particularly loving or loveable. There are times in all of our lives when we don’t have the energy to be particularly loving. Thank God that we have Him to lean on when we have moments like this. It may, of course, not be just a moment. There are seasons in our lives which are tougher than others. God’s shoulders are wide enough for us to completely lean into Him and take everything to Him in prayer. Sometimes we just dint have the words to take it to Him in prayer. Sometimes just sitting in silence and telling God that you are there is enough. He knows. He understands and He is there to shoulder our burdens.
In other news… the new heating system in Devoran is working and the church is back open for services. I had a try of my heated stall last week and very cosy it is too. We should all be feeling the benefits of a cosier church whilst the weather is still chilly. Thanks to everyone who cleaned the church and got it back into good shape for the service last Sunday. There has been so much hard work going into this project.
I am in the process of organising the Good Friday Walk of Witness. Do keep the date free in your diary to join us as we walk from Carnon Down Methodist Chapel to Penpol for a service of worship. It is always a highlight of Good Friday and people from all over the area join us as we walk together, witnessing to the sacrifice of Jesus. Please keep checking the website for details of our Lent and Easter services and events.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
‘Counting my blessings…’
Chris and I hosted our waterside Churches Men’s Breakfast again on Saturday morning. I was wonderfully and ably supported in the kitchen by Mandy, Trish, Veronica and Anne. A huge thanks to them for their help.
As I am counting my blessings, the Men’s Breakfast is one of those blessings. 18 gathered together to eat breakfast, to chat and catch up and to take part in a fun quiz.
Now I say ‘fun’ quiz…. It is supposed to be fun but it is taken very seriously by those gathered and there is some light hearted banter involved.
Chris writes the music section of the quiz and I write the general knowledge section. We enjoy writing getting the quiz together in each others’ company. It is a part of the blessing that the morning brings. It is just a bit of fun that we have added to the breakfast. It is certainly not intended to replace University Challenge but to add some extra laughter to the proceedings.
The Men’s Breakfast is always a morning full of blessings: communities coming together, those who would not cook a full breakfast for themselves can enjoy one, fellowship and a chance to connect with others.
It is also an opportunity for me to serve in a different way. Chris and I host this event because it is just that, a way for us to serve together, which is a blessing.
It was good to see so many gathered together last Sunday for our joint churches service of Holy Communion. Juliet chose some beautiful hymns and the singing was very uplifting. Every fifth Sunday we have the opportunity to gather together in communion with God and one another and to share the Lord’s table. Seeing everyone enjoying each others’ company at coffee afterwards is always a blessing.
This coming Sunday brings the next session of Krafty Kids at St Piran’s church Hall. The session runs from 2.30 until 4pm and all of the details and how to book are on the website. The first session was very well received and everyone had a great time. This session will be all about St Piran, the churche,s Patron Saint. Do go along and learn all about one of our Wonderful Cornish Saints and make something lovely to take home.
Marnie, our new puppy is settling in well and is finding her feet. She is growing at a rate of knots and is now beginning to look like a ‘proper’ bulldog. She is nicknamed ‘Mrs Wrinkles’ as her skin looks three sizes too big for her body! She has her 2nd set of jabs next Monday and then she will be allowed out and about. At the moment she is confined to the house and garden whilst she waits for her 2nd jab. She likes nothing more than poking through the piles of leaves and following Willow around the back garden.
However, her baby teeth are like needles and our ankles are fair game to her. We try and distract her with chew toys but she does enjoy a good gnaw on an unexpecting ankle! She is sitting at my feet as I write, chewing away on a bit of ‘fake’ hide.
The funeral of the late Mrs Margaret Challen takes place at St Feock church on Tuesday 7th February at 2pm. Margaret lived in Devoran and was known to many of our congregation. Please do keep Margaret’s daughter, Kate and her family in your prayers as they prepare for her funeral. There will be a gathering and refreshments at Margaret’s home after the service.
Work is progressing in Devoran and the new heating system has been installed. A huge thank you to Adrian, Anne and there whole team who have been involved in making this happen. I appreciate that it has been a real labour of love. Many hours of preparation and planing have gone into making the church warmer and more comfortable for all of us.
The cohort that I trained with came together this week online to mourn the very sudden death of one of our number. Marco was a true man of God who ministered in London and had received national recognition for his work with the Portuguese community in London. Sadly Marco died very suddenly on his wife’s 50th birthday. It was a huge shock to all of us and he will be hugely missed by his family and those to whom he ministered with such love.
The cohort I trained with minster all of the country and we come together regularly through social media. We were a tight knit bunch and their support and love has always been a blessing to me, as I hope that I am to them.
I heard on the weather forecast this morning that we are due another cold snap. Please be careful if it becomes icy and, if you are able to, keep warm. If you are struggling in any way with the cold weather do get in touch. Please do not attempt to struggle along in your own. You are never alone and we are always happy to help.
Right, I am off to make chicken fajitas for dinner. There is a sense of jeopardy in this venture as it is not only a new recipe but I still have two fingers strapped together. A taste of Mexico here we come….! I am not sure if they will be a blessing to Chris, he’s going to have to take his chances!
Lastly, as I talk about blessings… Each of you is a blessing to me, as I hope and pray that I am a blessing to you.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
‘Come to the table, all are welcome…’
It was good to see so many gathered for our joint service last Sunday and to share Holy Communion together.
At coffee afterwards I am always struck by just how lovely it is to see so many people gathered to share refreshments, to chat, to hear laughter and to have a good catch up.
I often just stand at the edge of the room and look around, not that I am spying on you all! It is simply that I enjoy watching everyone come together and enjoy fellowship. It always brings a lump to my throat to be honest. It is a joy to see our three communities in one place.
To share Holy Communion together is not only a joy. Mother Teresa had a home for the destitute in Calcutta. As the sick and the dying were brought in off the streets, they were laid on beds in cubicles where sisters washed their bodies and tended their sores.
Above each bed was a sign in English fixed to the wall which said, ‘The Body of Christ’. There is a link between our sharing of Holy Communion, our call to be Christ’s body in the world and our service to others.
As Jesus says in the parable of the sheep and goats, “Just as you did it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40). To put it simply, if we can’t recognise the presence of Christ in the destitute and dying we are unlikely to recognise him in the breaking of bread.
The title ‘Holy Communion’ reminds us that we are not observers but participants, guest at the Lord’s table who feeds us spiritually with his body and blood.
We gather round the table to remember Christ’s sacrifice before being sent out as a ‘living sacrifice’ to live and work to God’s praise and glory. God invites us to his table as a foretaste of the heavenly banquet he has prepared for all his people.
We now have four young people who are going to be starting Confirmation classes very soon. Please do keep them in your prayers as they prepare for Confirmation and to join us at the Lord’s table.
Thank you to everyone who has asked about my bumps and bruises after my very inelegant fall last week, it is very kind of you. I’m left with a dodgy hand and arm which is making driving an interesting and eye watering experience! I’m slathering myself in Arnica gel at the moment for the bruising (which is fabulous, if you haven’t tried it I have it in litre bottles at home and will decant some for you). Trying to get hold of me is a bit like trying to get hold of a bar of soap in the bath, I’m covered in the stuff!
Next Saturday morning brings our Men’s breakfast in the Perranwell Centre. It is always one of my favourite events. Chris host and I put together, with wonderful help from our volunteers, a full English breakfast, toast, tea and coffee.
You do not have to attend church to join in and enjoy the company of others as well as the food.
We make no charge for this breakfast, it forms part of our giving to our churches and we love to be able to do this. We hope that it is a blessing to others as much as it is a blessing to Chris and I.
We will start serving at 9am, please let us know if you would like to book a meal. There is always plenty and we always have room for those who make a last minute decision to come.
Joining together after church for coffee, sharing breakfast and all of the many ways that we offer hospitality is a reflection of the fact that we learn how to be hospitable because God taught us to be at His Table.
It’s all about opening our doors and doing as Jesus did; he shared food and drink with others. He taught at dinner tables, he performed a miracle at a wedding, he invited the marginalised and excluded to share food and drink with him. He sat with those he loved and those that weren’t loved.
Food and drink are a common bond in his ministry, in mine and in the life of our churches. It’s all about sharing what we have with others and showing love. It’s not always about raising funds for our churches (although that may be a factor when appropriate), it’s simply about opening our doors and our hearts to our communities and sharing. By giving to others we give of ourselves and we reflect the love and teachings of Christ.
Times are hard and we never know when a piece of cake, a biscuit or a breakfast is appreciated as food for the body as well as the spirit. The point is that we aren’t always supposed to know. We never know what tiny seeds we sow when we show hospitality.
We are, in turn, fed by the body and blood of Christ during Holy Communion. It is our way of being recharged, to be fed spiritually and to come in communion with others, with our brothers and sisters. We share the Lord’s table in remembrance of Him. There is nothing automatic about this sacramental meal, this ‘outward and visible sign’ of God’s grace. We celebrate the hospitality of God for all that He has done for us in Christ, communing with our risen Lord and being renewed in the service of others. There is a rhythm to this worship: we are gathered and we are sent out. Holy Communion is rations for the journey of life. It is also a forecast of the banquet of heaven.
Please do keep checking our website for the new 2023 ‘Lent’ page and for news of all that is happening in our churches over the seasons of Lent and of Easter.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
‘I had a good trip…’
Whilst we were away last week Chris fired up the BBQ in the garden of the lodge that we were staying in. It was a very chilly evening but we wrapped up warm and enjoyed eating outside. After dinner I looked up at the sky and watched as stars popped out, one by one, until the ink black sky was full of them. I was reminded of Graham Kendrick’s worship song, ‘The Servant King’. There is a line in it that says, ‘Hands that flung stars into space’.
I’ve always loved that image. The whole verse talks of those hands that were able, during creation, to fling an array of beautiful stars into space are the same hands that were nailed to the cross. The chorus of the song goes on to say, ‘This is our God, The Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him. To bring our lives as a daily offering, of worship to The Servant King’.
“… to offer your bodies as living sacrifices…”
“Offering our bodies” was Paul’s way of explaining that as a redeemed people, we surrender our lives back to Jesus in thanksgiving for all He has done.
Jesus offered Himself as a onetime, for all time, single sacrifice and atoned for all our sin. There is nothing we can add to this. The only thing to “do” is to believe and trust in Him.
God doesn’t need us to sacrifice for Him. He does, however, give us the opportunity to sacrifice as a “living” way to express our love and gratitude for all He has done.
But why even give us the opportunity?
Think about the sacrifices we make. Are you the Mum who eats the burnt piece of toast? Maybe you are the friend who goes all out creating a perfect party or get together. Are you the teacher who stays after school to get those lessons exactly right for their students?
We frequently make sacrifices of our time, money, and energy to show our love and care for others. We turn our love and care into action.
God is giving us an outlet for us to do the same for Him. He NEEDS nothing, but we express our love for Him through our living sacrifices to Him. Considering God’s tremendous love and mercy, what should our response look like?
A living sacrifice must have sounded odd to those who were hearing Paul’s words too. They were used to bringing a live animal to the priest who would kill the animal as the sacrifice; atoning for their sin.
Paul says because of Christ, we no longer have to bring a sacrifice, we become one. We’re not a burnt offering, we are a living one!
We come before God and offer our complete self in gratitude and thanksgiving. We offer all the parts of our bodies- eyes, ears, lips, hands, feet, heart, mind, etc.- in service to Him and doing His will.
Full surrender to God can be difficult. We want freedom and control of certain parts of our lives. The things we say, look at, and listen to are not always in His will. Our ambitions and possessions can become more important to us. We don’t always want to sacrifice; we walk away.
This is where our hearts and minds come in. Offering ourselves as living sacrifices is to choose daily to lay down our own desires and to live our lives honouring and obeying Him. It is trusting in the perfect plans He has for us.
God has given us the best resources to achieve our goal- His written Word and the Holy Spirit! Paul continues in verse 2, telling us to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That transformation is to include our entire body; beginning in the mind. The more time spent in His Word, the greater the transformation.
The Holy Spirit lives within to convict and guide us. The more you know of Him, the greater His voice rings out. To be a living sacrifice is to desire to belong entirely to Him. He knows our human weakness will interfere with our best intentions- always. That’s when we trust in His grace, mercy, and forgiveness and begin anew.
We had a good trip until the day we came back to Cornwall. It was then that I had a bigger trip… I tripped up a kerb after getting out of the car. My body overtook my legs and momentum took me forward and I was unable to save myself. I landed unceremoniously with a crunch onto gravel. I sat up to see Chris’ horrified face as he took in the state of mine. We have a car full of tissues but in his concern Chris could only find a large yellow microfibre cloth to stop the bleeding! As he was searching the car I looked down to see my little finger sticking out at a very odd angle from my hand. Well, dear reader, I thought that it had to go back from whence it came and popped it back into place. Much eye watering ensued!
As God’s providence would have it, we were visiting an ex nurse. She came out and checked me over and I hauled myself to my feet. I have a black eye that makes me look like I have gone a few rounds with Frank Bruno and a very sore hand and arm but it could have been a lot worse. I certainly didn’t bounce like I would have done years ago!
It wasn’t the end of our trip that we had been expecting but we came away from the ‘trip’ incident with our new puppy, Marnie. She is a delight. Marnie is a Bulldog puppy with lots of wrinkles already in place! Once she had had her second round of jabs she will be coming out and about with me as Willow does.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed and mind out for those little kerbs!
‘I’m here in spirit, if not in body…’
By the time you read this Chris and I, along with the dog, will be on holiday. We may well be tramping though the forest or perhaps Chris will have fired up the BBQ and we may be enjoying a meal ‘al fresco’ (wrapped up in coats and scarves!). As I have said before Chris doesn’t take much persuading to light up the BBQ and cook outdoors. I am sure that it is something primeval: ‘man, food, fire’.
On Sunday evening I will take off my clerical collar for a week and on Monday we head ‘up country’. I may take off my collar but I never stop being a Priest. It is a role that one inhabits and becomes a way of life. In fact, it is life.
Being a ‘Parson’, God’s Person, doesn’t stop just because I am not with you. The collar may be off, the laptop left at home but who I am and the life that Ordination has bestowed upon me doesn’t stop. I will relax and ‘switch off’, that’s only right and proper, but I don’t ‘become’ someone else for a week.
I was thinking about what exactly I mean by that this week. I just couldn’t put my finger on it to be honest. I was Ordained in 2018. I can remember what life was like before that date but I can’t really recall what I was like, which feels a little odd. Fundamentally I am the same person but being a Priest has changed me. As I said before, I inhabit the life of a Priest but it has also become everything that I am, alongside my own personality and nature. God somehow graciously allows a change, a growth and an expansion from the inside out. He also accepts my faults, quirks (and there are many of them!) and frailties and works through me with them. It’s a hugely humbling process and one that I never take for granted.
The care, concerns and love for those I serve doesn’t change or stop, not even for a week. However, I am looking forward to a change of scenery, some time away with Chris and the dog and to having some good long walks in a forest.
It’s an opportunity to relax, refresh and revive, which is important. Having pneumonia over Christmas and New Year knocked the stuffing out of me to be honest. I confess, dear reader, that I am not a good patient! In fact, I am an impatient patient! It has taken a lot of wrestling and arguing with God about having to rest and accept that I need to recover.
Believe me, I have had some really doozies of arguments with God recently and that is fine. It’s healthy to be able to rail at God once in a while and lament. You only have to read the Psalms and hear David’s anguish and lamenting at God to know that it is part of a healthy relationship with The Father to do just that.
I have to remind myself that everything comes in God’s time and not in our own time frames. I was told by a friend once that it was dangerous to ask God to teach patience because He will give you exactly what you ask for! There is something about humility in being able to wait for God’s time and not to do things in our own time. As much as I may roll my eyes and mutter under my breath God isn’t going to be told when to act. He knows what is best for each of us and when.
That’s the marvellous thing, or just one of them, about God. He accepts and understands our human nature and, if we allow Him, to work through us and to bring out the very best in us. The trick is getting over our own human nature and allowing him to!
There is also a freedom is ‘letting go and letting God’. Letting go and letting God is a daily, moment-by-moment choice. Like every discipline in life, we need to learn to surrender and give it to God. The enemy seeks every new day to cloud our minds with worries, doubts, and fears.
To let go and let God becomes a lifestyle of daily giving it all to Him. God’s mercies are new every morning, so what happened yesterday, last year or a decade ago is completely gone. Carrying the past around will only take up space for God’s goodness, grace, and favour. Renewing our minds in Christ means letting go of all the burdens He died to take from us.
Once I get back from my holiday there is a lot going on as we approach Lent and Easter, which is early this year. Here are some dates to put into your diary now:
4th February - Men’s Breakfast at 9am in the West Room of the Perranwell Centre. I am donning my apron again and cook a full English Breakfast with tea.coffee and toast. If you would like to join us please book a space on the forms in the churches or call Chris on 01872 276 357. There is no charge for this meal.
5th February - Bishop Hugh will be leading the service of Holy Communion at St Piran’s Church at 10am.
19th February - Our Celtic Service of Worship will be a family service followed by pancakes at Devoran Parish Church at 3pm. All welcome. Don’t eat too much lunch as there will be a selection of pancakes and toppings to enjoy!
February 22nd - Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent). There will be a Holy Communion service with the imposition of ashes at 7pm in Devoran Parish Church. All welcome.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed. I look forward to seeing you all agin once I have prized Chris away from the BBQ and the dog out of the forest…
Yours in Christ
Escaping to the forest and coming back for a new member of the family…’
Before I forget and get carried away with other thoughts and ideas, which I have a wont to do as I have a bit of a ‘butterfly’ mind…
I would like to talk about Confirmation. Confirmation is a special church service in which a person confirms the promises that were made when they were baptised. If you were baptised at a christening when you were a child, your parents and godparents made these promises on your behalf.
As a young person or adult, you may be ready to affirm these promises for yourself and commit your life to following Jesus Christ. At a confirmation service, you make these promises for yourself. Your friends and family as well as the local Christian community will be there to promise to support and pray for you.
Our Bishop will lay their hands on your head and ask God’s Holy Spirit to give you the strength and commitment to live God’s way for the rest of your life.
If you feel strongly for yourself that confirmation is right for you at this point in your life, it’s likely that it is. Pray about this and ask others in your church to pray for you. Do come and talk to me too, and even if you are unsure about being confirmed, you may wish to participate in the confirmation course to help you think about it.
Confirmation classes will be starting soon so if you, or someone you know, would like to come along do let me know.
Chris and I are on annual leave for a week staring on 16th January and we return on 24th. We are taking the dog up to Wiltshire for a break in the forest. We love to walk and we intend to get out into the woods and walk our little legs off. Well, the dog and I have short legs and try to keep up with Chris’ strides! In this particular forest there are giant redwoods. I like to stand and look up, the trees towering above me. It’s a good place to get in touch with nature and ‘reset’.
The trees remind me that, as much as they tower above my head, their roots go deep down into the soil. I have an oak tree painted onto my white stole, the image showing what is growing above ground as well as the roots underneath. It reminds me that we need to put good roots down in order to flourish and stand rooted in our faith. There’s as much going on underground as there is above it.
When we return from our holiday we will be picking up a new member of our family. Marnie the English Bulldog puppy will be joining us. She will be a playmate for our Willow, the pug, who is always looking for other dogs to play with. Marnie will be 8 weeks old when we collect her so she won’t be coming out to work with me for a while yet. We have been to visit her and her Mum was a very friendly and gentle dog who enjoyed a bit of fuss. Little Marnie sat on Chris’ chest and had a good lick of his beard, that sealed the deal for him! Marnie, like all pups, will need to be socialised. If you are up for some puppy cuddling after she has had her jabs you would be very welcome!
Chris and I don’t have any children so our animals are a big part of our family. Willow comes everywhere with us and we are blessed that Cornwall is so dog friendly. She is able to come along to cafes, into shops and onto most beaches, which is good as she does like to be apart of whatever we are doing!
Please do keep in your prayers the leaders of our new craft session for children in Perranarworthal, which began on Sunday 8th January and will continue on the second Sunday of each month. Thanks to all of our volunteers who have such a heart for the gospel and for children’s ministry.
Our next Men’s Breakfast is booked for 4th February at the Perranwell Centre. We begin serving breakfast at 9am. Whether you come to church or not you would be very welcome to join us. Our breakfasts are always full of chat, laughter and food. There is no charge for your breakfast, just let Chris know (01872 276 357) that you would like to book one. I will be manning the stove and donning my apron to cook a full English breakfast with toast, tea and coffee on offer.
Whatever your week holds, I hope that it is blessed.
Yours in Christ
‘I have a confession, oh baubles….’
I have a confession to make dear reader… I avoid taking the Christmas decorations down. I love having the tree, all of the sparkly bits and bobs and fairy lights around the house. We have always taken the decs down on 12th night and the house always looks so bare, denuded of it’s festive twinkle and traditional red, gold and green. Christmas actually continues until candlemas so there is no reason to take the decorations down until then. I am sorely tempted to keep them up….
I find it quite sad when I start to take the baubles off the tree and pack them away for another year. As I pack them away I always think of all of the things that I am grateful for that happened over Christmas and wonder what will have happened during the year when I unpack them again come December.
We always leave candles out and some kind of decoration until Candlemas. On February 2nd this year, all for etc candle that will be used in the church in the coming year are blessed and congregations are invited to bring their own candles so that they can be used in the home for prayer throughout the year.
It also marks the the ritual presentation of the baby Jesus to God in the temple at Jerusalem. The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus was met by the faithful Anna and Simeon.
As I write this ‘Hi a war glaw’ (I’m working on my Cornish…). Its not just raining, it’s, as we would have said in Essex ‘chucking it down’. I have to head out later but I’m not looking forward to getting a drenching. I’ve had pneumonia since before Christmas and I am still wheezing like an old pair of bellows at times. Not one to give in easily to illness I was reminded of a piece of scripture during my morning prayers. Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Jesus doesn’t expect us to push ourselves beyond our capacity, however guilty we may feel about taking time out. He simply invites us to ‘come to me’ for a good rest. He invites us to find our rest in Him. Whether you are still feeling a bit frazzled after the festivities or are feeling under the weather, I am sure that you could do with putting your feet up and getting some extra sleep. We can take the time to rest in humble gratitude and gladly receive his invitation. It’s not something that I find easy to do and I my prayer has been that I can also take my own advice and to take that scripture into my own heart.
I am aware that there are a good few people who have had Covid over the Christmas period. You have been in my prayers and I wish you all a speedy and full recovery. Everywhere you go there seems to be people with the hacking cough that is doing the rounds.
This Sunday we celebrate Epiphany. Epiphany - also known as Three Kings' Day - is a Christian festival, which starts on 6 January. It is a special date in the Christmas story as it is when we celebrate how a star led the Magi - also known as the wise men or three kings - to visit the baby Jesus after he was born.
‘Epiphany’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘to reveal’, as it when Jesus was ‘revealed’ to the world. The word epiphany means appearance or manifestation. Popular usage likens epiphany to words such as eureka or aha!
Use of this word conjures images of having a light bulb turned on, or of being able to see something that was once hidden from view. The texts for the Sundays after the Epiphany dramatise the many ways that we people came to understand who Jesus was, through his baptism, the miracle at the wedding, or through that declaration in his hometown synagogue. But, this ever-widening circle of revelation began 'outside the circle' of Judaism, so to speak, with the Magi.
In this coming year, may we look to heaven for guidance and comfort and may we accept God's blessings in whatever forms we find them, just as the Wise Men accepted that their long, expensive journey led them to a baby born to young, inexperienced parents who lived on the poor side of town.
On This Twelfth Day, or Three Kings Day, otherwise known as Epiphany, think of the gift that you may offer to God in the coming year. The gift of time? The gift of your talents? Your service in the community? Your witness and testimony? The gift of undying love and devotion?
Their greatest gift comes to us in the form of a realisation. The Wise Men were the first Gentiles to recognise that Jesus belongs to everyone. Good news is for everyone, not just a select few.
‘Star of wonder
Star of light
Star with royal beauty bright
Guide us to thy perfect light.’
Whatever your week brings, may it be blessed
‘There’s still mince pies to be eaten…it’s still Christmas’
The Christmas season does not end until 8th January. It is still Christmas and yes you can eat mince pies and finish the Quality Street with impunity.
Christmas proved to be a very full and busy one for all of our churches. On Christmas Eve we began with a Live Nativity in Devoran Churchyard with a cast of Nativity Characters, carols singing and the delightful Stan the small white horse. Over 100 people gathered to meet the characters and to hear their stories of the night that Jesus was born. The actors were magnificent and everyone had a wonderful afternoon.
To hear 100 voices gently singing Away in a Manger in church was incredibly moving. We met again at 9.30pm for our Eucharist service. I must confess that I was flagging a little by then as I have pneumonia but a couple of paracetamol and a ham sandwich, courtesy of Chris, soon picked me up.
St Feock held their Christingle service on Christmas Eve, led by Nina, and a Eucharist Service on Christmas Eve. It was good to be gathered and to share bread and wine as Christmas Eve drew to a close.
St Piran’s Crib service at 5pm on Christmas Eve was attended by 90 folk, some of whom came dressed for the occasion. Much congregation participation ensued and the children looked for the baby Jesus to place in the crib. I was told by one young person that the baby should face Mary as she had just given birth to him and needed to keep an eye on him. Good point!
We have so much to be grateful for and to build upon from these services. We had visiting families as well as local families join us who don’t usually come to church. It was a wonderful opportunity to share the message of the birth of Christ in a way that was contextual and that touched minds and hearts. My prayer is that we welcomed all and encouraged further enquiry and visits to our churches. It’s easy to get out of the habit of coming to church and engaging with what our faith is all about. We have the harder task of getting folk back into the habit!
There is an exciting new monthly event happening in St. Piran's Church hall on Sunday 8th January. A brand new Art and Craft session is starting. From 2.30 until 4.30pm volunteers will be hosting this session for children aged between 5 and 11 years. This new initiative follows on from the successful Advent and Easter craft sessions that were held. Prayers would be appreciated for this new initiative and for all of the young people who will attend and for the volunteers. If you would like to book a place please contact Paul Stuart on 07929022143. More details are on the website.
Devoran Church will be closed on Sunday 22nd and 29th January, for works to be completed. A new heating system will be installed in time and the old heating system needs to be removed. The churches of St Piran and St Feock will be welcoming congregation members for worship on 22nd and we will be having our fifth Sunday benefice service at St Piran’s on 29th. All services remain at 10am on each of these Sundays, as usual.
Many thanks to all of those who have been involved in the hard work in the faculty and organising of the new heating system. It has taken many hours of hard work and time to get to this stage.
I hope that you had a good Christmas and you were able to find time to rest. Our Advent course involved taking time in prayer, reading and study enabling us to really engage with the season of Advent. Our last session ended with mince pies and mulled wine and thank you to all those who attended our sessions and to Paul for teaching one of the sessions.
The New calendar year is almost upon us. Without wishing to sound like a curmudgeon I am not keen on waiting up for midnight on New Year’s Eve, I never have been and resolutions put way too much pressure upon those who make them. I always think of all of those people who torture themselves with new faddy diets and gym memberships that lie fallow by the end of February!
However, ‘bah humbug’ aside for a moment, the new year does afford us time to reflect upon the year that has been and look towards a fresh beginning. This year has been hard for many people and I pray that all those who have struggled find peace in all aspects of their lives.
I pray that 2023 is a happy, healthy year for you and that it is richly blessed.
Yours in Christ
‘Carols, Sermons, three gifts and a small horse called Stan…’
I’m writing this listening to Classic FM (other radio stations are available) and they are playing some beautiful Christmas Music. If you have a chance, do listen to Bryn Terfel’s rendition of ‘Still, Still, Still’. If you need a piece of music that will stop you in your tracks and give you a moment of calm this is it.
This week is going to be busy for all three of our churches as we approach Christmas. I have been invited to be the author of the @OurCofELike Twitter page this week. It is a wonderful opportunity to share what we are about and what we are all doing as we journey towards Christmas. If you are on Twitter, do go and have a look and join in.
If you find that celebrating Christmas is difficult, for whatever reason, our Blue Christmas Service on Wednesday evening may help. At 7pm at St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal Anne Ramsden and I will be leading a quiet, reflective service of gentle carols, prayer and reflection. All welcome. It is an opportunity to celebrate Christmas but in a more contemplative way that I pray will provide comfort and solace.
Our Advent course concludes with our last session on Friday at 2pm at The Devoran Parish Centre. If you haven’t been to any of the sessions, it matters not. All materials are provided and we will be enjoying mince pies and mulled wine afterwards.
I do hope that you have been able to take some time out from Christmas preparations to observe Advent through prayer, reading and reflection. Our weeks’ of waiting will end on Sunday morning as we celebrate the birth of Jesus in each of our churches.
On Christmas Eve at 3pm in the Devoran churchyard (weather permitting) Stan (a small white horse) will be joining us for our Live Nativity. Never work with children and animals an actor once said. Well, we are hoping to prove that statement wrong as children, adults and Stan tell the Nativity Story on a walk through the churchyard. We will end up back in the church (perhaps not Stan at this point…) for the blessing of the crib. Please wrap up warm and bring a torch. If the weather is inclement we will be heading into the church.
There are plenty of opportunities to come along to church throughout the Christmas Eve in our churches:
3pm - Devoran Live Nativity. We will meet at the porch door.
5pm - St Piran’s Crib Service
7pm - St Feock church Service of Holy Communion
9.30pm - Devoran Service of Holy Communion.
On Christmas morning at 10am all of our churches will be holding services. In Devoran Archdeacon Paul will be leading a service of Holy Communion. In Feock Jenny Kemp will be leading a Service of the Word and in Perranarworthal I will be leading a service of Holy Communion. You are warmly invited to celebrate the hope and joy of Christmas, do bring visiting family and friends with you, they would be very welcome.
Why should we go to church at Christmas? Well, without sounding too obvious, it’s my job! But why should you go to church?
Because Christmas is about Jesus, and that's it. Despite what our culture says or what you may think, Christmas is only about Jesus. Yes, we gather together with friends and family at this time of year, and we exchange gifts and eat Christmas dinners, but none of those things are what Christmas is all about. Those things are all good, and when understood correctly they point us to Jesus, but they are not the focus of this holiday. Christmas is only and all about Jesus. If we are tempted to put Jesus on pause so we have enough time for the cultural aspects of Christmas, we've simply missed the point. It’s all too tempting to have a lie in (if the children let you!), enjoy a leisurely breakfast and get the turkey in the oven. Don’t let our culture tempt you from taking your focus from where it should be.
I hope to see you there, this Sunday.
Chris and I wish you all of the peace and joy of the Christmas Season.
‘If only there were 36 hours in every day…!’
However long I am in ministry for, the weeks leading up to Christmas seem to catch me unawares. Time seems to pass at double quick time and there are always little jobs to do that need to be squeezed in somewhere during the week.
‘If only there were 36 hours in every day’ I mutter under my breath on regular occasions. But wait, hold on a minute dear reader… haven’t we all been talking about taking time out to make time for our Advent observances? I find myself guilty of squeezing extra jobs into my day, working later into the evening and then nodding off in the chair (I’m only resting my eyes…).
I have found myself apologising to God in prayer for getting caught up in the busyness of the season. On more that one occasion I have had to ‘reset’ my day to make sure that I carve the time out for Advent reading and prayer. Thank goodness that we have a forgiving God who knows all of our faults and that we are ‘triers’.
Getting to church for a lot of people was a bit of an icy and slippery experience on Sunday. Thank you to everyone who made church possible, it wasn’t easy I know. Our LLM Jane walked from her home in Bissoe to Devoran in order to lead the service. Many thanks to Adrian who started the service and to everyone who came out to worship in such difficult weather.
Sadly, due to the inclement weather we had to cancel our parishes festive afternoon tea. It was just too slippery to have folk walking and driving in Perranarworthal.
Last Saturday Chris and I hosted our mulled wine and mince pies ‘thank you’ get together for our church volunteers. It was a lovely afternoon; lots of chat and laughter as people caught up with one another over a glass of something festive and warming.
It was an opportunity for me to thank our volunteers for all that they have done during this year. It has not been a easy one and I wouldn’t be able to do my job without their support and dedication. The joy of the afternoon was to see volunteers coming together and enjoying each others’ company. One of the strengths of the Waterside Churches is the support for one another and our ministries that is growing and developing. The renewal of old friendships and the making of new ones is a real bonus.
Devoran School KS2 are coming to Devoran church on Wednesday afternoon for their Carol Service. Families will be coming along to join in our service and to see the students reading and singing. We are certainly going to be a very full church, which is always a challenge but a very welcome one!
Our Advent course continues on Friday afternoon at 2pm in the Devoran Parish Centre. All welcome, do come along and join us. All materials are provided so you don’t need to bring anything along. All of the preparatory reading is on line on the website’s ‘Advent’ page.
This is my second attempt at writing Karen’s Corner today. Since I started to write this early this morning the day has taken a funny old twist. I left Devoran church and stopped at Iceland in Truro for a bit of shopping. Got back into my little car and it wouldn’t start. Phoned the RAC… I hung on… and on… and on…. I sent up a prayer for help. Just at that moment I realised that I was next door to one of our local Funeral Directors, Beswetherick’s. I popped over and Simon very kindly brought out his jump starter pack and got the car going again. Trying to get a battery fitted before tomorrow evening’s Carol Service has been this afternoon’s challenge! Thanks to Ferris’ in Feock I will be all set with a new battery tomorrow morning.
Now I am hours behind with my work but that in itself brings me back to my first line… ‘if only there were 36 hours in every day’. A bit of rescheduling jiggery pokery will ensue but I need to remember to take time with God in prayer and to give thanks for good, helpful local people.
Whatever your week holds may it be blessed
‘Ho Ho Ho…’
As I write this I am looking across at Chris who is decked out in a very festive Christmas shirt, topped off with an even more festive cardigan. He is festooned in a concoction of Christmas trees, gingerbread men, candy canes and even Brussel sprouts! I may have to don sunglasses to even look at him!
Mind you, I am wearing a sparkly jumper with a reindeer on it and fairy light earrings, it can only mean one thing…. The Christingle Craft Morning in Devoran. Young families joined us to make decorated cup cakes, festive lanterns and stained glass decorations. We read the Nativity story and then came the 12 Days of Christmas singing challenge! Everyone joined in and took one of the 12 days to sing at the appropriate point int he song. Mandy, Adrian and Chris gave us a resounding ‘5 gold rings’! Our volunteers worked hard to make it a fun filled morning for all of our families.
The theme continues with our Waterside Churches Festive Afternoon Tea on 11th December at 3pm in the Perranarworthal Church Hall. All parishioners are invited to come along and to enjoy some festive nibbles, mulled wine and a good ‘get together’. Chris and I will be hosting and we look forward to you joining us.
There will be more mulled wine and mince pies on offer at our ‘Thank you to our Volunteers’ event. This will take place at the Devoran Parish Centre on Saturday 10th December at 2pm. If you volunteer in our churches in any way at all, do come along. It is an opportunity for me to thank you in person and another excuse for a ‘get together’! The churches could not do all of our mission, ministry and outreach without our wonderful volunteers.
We held our first session of our Advent Course on Friday afternoon. We enjoyed discussing the ‘unexpected Jesus’, sharing our thoughts and hopes. Our next session will be held in the Devoran Parish Centre at 2pm on Friday 9th December. All materials are provided, you would be very welcome to join us.
Please do keep checking the dedicated Advent page on the website which will have all of the course materials posted on it. It will also be updated regularly with Advent reflections, prayers and information. I do hope that you are managing to get some time out to spend quietly as we wait for the birth for the Christ Child. I know that it is tricky at such a busy time. However, we are given this precious time of waiting before Christmas, let's use some of it with God.
On Thursday 1st December the family and friends of the late Mr Bruce Rhind gathered in St Feock church for his funeral. Moving tributes were given by his daughters.
Friday evening brought a packed church in Devoran for a candlelight concert by Will Keating and John Dowling. Many members of the local community joined us as we sang along to some Cornish favourites. Mulled wine was served during the interval and everyone had a wonderful evening. Thank you to Anne our Churchwarden and all of our volunteers for making it such a memorable occasion.
On 24th `December at 3pm in Devoran churchyard we will be holding our ‘Live Nativity’. You will have the opportunity to ‘meet’ characters from the Nativity as they tell us their story of that incredible night. Volunteers have come forward to play our characters and we will be singing carols as we wend our way down the church path. Once we get back into church I will be blessing our Crib. The thespians of Devoran have risen to the occasion and it will be an event not to be missed! Put the date into your diaries.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
Happy New Year!
Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent and our liturgical colour changed from green (ordinary time) to purple. We start to follow Year A in the lectionary.
Our Advent wreaths were lit and in St Piran’s we sang ‘O Come O Come Immanuel’. Paul has set up a dedicated Advent page on the website for us. Do keep an eye on this page, I will be regularly updating it so that we can follow the season together, ‘in hope and light’.
At St Piran’s Paul spoke to us about Advent and gave us some beautiful insights into the season which we could all take away and reflect upon. This was the second time that Paul had given us a talk in the ‘Sermon Slot’. It is always good to hear others’ thoughts on The Word. It gives us all another perspective and we can all learn something new from others.
Last week I was on annual leave. I had a few days at home to catch up on some reading. I also like to ‘spring clean’ the house (I know it’s winter but I can’t think of a suitably wintery cleaning term!) before putting up the decorations. Chris and I love the preparations for Christmas and have some traditions that we always follow. We also like to start new traditions and this year we have decided to toast marshmallows on an open fire in the garden (safely in the fire pit!). There will also be some chestnuts roasting on a open fire, as Nat King Cole once sang. I used to roast chestnuts with my Dad and haven’t done it since he died almost eleven years ago.
Dad had his own Christmas preparation tradition. He would take himself off alone and choose personal gifts for his family. Mum was a very practical Christmas shopper (all of the things that you used and needed) but Dad was the master of the personal gift.
I still have a red woollen shawl that he bought me years ago. It was made in Scotland (where his family originated) and is toasty warm. I wear it in the winter when I am reading or at my desk and it reminds me of him. The last Christmas gift he gave Chris was a beautiful fob watch. Chris collects watches (and lots of other ‘gadgety’ things which I do not understand..) and he loves it.
Dad had a knack for choosing the right gift. He knew his family well and would gift each of us something that he knew we would treasure. It was quite the art.
On Tuesday morning I will be interring the ashes of the late Lt Col Johnnie Dallow in the churchyard of St Feock church. I have had the privilege of conducting the funeral and memorial service of the late Lt Col Dallow and have got to know his wife, Cariad. May I ask that you please keep Cariad and her daughter Demelza in your prayers.
On Wednesday night the late Mr Bruce Rhind will rest in St Feock church overnight before his funeral on Thursday afternoon. The church will be closed from 4pm on Wednesday afternoon and will reopen after the service in Thursday afternoon. Again, your prayers for Bruce’s family would be appreciated.
Our Advent course begins on Friday afternoon at 2pm at the Devoran Parish Centre. All welcome, do please join us as we learn about the ‘Unexpected Jesus’.
On Saturday morning between 10am and Noon children are invited to bring along a grown up to the Devoran Christmas Craft Morning in the Parish Centre. There will be lots of ‘crafty’ activities, Christingles will be made and refreshments will be on hand to keep us all going. We will also be reading the Nativity Story together. It will be a fun morning for all of the family, do join us.
On Sunday afternoon at 3pm Devoran will be holding their Christingle Service. Always a great service for all of the family, you are very welcome to join us. Exact some congregation participation, much singing and you can eat the sweet treats on you Christingle afterwards!
Whatever you week holds, enjoy some time to connect with the Advent Season and have a break from the Christmas preparations for a while.
Last week was a busy one for our volunteers.
Thank you to everyone who helped to make our events successful and for reaching out into our communities and drawing people into our church buildings.
On Saturday Devoran held its Christmas Coffee Morning. Much baking had been done and there were prizes galore in the Grand Raffle. The event brought people into the parish centre for a wonderful morning. Christmas definitely felt as if it was on the way! Over £700 was raised, a fabulous effort.
On Sunday Tim Rogers and his very ‘crafty’ team welcomed 14 children to the Perranarworthal Church hall for an afternoon of Christmas Craft. The children stuck in with scissors, glue and tissue paper to create some beautiful craftwork to take home. A great afternoon was had by all. Thank you to Tim, Chris and the team for all of their hard work.
None of these events can take place without the hard work and commitment of our volunteers who have such a huge heart for spreading the Good News.
On Sunday things slowed down a bit as we came together for our Celtic Service of Worship in Devoran. This reflective service turned our hearts and minds towards Advent. Please keep checking our new dedicated Advent page on the website for updates. I will be updating there page regularly and it will provide resources to help us to pray, reflect, learn and share over the Advent Season.
I’ve been thinking a lot in the advent season this year that there’s someone who is absolutely central to the coming of God into the world that we kind of see, but we don’t really hear, and it’s Mary; her voice, her wisdom, her theological insight, her praise, her reaction to the events. All of this is recorded for us. God purposefully positioned a young woman with a front-row seat for his coming into this world in Jesus. I feel we’ve got a lot to learn from Mary’s voice.
I don’t know if you know that traditionally Luke’s gospel has been held to draw heavily on Mary’s perspective. She’s the primary source of his information. And that’s why Luke is able to give us such an intimate account of how the birth of Jesus came to be in his gospel. Mary’s voice and perspective has been preserved for us.
Imagine being a young woman – no more than a teenager - in a poor, forgotten, occupied corner of a world empire.
That is who Mary was.
And Mary is the one who God chose to be the mother of Jesus.
Mary is the one who got to be the fulfilment of the promise to Eve that her seed – a woman’s seed - would crush the serpent’s head. (Gen 3:15)
Mary is the one who got to witness the fulfilment of the promise to Isaiah
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign; The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
An ordinary, young, poor, oppressed woman gets to play a significant, breakthrough role in the redemption of the world. Evil will be crushed and defeated through her seed. Her body will play a part in showing the world that Jesus really is Immanuel – God with us.
This tells us something really powerful about our God. By positioning Mary in this way God shows us what kind of person is a gospel witness, teacher and example. It is no mistake that a woman gets to be a part of his plans, and that her voice, her questions, her fears, her actions and her obedience matter.
When Mary is told that she will bear this child she asks a reasonable question – “how can this be since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
Mary is a real person – a person with a voice and an understanding of human biology and a person with questions and fears.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
Mary’s response is breathtaking: “I am the Lord’s servant may your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38)
This is how God works in our world. The power of the Holy Spirit and the obedience and faith of ordinary people.
In this advent season let’s be encouraged by the simple but astonishing faith of a young woman. Why not meditate on Mary’s response, on her humility and her willingness to participate in God’s plan. We are being asked to think about the truth that nothing is impossible with God.
“May it be to me as you have said.” Thank you Father, for Mary’s faithfulness and willingness to be the mother of Jesus. Thank you for her example to us of Christian obedience. Help me to be faithful to you in every arena of my life – intellectually, vocationally, with my finances, my family, my body and my whole heart. I am your servant Lord – may your word to me be fulfilled today.” For Jesus’ sake, Amen.
Next Sunday we will be lighting the first candle on our Advent wreaths. Please keep checking the website for our special Advent pages. My hope and prayer is that we us this time to spend time in prayer and to reflect upon the coming of Jesus. Wherever we are across our communities we can be joined together as we journey together through Advent, paying attention to ‘waiting in hope’.
I am taking some time off this week (from Monday 21st November until Saturday 26th November). I will be taking a few days to do some reading and spend time in prayer. It has been a difficult few months and I haven’t been able to shake off a cough. My cold has had more comebacks than Elvis did!
Chris and I will be celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary on 26th. Apparently, we should be giving each other gifts of steel. I don’t know that we shall be giving one another cutlery or knives, neither are particularly romantic! However, like the properties of steel, we offer one another great strength and support. Unlike steel, Chris’ support never corrodes and I am always grateful for his humour, love and guidance. 11 years ago we lived in Essex, I worked in a secondary academy and we had no idea of God’s plans for us on that chilly November afternoon!
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
The Vicar is sounding the Advent Claxon… Prepare yourselves!
In two weeks’ time we will be lighting the first candle on the Advent wreath in our churches and the season of Advent will have begun.
How did this happen? Surely it was only last week that we were on the beach slathered in sun tan lotion! Well dear reader, the season of Advent is almost upon us. I am very firmly in the camp of Advent being a season, not just the time that we count down to the BIG DAY. Advent is a precious time of preparation that we should dive into and enjoy wallowing in. It is rich in tradition and gives us permission to spend ‘time out’ in.
I know that, in reality, it is the time that we rush around doing our Christmas shopping, we bake mince pies and freeze them, we stuff the turkey, we write cards, we send cards, we plan, we wrap and we fill stockings… and our time is FULL.
What I want to say this week is that we need to take time to immerse ourselves fully into the Advent season. It’s important for our faith, it’s important for us to prepare ourselves spiritually for Christmas. I know, I know, you may be saying that your Vicar has lost the plot, doesn’t she know that the build up to Christmas is soooo busy? I get it, it’s pretty busy around here too and we all have things to do. However, I’m asking to stop and to think about the following for a few minutes.
What I would like us all to do is to share the season of Advent together. The last few months have been difficult for many of us. I would like to invite you to come together with me and to really focus in on the true meaning of the Advent season.
I’d like us to journey through the weeks of Advent together; learning (more about the Advent Course coming soon, watch this space and the website), worshipping together and praying together. The most important part of this journey is being together; in love, in fellowship and with a common purpose.
I’d like for us to put differences aside and to focus on the most important aspect of Advent, the coming of Jesus into the world to heal, to redeem and to save. Know that I have said this before and I apologise for repeating myself but it really is all about love. We profess that we are Christians so let’s allow the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us and focus on our commonality.
Nothing else is more important.
The Advent season is a four week period before Christmas that celebrates the anticipation and coming of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The origin of "advent" is from the Latin word adventus which simply translates "coming" or "arrival". Not only is the Christian meaning for preparation and celebration of the coming of Jesus Christ, his birth at Christmas, but also to celebrate the new life when someone accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior, and lastly, the anticipation of Jesus returning again.
There are beautiful and rich traditions behind the celebration of Advent.
May you find time to slow down this Christmas season, say "no" to the things that distract you from Jesus and say "yes" to the gift that God wants you to experience.
But the season of Advent deserves our attention. It’s a gift before the rest of the gifts start flowing, an invitation to slow down and prepare ourselves for the Savior, whose birth we will soon be remembering and celebrating once again.
Making Advent meaningful is all about what happens before it even begins. Here are some things you can do right now to help ensure that the weeks leading up to Christmas are sacred and joyful for you and your loved ones:
1. Be prepared. Set the date of 27th November in your diary. Set aside time to spend on reflection, to read scripture and to pray.
I know, this probably seems impossible. And let’s face it, it’s hard to go there when the Christmas shopping hasn’t been finished. If we set a date in our diary to focus upon, to be intentional about Advent, it will make it easier to set some time aside. Make it a priority which will give you more energy to devote to what Advent is supposed to be about—prayer, being present and peacefully preparing for the great feast of Christmas.
2. Pick no more than three Advent traditions this year and stick to them.
It’s tempting to want to do it all, but that’s a recipe for crazy-making. Decide which three activities are best for you and your family this year and commit to them. Gather the supplies you need. It’s no fun running around at the last-minute trying to find candles for your Advent wreath—or looking for them two weeks after Advent has begun. Whatever the traditions are going to be, get a head start on them.
3. Commit to spiritual reading this Advent.
Even if reading time for you these days amounts to little more than noticing the ingredients on your mince meat recipe, you can probably still find 10 minutes before going to bed, or first thing in the morning for an Advent reflection, a passage of Scripture or a spiritual memoir.
If you need more prompting and encouragement, consider signing up for some inspirational messages that will come straight to your computer or smartphone, such as the C of E ‘Follow The Star’. Our Advent book this year id ‘Unexpected Jesus’ by Anna Robbins. It will form the basis of our Advent Course.
4. Create a prayer space in your home.
The season of prayerful waiting is a perfect time to set up a prayer space. Pick a corner of a room or little nook somewhere. I know someone who set one up in a wardrobe (don’t ask, they had many children)… Even if all you have is a window sill, or the surface of a table or a shelf, creating a focus for prayer and reflection will help draw your heart and mind to the themes of Advent. Icons, sacred images, a Bible, prayer cards, a book of reflections, small statues and candles are some of the items you can place in your prayer space.
5. Just say no.
Advent is richer when it’s not overbooked. Get your calendar out and mark the commitments you already have—the required office party, the kids’ Christmas concert, etc. Save a few nights for special Advent observances or outings—caroling, visiting a care home or an elderly neighbour.. And give yourself permission to say no to everything else—all the extras that can distract you from your commitment to live a more meaningful Advent. It’s hard to turn down good things, but every no means a yes to what matters most.
I have a confession. It has been really hard to turn my face towards Advent and to think about how I can make ‘real’ space for it this year. There have been so many other distractions that have taken my time and energies lately. I have had to ‘give my head a wobble’ as we would say in Essex. Sitting down at my desk to write this Karen’s Corner has given me some perspective. Before I write each Karen’s Corner I have a ‘nod with God’. Today’s chat with God brought the realisation that there is nothing more that I want than to spend some time with you, focussing on what is important during Advent.
Everything else needs to wait.
My priority is, and always will be, walking beside you as your Vicar. I’d like us to walk together; prayerfully, in hope, with love and in fellowship through Advent, towards the blessed Saviour’s birth. The walking together in ‘love’ is the most important part of the season that we are about to share. ‘The greatest of these is love’ scripture tells us.
I really look forward to spending the Advent season with you. I will be putting things to one side and saying ‘no’ to things so that I can focus upon our journey together because I love spending time with you.
One thing that Chris has said that I am saying ‘no’ to tonight is cooking (the Vicar does a small dance of joy) the rare treat of a pizza delivery is on the way and a ‘Mighty Meat Feast’ and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ on the telly box waits for no man…
So before I tuck into some pepperoni and plastic cheese deliciousness, this comes with my love for you. Now, excuse me whilst I put on some elasticated waisted trousers and dive into my take away…
Yours in Christ
The clocks went back last week, and the evenings are drawing in.
This means that my head torch comes out as I try and navigate my way round the villages in the dark. My night vision is notoriously poor and I must look like a mole squinting into the gloom! I can’t say that I like the dark very much and I much prefer the longer summer evenings. I like to see clearly where things or people are coming towards me.
Chris and I were shopping in Tesco last week and we had gone our separate ways to find items. He approached me from behind as he returned as I was browsing the shelves. He tapped me on the shoulder to let me know he was back. Well, dear reader, I am sure that the whole store heard my scream as he did so. I was startled, the fight or flight response well and truly kicked in. I stumbled backwards and almost up ended a shelf of digestive biscuits. As I said, I like to see what’s coming at me! Chris found the whole scene hilarious and I wished for the ground to swallow me up. I managed to laugh about it once I had got my breath back and continue with our shopping with some little shred of dignity.
As I reflected upon our shopping trip afterwards I thought about the nature of surprise, shock and seeing clearly what is coming. One of the many wonderful things about being a Christian is clarity. We have scripture that lays out very clearly Jesus’ mission in our world. We can be sure that there are no surprises or shocks. We are left in no doubt as to why Jesus came amongst us.
The word gospel means “good news,” and that is surely the ¬under¬statement of the cosmos. The news is so good, so outrageously wonderful, that the world finds it difficult to believe. A cure has been discovered for the common sin. Death itself now has an alternative—and the alternative will be so good that on the day we experience it our minds could never contain the joy involved.
But it ¬only gets better.
¬Jesus also mentioned a secondary goal. He said, “My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10). He said that a false shepherd simply uses the sheep; a true shepherd loves them enough to give his life for them. “I have come not ¬only to rescue you,” he was saying, “but to help you see all the wonderful possibilities that life can hold for you. I want you to squeeze every single drop of joy out of this life. And if I ¬didn’t come to show you, you would never know how.”
This Sunday each of our churches will be holding their Remembrance Day services. Please check the website for the details of each of the services. Remembrance Sunday is a national opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. We remember the Armed Forces, and their families, from Britain and the Commonwealth, the vital role played by the emergency services and those who have lost their lives as a result of conflict or terrorism.
Many of our parishioners have served in the armed forces over the years and play an important role in the organisation of our services. We will all gather together at the war memorials in our communities and churches to observe the two minutes silence at 11am. You are warmly invited to join us for our services of Remembrance and to gather with us to remember those who fell during conflicts from our own villages.
I will be leading our service in Perranarworthal, Mrs Nina Davey will be leading at St Feock church and Mrs Jane Darlington LLM and The Revd Canon Martin Boxall will be leading in Devoran.
This week we will be laying to rest the late Mr Anthony Filmer in the churchyard in Devoran after a funeral service. The service will be held on Thursday 10th November at 2pm at St John and St Petroc church in Devoran. Our prayers are with Anthony’s family and friends as they mourn his loss.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
As I write this we are entering NOVEMBER! Where is this year going?
Advent begins later on this month and the countdown to Christmas really ramps up in the Vicarage.
Last Sunday we gathered together at St Feock for our joint All Souls’ service, to remember those we no longer see and to commend them back to God. Lists of names of those to be remembered were read out by representatives from each of the churches and candles were lit. We gathered together, as one body, to offer one another comfort, prayer and love. Many names of those beloved family members and friends were read out, including members of the Wilson and Ewington families (Ewington was my maiden name).
A name that was on the list was that of Ebony Speller. Ebony was a student in my first year group where I was year group leader. Last week Ebony took her own life. She was a complex, loving, funny and generous young woman of 25. For reasons that are known only to her, she felt that her life was not worth living. I had known her for 14 years and she still kept in touch with me. She was a joy to know and she had kept me on why toes for the 5 years that she was in my year group!
The issue of mental health in young people was discussed by her friends, their families and I over the last week. They reached out to me and wanted to ask for prayer, for comfort and just to talk. Many of them had seen Ebony the day before she died and had no idea of her intentions. ‘If only we had known..’ Was a common refrain.
With the issues of mental health being at the forefront of my mind this week…I am always concerned that when the clocks go back. The nights draw in and curtains are closed earlier in the day. Those who are vulnerable often spend more time at home, alone. Not many of us choose to be to and about in the darker winter months and we choose not to answer the front door when it is dark. It is important to check on those who are vulnerable and alone as winter can be an even more isolating time. I am aware that there is a lot of care and consideration of those who are alone given by our parishioners and local community, which is wonderful. If you, or someone you know, is socially isolated or feeling lonely and would appreciate a chat please do get in touch.
Last Friday brought ‘Music Night’ to St Feock Church. We were entertained by local musicians and by Bert Biscoe and his poetry. It was a great night, supporting both the Hidden Help charity and the church. Bex and Keith from the HAIRE Project had worked very hard to organise the event and I hope that it is the first of many.
This Friday brings Will Keating and John Dowling back to St Piran’s Church with their atmospheric candlelit concert. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, don’t miss out! Details can be found on the website. The Oggymen are next up. Thursday 24th November. They gave us a wonderful evening on their last visit. We all sang along and there is never a dry eye in the house when ‘Cornwall My Home’ is sung. Well, this Vicar cannot hear the song without welling up!
I am hoping that we can arrange a bit of Carol Singing in Carnon Downs before Christmas. Carol Singing is such a fabulous Christmas tradition and it is a chance to get together and remind ourselves of the old favourites! Do keep an eye out for further details of this event and if you enjoy singing some Carols do join us. It doesn’t matter whether you are not Aled jones or Katherine Jenkins, all noise is joyous to God! Thank goodness for that, I would say that I am enthusiastic singer but not a particularly confident one.
As I mentioned in an earlier ‘Karen’s Corner’ Christmas planning starts early in the Vicarage. I now have a shiny new Christmas Planner sitting on my desk, which pleases me greatly. The spare room is being used to store the Christmas shopping and Chris has taken to rolling his eyes at my preparations. He likens them to a military operation, which is not far from the truth. I confess that I have already watched a few of the Hallmark Christmas films… If it were down to me the Christmas tree would be up and we would be cracking open the mulled wine…
Whatever your week hold, may it be blessed.
8 tracks, a book and a luxury….
The radio show ‘Desert Island Discs’ has always fascinated me. What if I went onto the show, what would I choose…? Not that the show would be particularly interested in what my choices were I’m sure.
However, I was thinking about it as I prepared for our services on Bible Sunday. If you are a castaway on Desert Island Discs you are asked to choose 8 tracks, a book and a luxury. It will come as no surprise, dear reader, that my book choice would be the Bible.
It is the one book that I read on a daily basis; it’s the starting point of any sermon and informs my prayers. It is the most important source of authority for Christians all over the world. It is a life guide.
The Bible is given pride of place on our lecterns and is read during every one of our services of worship. It contains the words and actions of Jesus Christ and allows us to access the foundations of our faith and bears witness to the revelation of Jesus being our Saviour.
Bible Sunday reminds us of all of this. Each year we share a special prayer and I bless the church Bible and place it upon the altar. It is at the heart of all of our worship and our ives as Christians.
Of course you wouldn’t expect anything less of me that to commend that we all read the scriptures every day. However, in these times of uncertainty, anxiety and financial hardship, reading the Bible every day can help to anchor us in our faith. The Word reminds us that God is with us every day and He is the only true certainty in our lives. We can rely upon Him, we can lean into him when we feel adrift, we can be certain of his love and guidance. It’s all there in the Bible. It is our foundation and our inspiration.
When all around us seems to be shifting, when nothing seems to the same from one day to the next, the Bible is our one sure foundation. The Good News of Jesus Christ never shifts, never changes and reminds us that we are beloved children of God.
A lecturer at theological college told us that you can tell a Christian who is deeply rooted in scripture by the state of their Bible. If it is pristine it is owned by someone who doesn’t read it much! If it is dog eared, covered in tabs and notes it is owned by someone who immerses themselves in scripture and really ‘uses’ their Bible. That’s a generalisation, we got that, but the lecturer had a point. Bibles aren’t supposed to sit on a shelf, they are to be really used.
Our lecturer went on to say that reading the entire Bible every year was ‘good for the soul’. I try to follow a Bible reading scheme each year but, I confess, I don’t always succeed.
Back to Desert Island Discs… choosing my book would be the easy bit. What would I have as my luxury? I don’t suppose that I would be allowed to take Chris or the dog… I think that it would have to be a good bed with my own pillows.
The 8 tracks that castaways can choose don’t all have to be music apparently. I would have a recording of a chat and the laughter that my Dad and I shared I think. I don’t have any recording of his voice and it is the one thing that I miss about him most.
On Sunday we are holding our joint churches All Souls Service at 10am in St Feock church. It is an opportunity for us to get together and to remember and to commend back to God those whom we have loved and who are no longer with us, whether the loss is recent or long ago. If you would like to add the name of someone who has died to our list to be read out at the service do contact me or your Church Warden/s.
This year we are joining together across all three communities to remember those who we no longer see. It is an important opportunity to gather together, to share our grief, to support one another and to remember those we have loved. I think that the most important word of this past sentence is ‘share’.
Unfortunately, most of us will have suffered bereavement and to be able to share with others that intense sense of loss and grief will, I pray be a comfort. It is also a chance to share with others your own experience, to talk and to uphold others.
You are warmly invited to come along to this service. If you would like any further information about it, do contact me on 01872 276 357.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
Words really do matter…
One hundred years ago, on 18 October 1922, the British Broadcasting Company was formed by a group of leading wireless manufacturers. By the end of the year their first Director General, Lord Reith, was appointed. He famously said that the BBC was there ‘to inform, educate and entertain’ and down the decades it has done just that.
Chris and I were moved by the last in the truly wonderful ‘Frozen Planet II’ series hosted by Sir David Attenborough. He communicates so clearly the dreadful impact that humanity is having upon our planet. It has been a truly remarkable series. I may never go to the frozen parts of our world, but I am better informed and in awe of our planet through watching his programmes.
If you think back to your own TV watching and radio listening, which part of its history and output have you valued the most? The 10 o’clock News, the Archers, the Coronation, Morecombe and Wise, Dr Who, the shipping forecast or maybe it’s the pips!
As I reel off those programmes, I realise how much the BBC has become woven into my own life and that of our nation. We always watched the late Queen’s speech on Christmas Day without fail at home. Christmas Day wouldn’t have been the same without it. I loved to sit and listen to the stories read on Jackanory. Match of the Day was my Dad’s favourite and the theme tune still makes my eyes sting as I recall us watching it together.
I’m also struck by the central ideas of Lord Reith’s founding vision that words matter; that the spoken word has an integrity which can speak to our world and change history.
The 23rd October is Bible Sunday, and we are gathered around many words and are reminded that, above all else, God’s word speaks into our world and changes history. This is most clearly seen, as his promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
In our Gospel, the teaching on God’s word takes us to a different level as we are confronted with the word made flesh. Jesus stands, reads from Isaiah, and tells the people that these words are fulfilled in him. In many ways it seems that this is what his hearers expected, having heard accounts of his prophetic ministry elsewhere. Now they hoped to reap the benefits of this ‘local boy made good’.
Their expectations, however, are upended as Jesus proclaims that he has not come to offer divine favours to his hometown but rather to proclaim God’s radical inclusion of all in his plans for the salvation of the world. This jubilee to end all jubilees, offers salvation for the poor, the captive, the blind and the oppressed- and that goes far beyond the confines of one village.
Earlier I wrote about the founding of the BBC and like the Church of England it has, over the last one hundred years, become a national treasure. The similarities do not end there. We too are invited to be broadcasters, transmitting clearly through words and pictures the fulfilment of God’s promises in Christ.
We may not be entertainers or broadcasters but we each have our own unique way of communicating The Good News and, with the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we have a message to broadcast and a commission to touch others’ hearts with that good news of the gospel.
There are times when we don’t need words at all. I’m not suggesting that you channel your inner Marcel Marceau and mime the good news! It could be simply sitting in silence with someone who is in distress, offering a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, praying with someone or sharing some of your time. All are reflecting the love of Christ out to others.
St Francis of Assisi wrote, “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.” Scripture reminds us that words can be powerful and are to be used for the good of those around us:
“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 ESV
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
“Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” Proverbs 12:25
Before I finish writing I must just say a huge thank you to all of the volunteers who made last Saturday’s tabletop sale in Perranwell so successful. Over £800 was raised for the church; fabulous! It was a great opportunity for outreach and community engagement. The sale was visited by church family and the wider community, all mingling to pick up a great bargain and to chat over tea and a slice of cake in the heart of the village.
I won’t sign off this week with a Test Card, as the BBC used to at the end of the evening. If you remember, there was a young girl in front of a blackboard, playing noughts and crosses with a rather scary looking clown doll!
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
‘I suppose you’ve got a list for that…’
It may be a tad early for some of you to be thinking about Christmas. It is never too early in my mind and it is my favourite time of the year, both from a ministry point of view and personally. I have always loved Christmas and I am a bit of a sucker for a schmaltzy Christmas film on a dark winter’s afternoon.
I take planning for Christmas very seriously and I start very early. As you can imagine Advent and Christmas are very busy times in our household. I like a long ‘run up’ and I believe that it is important for us to have an Advent Course so that we can understand scripture more deeply and appreciate the enormity of the gift that God gives us at Christmas, his precious Son. More details of our benefice course are on the way.
The Christmas Planner comes out and sits on my desk until New Year’s Day. Christmas shopping starts early, and items are squirrelled away in our spare room until they are required during the festive season. I have started planning our Christmas week meals so that I can accommodate when we are going to be at work/leading services.
‘Chestnuts!’ said I out loud one evening last week as we sat drinking tea. ‘And the same to you Madam’ replied Chris. ‘No, we will need chestnuts’ said I. ‘I suppose you’ve got a list that they will go on?’ said Chris as he rolled his eyes at me. Oh yes, dear reader, there is a list for everything Advent and Christmas related…
The festive season does not happen by luck alone. All joking aside, Christmas is not about lists or making sure that I have vacuum packed chestnuts (please don’t judge, I haven’t got time to peel chestnuts to go with the Brussels and pancetta). Christmas is about hope.
I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about it but there are two kinds of hope. The most common way we use the word today is to mean a desire or a wish.“I hope the pandemic ends soon.” “I hope my family stays healthy.”
The other kind of hope is different. This kind of hope is something in the future you can count on with certainty. It’s an event or blessing that will absolutely happen. For example, the hope of heaven. The promise those who trust in Christ will have eternal life.
What do you count on in your life? In other words, what do you put your hope in? Your family? Your career? Your physical health and vitality? Your bank account? All those things are good, but they’re temporal. Wishing for them to be the foundation of our lives is not a good plan because they don’t last.
What lasts? Things that are eternal. Biblical hope is a guarantee from God concerning a future outcome for your good. It’s anchored in who Jesus is.
All over the world people acknowledge the birth of Jesus, born in a lowly manger, at a specific location on earth, at a specific moment in human history. (We don’t know the actual date, but we know it was in Bethlehem—as it was foretold centuries before in the Old Testament.)
That little baby was God Incarnate, the Son of God, who came to earth to show us what love looks like. He came to be the very physical revelation of the invisible God and the creator of all. He came also to take the penalty of sin and to give us a way to reconcile with God and have eternal life.
How do we know this? The Gospel tells us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
The Apostle Paul, writing to the Ephesians, says that their faith in Christ Jesus springs “from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel” (Ephesians 1:5-6).
What is this hope “stored up in heaven”? The absolute certainty of eternal life with Christ for those who believe in Him.
What amazing hope is that!
The Apostle Paul wrote: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).
This is an eternal foundation! This is our true hope! This is the hope of Christmas, and of all time.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
I have spoken about the diversity of ministry before in Karen’s Corner. Last week I conducted a service of thanksgiving for the late Lt. Col. Johnnie Dallow. He was a much loved husband, father, grandfather, comrade and friend. Heartfelt tributes were paid to a man who is very much missed. It was a privilege to conduct the service and to meet Johnnie’s comrades from Burma 41.
Two days later I conducted a joyous marriage blessing for Juliet and Peter. They had been married for 50 years and their happiness and excitement was infectious. They read a beautiful poem to the congregation and Peter kissed his lovely bride to applause from the congregation. It is inspirational to speak to a couple who have been married for so long and who wanted to celebrate with a church service.
The diversity of ministry gives me plenty of food for thought, reflection and prayer. I always take time before and after services to pray for families and for God to be right in the middle of each service. If my diary allows, I take some time after services to make a brew, give thanks to God and to reflect upon what has been.
Talking of food, Devoran held their harvest festival and lunch last Sunday. I joined the congregation for lunch after leading the service at St Piran’s. The volunteers had laid on a gorgeous feast and it was good to share lunch with young families who had been at the W4All service. It is always wonderful to have children and young people with us.
Here’s a heads up for a couple of events at St Piran’s church that you won’t want to miss. On the evening of 4th November Will Keating and John Dowling will be holding a candlelit concert in the church. Tickets from Cornwall Tourist Offices or click on the link: https://uk.patronbase.com/_CornishRivieraBoxOffice/Seats/NumSeats?prod_id=W07A&perf_id=1§ion_id=3&action=&seat_type_id=S
On the evening of 24th November The Oggymen return to St Piran’s church for a concert. Tickets for the Oggymen are available from Paul Stuart (CW of St Piran’s church; Tel 07929022143) and tickets for Will and John are available via Will’s website or from the tourist office in Truro. Those who came along to previous concerts will know just how good these events are.
The next ‘Men’s Breakfast’ will be on Saturday 29th October at 9am in the West Room of the Perranwell centre in Perranwell. Sign up sheets will be available in all of our churches. Enjoy a cooked full English breakfast with toast, tea and coffee. There is no charge for the breakfast, just come along and enjoy having brekkie cooked for you and join in with the chat. Our breakfasts are held every three months and are a highlight of the Wilson calendar. Chris hosts and I man the stove. We are always joined by our great volunteers who pitch in to make sure that everyone is kept fed and watered throughout the morning. It’s always a morning full of chat, fellowship and laughter.
On 30th October we will gather as a group of churches at 10am at St. Feock church for our All- Souls’ service. This service is an opportunity to remember, to give thanks and to pray for loved ones who have died and whom we miss.
All are welcome and if you know anyone who would appreciate coming along do invite them. Our Churchwardens are compiling the list of names of those who are to be remembered, do please get in touch with them or myself if you would like your loved one’s name added to the list.
Thoughts in the vicarage are turning towards our Christmas services and if you are a budding thespian please do get in touch. I am looking for volunteers to play roles in our ‘live’ Nativity play in Devoran on Christmas Eve. If you feel that you have an inner Melchior, Caspar or Balthazar do let me know. We are going to bring the nativity story to life for our children and young families. I have lined Chris up to play our music and to reprise our angelic host again this year. We do need shepherds (tea towels for headgear will be provided!), an Inn Keeper who can declare that there is no room at the inn and an angelic Gabriel. Don’t be shy, let the inner Judi Dench or John Gielgud out and join us.
There will be news of services and events coming up in the lead up to Advent and Christmas, do keep an eye on updates on our website for further details. Please don’t forget that we have a Prayer page for requests for prayer. If you, or someone you know would like to be prayed for please do fill in the request page on the website.
This week brings the funeral of Chris’ cousin, Shani, on 6th October. I would be grateful for prayers for our family. Shani was just shy of her 60th birthday and died after living with MND for 8 years. She was my unofficial matron of honour at our wedding almost 11 years ago. I didn’t have any brides-maids, so she arrived at my door on my wedding day with her daughter Abi, armed with croissants and Buck’s Fizz, ready to help me to get dressed and to celebrate. I will never forget her kindness and the laughter we shared. Chris had forgotten his wedding shirt and popped home to collect it. Shani stood guard at the front door and passed Chris the shirt through a small gap so that he couldn’t see me in my wedding dress before the service.
Shani’s husband, Steve was a station commander in the Fire Service. He came to collect me from the hairdressers on the morning of our wedding. As he drove down the street to collect me he suddenly turned on the unmarked Fire Service 4x4 blue lights and sirens! All heads turned to look at me, blushing the same colour as the post box that I was standing next to! He found it all highly amusing as I scrambled into the car.
Steve, Shani and Abi were a tight knit little family unit who dealt with Shani’s diagnosis and illness with fortitude, strength, bravery and with dignity.
Chris and I will be spending time on Thursday morning praying for Steve and Abi as they prepare to say their final goodbyes to beloved Shani.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
‘New places, coffee with a view and don’t flush!’
Chris, the dog and I went away for a few days to St Ives whilst we were on annual leave. It’s good to be back amongst you by the way…
The view from where we were staying looked out over the sea and had access to a lovely beach. The dog had her paws walked off, she threw herself into every rock pool and enjoyed the odd breakfast sausage.
We walked for miles and watched the sunsets in the evenings. We had never been to Porthminster beach before and what an Art Deco find it was! It was like stepping back in time. Looking at the surrounding buildings I could imagine that I was in an episode of Poirot (a firm favourite). All I needed was a bathing hut and a knitted swimsuit!
We were blessed with wonderful weather and we walked for miles.
We went up onto the roof terrace of the Penn Olva hotel and enjoyed the panoramic views of St Ives bay, across to the lighthouse. I sat sipping a cappuccino watching the visitors taking out pleasure boats. For some reason many of them motored around in circles, I know not why. I told Chris that if I was at the helm I would be out there, exploring and using my time to see the coast from a different perspective, not going round in circles. It fascinated me that there was an enormous bay stretching out before them and they were puttering about in small circles. Perhaps it was a metaphor for life…
I listened to an interview with an American actor who was speaking about his Christian faith. He said that we have a tendency to plan our lives according to our earthly dreams and imaginations. He decided that he was going to listen to God’s plans which, by God’s very nature, were so much more expansive and greater than our human ones. Think big and then think bigger was his philosophy for life.
I think that perhaps, at times, we all get trapped into puttering around in circles, not daring to open up the engine, have an adventure and take a risk or two. Perhaps just now doesn’t feel like the time to be taking risks as we face a difficult winter ahead. Sometimes trusting in God completely can go against our human natures, to keep ourselves safe. It can feel a bit like stepping off a cliff edge and hoping that He will catch us. ‘Let go and let God..’ can seem like a big ask.
Whilst we were away our accommodation had a plumbing malfunction. One morning the sink backed up, as did the lavatories when we flushed. No amount of asking the good Lord to intervene helped our drainage dilemma. The maintenance men arrived; they rodded, they disappeared down holes, they flushed and they sucked air in over their teeth…
In the end we had to move accommodation and a hasty packing away and unpacking again ensued. The view of the sea changed slightly but still beautiful never the less. I thank the Lord that he gave me a good sense of organisation and a skill for packing bags.
By this time in the proceedings I had a heavy cold and was feeling less than chipper. Instead of eating ice cream I was sucking Strepsils and spraying my throat with all manner of antiseptic numbing unguents. Since coming home I have lost my voice (I couldn’t help see a smile sneak across Chris’ lips…!). I now have a tendency to sound a bit like Minnie Mouse on helium and cough like a barking seal…
My mother used to call it ‘being run down’. That makes me sound like a car that is on the way to the scrap yard but I get what she meant by that phrase.
Our two weeks passed by in a flash. The books that I had planned to read didn’t get read. I spent much of the time just enjoying the view, staring out to sea, thinking and pondering. I was reminded of the poem by William Henry Davis, ‘Leisure’.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?—
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
However, we enjoyed spending time together, exploring new places and not having a ‘plan’ for the days. The dog came with us and had the time of her life. It was her first holiday and I couldn’t face putting her into kennels. She decided that as we were living on one level she would sleep with us (she is not allowed upstairs in the vicarage). I woke up one morning to find her tucked up under the duvet, her head on my pillow, her whiskers tickling my face as she snored…
Whatever your week brings, whether it is standing and staring or watching the squirrels burying their nuts for winter, may it be blessed.
It has been a week like no other…
This has truly been a week like no other that I, nor many others, have lived through before.
It began with the news that we had a new Prime Minister. The news showed pictures of her meeting the Queen at Balmoral as she was invited to form a Government in her name. The Queen indeed looked frail but her sense of duty was there for all to see and she was carrying out that duty with a welcoming smile for Liz Truss.
Two short days later the Queen had died. Somehow, it almost didn’t seem possible. Our Sovereign lady the Queen, who had been a constant in all of our lives for 70 years was gone.
Her Son, the new King Charles III said that her life ‘was one well lived’. She had lived her life dedicated to all of the peoples that she served. The one word that she used over and over was ‘service’. She had committed her whole life to the service of others, upheld by her abiding Christian faith.
Suddenly I had a sense of being ‘unanchored’. So much of life has changed immeasurably over the past few years. I reflected upon my Ordination service. I sore an oath of allegiance to The Queen, her heirs and her successors as the Supreme Governor of The Church of England.
Personally, it was an honour to make that pledge. Now it is time to honour that oath to her son, the new King. Over the past few days we have witnessed the traditions and legal procedures that have proclaimed a new King, a new era.
Amongst all of that tradition, the meetings, the signing of ancient documents and public walkabouts there is a man who is grieving his mother. His whole family are mourning the loss of the matriarch of their family; a beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
Sometimes I have found it hard to watch the new King Charles having to follow protocols in the public eye. I hope and pray that he, and his family, are allowed time and space to mourn and to spend time in peace and quiet.
I am sure that the death of the late Queen, of blessed memory, has brought up feelings of loss and grief for many who have been bereaved. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.
On Friday evening we held a special service of prayer in St Piran’s church. It was attended by many who wanted to offer their own prayers and to give thanks for a life that was dedicated to service.
Members from across all three churches took part in the service, united in our gratitude and prayers.
This will be last Karen’s Corner for two weeks. Chris and I are are on annual leave from Monday. It has been a very busy and sometimes difficult time. We are looking forward to spending some time together, with the parish pug, reflecting and taking a bit of time away. I would be grateful for your prayers for both Chris and I as we take this time out in this beautiful part of the world and to consider prayerfully what shape the next few months may look like.
Whilst I am away you are never far from my thoughts and prayers. Church families are just that, family. Wherever I am and whatever I am doing the love and concern for family is never fully out of one’s mind. Whatever the next two weeks hold for you I pray that they are blessed.
Yours in Christ and with love
Do you remember….?
As many of you know, Chris works for Tesco. Christmas starts as early as August when the stock rooms are piled high with tubs of the ubiquitous chocolates. For Chris the festive season begins early (too early in his opinion!) and being married to a Vicar compounds the issue! I start preparations for Christmas in our churches in September. I adore everything about Christmas and so the poor chap doesn’t stand a chance…
Over the weekend Chris and I took a trip down memory lane, remembering our childhood Christmases. We were talking about the cost of living crisis and how different Christmas might look for those who will struggle with large fuel bills and the rise in the cost of food. After a while our chat turned to our own childhood Christmases.
When we were teenagers, my parents owned an old fashioned sweet shop (envisage 200 jars and boxes of sweets and chocolates lining the shelves and counters) and Chris’ Mum worked for them. That’s how we met (long story, for another time!). Our families had traditions at Christmas, as I am sure that some of yours did. On Christmas Eve the ‘snack table’ would be laid out by our Mums. This was a side table or a sideboard. On it were the Christmas treats that had been bought, hidden away until the laying up of the table.
We remembered all of the family favourites; The (metal) tin of Quality Street, peanuts, sugared almonds, Newberry Fruits, sugared slices of orange and lemon, a ‘glove box’ of dates, chocolate Brazil nuts, satsumas, marzipan fruits and Twiglets (a personal favourite). There was also the bowl of nuts and a nutcracker. It was usually the Dads who did battle with the walnuts and the bits of shell snapped and flew across the room, endangering the eyes of all who lay in their path.
The tree lights twinkled (multi coloured flower shaped ones), Nannas and Aunties gathered for a ‘Snowball’ or a Babycham (with a cherry of course) and Christmas was under way.
Happy memories that evoke a sense of peace and security.
The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus liked food. More than any other gospel, Luke talk about the meals that Jesus was invited to and where he took the opportunity to teach those gathered around the table.
Sharing a meal has always drawn people together and Jesus used a gathering to teach people about the kingdom of God. He was never afraid to invoke a touch of indigestion by tackling the ‘crunchier’ of topics. Jesus was never afraid of confrontation and to call out hypocrisy or false teachings. He never avoided calling out those in power or those who were excluding others. His mission was to tell others about what the kingdom of God is really like and how we can have a right relationship with God. It must have made uncomfortable listening for some and made him enemies.
He was never afraid to eat with the marginalised or the outcast.
It isn’t just at Christmas this year that people in our communities are going to find very tough going. The cost of living crisis has been on my mind a lot lately. A real sense of fear and dread has been building. I have been praying, thinking and reading about what other churches are planning to help in the upcoming winter months.
If you have any thoughts or ideas I would be very glad to hear them. As Christians we have a duty to care for all of our brothers and sisters and we need to find the right way to go about doing that. If you are worried, please do not keep your worries to yourself, share them and we will do our best to try and find ways of easing your burden of concern.
Whatever your week brings, may it be blessed.
A church was a ‘corner’ and a request….
I am listening to BBC Radio 2’s ‘Good morning Sunday’ with the Revd Kate Bottley as I write this. She asked her listeners if there were words or phrases that they used to get wrong when they were children. Lots of funny responses came in to the show and it got me thinking. Many of the words and phrases had ‘stuck’ and had become the familiar term or phrase used by a family, they had become part of its ‘short hand’.
This piece that I write each week is called ‘Karen’s Corner’. When I was small, for some reason only known to me, I called each church I saw a ‘corner’. I had been taught the word ‘church’ and yet I called a church a ‘corner’. So this piece should really be called ‘Karen’s church’!
As a child Chris called cows ‘ooh-coughs’ and a screwdriver was called a ‘doo-dabber’. In our house a screwdriver is still called a ‘doo-dabber’.
I have no idea why I called a church a ‘corner’. It may have been something to do with our parish church being tucked away into the corner at the end of a tiny lane. The workings of a child’s mind is a mysterious thing…
The church in which I worshipped as a child was my ‘corner’ of peace and I was convinced that God lived there. I couldn’t see Him but I knew he was there. I loved being there and even from a very young age I knew that I wanted this place to be where I ‘lived’, to be close to God and to share the good news of the story of Jesus.
Forward 50 years… I had a lovely message from my ex-Incumbent (from my church in Harlow) this morning. It reminded me of her utter faith in my calling. She asked me to lead my first Service of the Word whilst she was on holiday. I was going through the discernment process with the Diocese of Chelmsford at the time and this was such a privilege for me.
After the service I had to go away into a ‘corner’ of the church ( or a corner of the corner!) and have a quiet weep, to thank God for his grace. I felt totally ‘at home’ leading the service and I was overwhelmed by that feeling. It was further confirmation that this was where God was calling me to be.
We all need our ‘corner’; a place where we go for some peace and to be alone. It may be a quiet corner of the garden, by the water or in a comfy chair with a good book and a brew (or is that just me?!). It’s important to have a ‘corner’; a space where we can escape our busy lives, our worries and our whirring minds.
Sometimes we need to go away into a corner when we are upset or cross. Chris reminded me that a very wise Priest once told him that it was healthy to be able to ‘vent’ at God. To be able to let out our anger with God when we need to, it’s part of a healthy relationship with Him. It’s perfectly OK to go away and to vent, cry, shout or complain to God. I always think that he would much prefer our honesty to our silence.
David was often venting at God when he wrote his psalms. He was unafraid to let God know when he was angry with Him. The psalms of Lament often begin with a crying out to God. Some of the psalms show a bitter resentment of life’s unfairness, of God’s silence and of protest. They mirror the human soul and reflect the full gamut of emotions. As you read them you feel the full range of the emotions of the writers.
If you find it hard to put into words how you are feeling, then I would suggest reading the psalms. I find that they express human feelings in a way that sometimes we can’t always do.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed.
I have come to the conclusion that I no longer cope with extremely hot weather like I used to…
I do not waft my way through through a heatwave dressed in diaphanous linen looking as cool as a cucumber. Oh no, I look like a boiled beetroot or one of Salvador Dali’s ‘melting’ paintings. Or, if you have seen the film ‘Frozen’ I look like Olaf the snowman as he sits in front of the fire…
Now don’t get me wrong, I love the summer and a bit of heat. As long as I am in the sea or sitting in the shade with a cool drink I am fine. When I was younger I could lay in the sun for hours and barely break a sweat. Now I slap on the factor 50, wear a sunhat, sunglasses and look for the shade. The message of safety in the sun hasn’t passed me by.
When I was young all that seemed to be sold by chemists was a very dodgy bottle of ‘carrot oil’ or Ambre Solaire sun oil that literally fried us as we tried to get a tan.
Vestments worn over ‘everyday’ clothing for services can be tricky to say the least and has been a ‘hot’ topic of conversation amongst colleagues and Funeral Directors. I joke with Chris about hot days being a two or three clerical shirt day. The witch in The Wizard of Oz said, after she had water thrown over her, ‘I’m melting, I’m melting!’ I now have some sympathy for her condition!
As I write this a drought has been declared and restrictions come into force later on in the week. It is also raining….but not enough to really help the situation.
The heat is difficult for our wildlife and farmers. I have been reading about sparks coming from combine harvesters as they hit stones and causing field fires. It is a perilous time for our land and for nature. Each day there are more wildfires reported on the news.
As Christians, it is our duty to care for God’s creation and it is certainly a topic that is uppermost in my mind. If you have any ideas about how we, as a group of churches, can play our part do let me know. Clare Chipman, our PCC secretary for Devoran, has kindly agreed to be our green ‘champion’ and attends meetings with the diocese about creation care.
On Thursday afternoon a fundraising event followed a lovely wedding. The sun shone, Bride and Groom were wreathed in smiles and were supported by many family members and friends.
After the wedding we gathered at The Perranwell Centre for a delicious cream tea (jam first, obviously!) followed by an hour of great music from Andy. He sang lots of ‘swing’ favourites from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald. I took to the floor with Owen, who proceeded to ‘twirl’ me at the end of our dance! Thank you to all of the volunteers who worked so hard on such a hot afternoon. A wonderful afternoon was had by all.
Last Friday the family and friends of the late Dennis Smitheram gathered for his funeral. Dennis was a much loved Husband, Father and Grandfather. He had lived in the house that he had built for over 50 years in Perranwell village. Dennis was a keen singer and had sung with Nankersey choir for 30 years. Members of the choir gathered to sing and it was a joy to hear them.
I have been thinking about being a ‘visible’ presence in our communities. I must confess that it hasn’t been so easy to be ‘visible’ in this heat. I like to get out and about on foot and I have found the extreme heat exhausting to be honest, I wilt. I’m a bit of a traditionalist and wear my clerical collar when I am ‘on duty’. This heat wave has made me want to sit in my office, collar off, fan on with my feet in a bowl of iced water! Im sure that many of you have felt likewise.
The last couple of weeks have brought both funerals and weddings for our churches. They are services which bring our volunteers and myself to be ‘visible’ presences to people in times of celebration and mourning.
I have had some beautiful ‘thank you’ cards and emails from families after these services. The common thread running through them is the kindness and love shown by our churches. Reflecting the love of Christ to everyone we meet is what being ‘a visible presence’ is all about.
There is a lot of work done behind the scenes before any occasional service. Our church officers and volunteers go above and beyond to help to make each service run smoothly and support our families. When I am out and about folk often stop and talk about one of these services. Again, the common thread is about how loving and ‘personal’ they were.
These conversations always remind me of the parable that Jesus told about seeds. We won’t know where the tiny seeds of loving care will land or take root perhaps for weeks or months after these services. I pray that the love of God will touch the hearts and minds of those who come along to our church and that faith will grow.
There are also many prayers said for each family too. Each of our wedding and funeral families are prayed for before, and after, these services.
There is a ‘Prayer Page’ on our website. If you, or someone you know, would like to be prayed for, please do fill out the prayer request on the website.
If you do see your Vicar who is looking rather like a boiled beetroot out and about on your travels, feel free to spray her with iced water or offer her a bucket of water to stand in….
Whatever this week brings, I hope that you are able to keep cool and that it is blessed.
Bobbing along, bobbing along….
Chris and I took a small boat out onto the water from Mylor Harbour last Monday . We packed a picnic, our life jackets and the dog (also with her life jacket) into the car and headed off for a bit of an adventure.
Those of you who know me well enough by now know how much I love the water. Armed with a map and instructions we headed out from Mylor and made our way up to Malpas. I was more than a little thrilled at the chance to see my ‘patch’ from the sea.
The dog settled herself in the bottom of the boat, lulled to sleep by the motor and the gentle rocking and with Chris as ‘crew’ I navigated our way along the coastline.
The sea was calm and I thought about Jesus’ decision to take to a boat and cross the lake in order to get some rest after teaching the crowds that were following him.
There is something so calming about watching the sun glinting on the water, the motion of the boat and the sound of the waves gently lapping. I can quite see why Jesus thought that this was the best way to recharge his batteries and to still his mind.
Standing in the back of the boat, tiller in hand, I could let the peace of being out on the water wash over me. It gave me an opportunity to thank God for the day that we were sharing and to have some quiet time to talk to God.
We chugged our way past Loe Beach, Trelissick and on towards the King Harry ferry. We watched the wildlife and took in the beauty of our surroundings.
It’s not often that I completely ‘switch off’. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at it. I am a work in progress where relaxation is concerned. Having to focus on which way round the buoys to navigate, watching for other boats and the ferry forced me to focus on being present in the present.
Jesus asked us to be present in the present; to keep a watch for His coming. Being so distracted that we take our eye off the ball and miss his Him, we do at our peril. It is something that I have to work on and something that I often pray about.
Our boat journey brought us to Malpas and we dropped anchor there. Out came the picnic, for us and the dog! We sat and drank coffee watching the herons, just bobbing about on the water. One of my favourite books is ‘Wind In The Willows’ and it all felt very like the picnic laden boat trips on the river of Ratty and Mole (I’ll leave you to decide who was who!).
Water features heavily in the Gospels. Jesus walked along the shoreline, walked on water, was baptised with water and turned water into wine. After his baptism in the Jordan God said, “You are my Son, the beloved. With you I am well pleased”. Jesus was alert and ‘present’ to God in that moment to be able to hear God telling him that he was his Son and that he was well pleased with him. A profound moment between heavenly Father and Son, one of affirmation and love.
This week has been one where I have been focussing upon meeting with bereaved families and writing funeral liturgy, eulogies and speaking to Funeral Directors. Again, it is very much about being present in the present and offering comfort, love and support to those who are preparing to say their final farewells to a loved one. It is such a difficult time for bereaved families and finding the words that God wants me to say requires being in the moment and listening.
I am reminded of the piece of music that we played at my own Dad’s funeral, ‘A closer walk with thee’ sung by Ella Fitzgerald. The lyrics ask for a closer walk with Jesus, to be upheld and supported by Him in our lives. ‘A daily walk close with thee, let it be, dear Lord let it be’. ‘If I falter, Lord who cares? None but thee dear Lord, none but thee’.
We are assured of God’s closeness each day, whatever life brings.
“Guide me gently safely to they kingdom’s shore’ the song goes. Funeral ministry helps those who are grieving to be reassured that God is with them, guiding them every step of the way, walking beside them.
He will never abandon us, ever. God promised that, through the death of His Son, He has guided their own loved one into his Kingdom, to the glory that is eternal life.
Last Sunday we were joined by Archdeacon Paul at our joint service of worship at St Piran’s church. He read Banns, swore our two Churchwardens in and preached a very moving sermon. It was a blessing to have him with us.
Afterwards we shared refreshments and parishioners had baked some delicious cakes for us to enjoy. Our Archdeacon went home with a doggy bag which he posted onto Twitter the next day, as he was enjoying his lunch!
A big thank you to everyone who baked treats.
It was wonderful to see so many people gathered, enjoying each others’ company, sharing chat and laughter. It was a great morning and there was a lovely atmosphere both in church and in our hall afterwards.
It is good to gather for combined worship every fifth Sunday, to come together as a group of churches. A joint service is a way that we can come together as a group of churches; to worship together, to pray together, to support one another and to get to know each other better.
I’ve ministered in three different benefices and each one shared worship on a fifth Sunday, perhaps three or four times a year. It is often the only time that our congregations intentionally come together and share worship. I believe that it is important for us to have these opportunities, especially as we are a fairly new benefice.
An important practice that every Priest is encouraged to do is to take time for a retreat. This is to ensure that we have time to step back a little, to spend time in prayer and bible study, to reflect and to spend time with God.
I plan to spend some time on retreat from Monday 8th August - Wednesday 10th August. I will be holding a wedding rehearsal, as planned on the Tuesday evening.
I’m now asking you for some for some help from volunteers. On 3rd September the HAIRE project is holding a ‘Picnic in the Park’ at Retallack Playing Field in Feock. We are hosting a stand offering cold drinks and snacks. It is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about our churches, to offer children some craft to do and to talk about our youth ministry.
If you have any time that you could offer to help out I would be very grateful. I am hoping that we can work short shifts on the stand. Please contact me on 01872 276 357.
Whatever your week holds, may the waters be calm and know that the hand on the tiller is God’s.
‘Let them eat cake….!’ (a Purrfect Day)
At Sunday’s Holy Communion Service at St Piran’s church we welcomed back our Archdeacon Paul. It was good to have him amongst us again as he swore in our Churchwardens, Paul and David. He also read the Banns for one of our wedding couples.
The Bride was present , with her Mum, at the service. She was wearing the most fabulous ‘pasty’ shaped earrings! Mum did say that she wasn’t going to wear these on her Big Day however. I disagree, I think that she should!
AD Paul gave us the most heartfelt and moving sermon, talking about his own recent experience of having cancer. It certainly moved parishioners. We were grateful for a sermon which came from the heart and spoke so eloquently of his experiences. It was good to see AD Paul looking so well.
After the service we shared lots of home baked cakes and goodies. It was so lovely to see so many folk from across all three of our parishes chatting, laughing and enjoying fellowship. I couldn’t have asked for more from the anniversary of my first service in The Waterside Churches. Thank you to everyone who brought along cake to share, it is very much appreciated.
A whole year has passed since I joined you, a year since God called me to be your Vicar. I said at my licensing service that it was a privilege to be your Vicar and that sentiment still stands.
A year ago I didn’t know many of you. I had met some parishioners during my interviews but most of you were still strangers.
A year on and this morning brought a very different scene. Over the past year Chris and I have got to know so many of you, which is such a blessing to both of us. You now know me well enough for us to be able to share jokes and to laugh, to share your good and bad times, to pray with you and to enjoy a brew and a slice of cake together!
I have the privilege of sharing your lives, your worship, your joys and your sorrows. It’s always good to pick up the phone and to hear, ‘I just rang you for a chat’.
As I drove away from church my heart was full. I thanked God for all that our time together had brought. As I looked around the church hall I could see folk chatting, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Three churches joined together as a benefice, being together and growing together.
Saturday brought our fourth Men’s Breakfast. Chris hosted and I was back at the stoves, ably assisted by Mandy, Veronica, Trish and Robert. Our number had grown again and 20 sat down for a Full English Breakfast. The quiz was very competitive and Tim was a hidden weapon on one of our tables! Once again, there was lots of laughter and chat as breakfast was devoured.
More good news is that Lorraine, our Safeguarding representative for St Piran’s can now train those who need their C0 and C1 safeguarding training. Lorraine is a diligent and thorough safeguarding officer and it is a tribute to her hard work that she can fill this role for us.
I conducted a memorial service last week for a much loved Aunt. Afterwards, one of the congregation spoke to me. He started, “I hope you don’t mind me saying…” Oh dear, thought I, what’s coming next?! He went on, “you are very ‘human’ for a Vicar and you could laugh with us”. Phew! I have heard that comment a few times lately, ‘you are very human for a Vicar’. I’m not sure what people think we are if not human but I do acknowledge and understand what they mean. A ‘collar’ can be a great conversation starter or it may put people off.
When Chris initially tells people what I ‘do’ he sometimes gets an odd reaction. People are sometimes afraid to make jokes or, if they let out a swear word, they apologise, because he is a Vicar’s spouse. When they get to know him more they also tell him that he is ‘very human’, for a Vicar’s husband!
Being ‘human’ I think equates to being approachable, of being able to see the funny side, of being the face of the church in a way that is not too distant. I hope and pray that we draw alongside people in a way that they can relate their own lives to.
Speaking of being human, I managed to eat a cat treat this week, much to the hilarity of Chris and our CW Paul. It’s a long story and perhaps best not to dwell on my unusual snack… It wasn’t my finest moment and it tasted vile. I have heard every single feline based comment and joke about it from Chris and Paul, at my expense of course!
The ‘Dreamie’ treat wasn’t nearly as tasty as the cake we enjoyed on Sunday. I cannot see what cats find so attractive in them and I shan’t be repeating the experience!
Before I sign off this week, I want to mark this one year anniversary of my being with you to talk about Chris. I haven’t mentioned to him that I am going to do this and he will be embarrassed when he reads this. I wouldn’t be able to be a Vicar without his support. He is my quiet, unassuming confidant who always has my back. He has alway been unwavering in his support and goes above and beyond to help me. Chris is fiercely loyal. I am always aware that there are sacrifices to be made as a Clergy Spouse and he hears and sees the whole of this Vicar’s life. He celebrates when I do and feels the hurts when I do. We live a very public life in so many ways and I am conscious that Chris lives this life because he of my ministry. I will always be so grateful that God brought Chris into my life and for his love, kindness and humour.
Thank you for making Chris feel so welcome here, it’s wonderful to see him flourishing in Cornwall.
Whatever your week brings, may it be blessed. Heartfelt thanks for the past year and here’s to the next one!
Can you play with a beach ball in church….?
Well, yes you can if you are Devoran School!
Devoran School came to the church on Tuesday for their end of year celebration services. The children came in three groups and yes, we played with a beach ball! Each student who caught the ball told us something that they had done in the last year that they were proud of.
It was a joy to have the church full of children, to celebrate all that they had achieved and to thank God for what has been and what is to come. The children had achieved so much and they showed us some wonderful work.
And talking of children….Messy Church held its second session in Devoran Village Hall on Sunday. The volunteers put so much hard work into preparing each session and would appreciate any help that can be offered. The group would like to have a few more volunteers to help set up, clear away and to prepare the sessions. If you could help please contact Anne Ramsden on 01872 864049.
Our work with children and young people is vital to the life of the church and it can only continue if we have enough volunteers to maintain our ministries.
The children and their families are the future of our churches and we need ensure that we are nurturing new faith. Please do consider whether you can help in any way.
St Piran’s church held the Christening of Taron Harrison on Sunday. It is always good to welcome a new member of the family of Christ. I love conducting a Christening. It’s such a joyful occasion; full of hope. We are there, right at the beginning of a child’s journey with Christ.
I had an interesting conversation about our BCP (Book of Common Prayer) Holy Communion Service which is held in St Piran’s Church on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 8.30am. It is a service which I describe as ‘balm for the soul’. It is a ‘said’ service (no hymns) and which starts a Sunday morning off in just the most perfect way. The language is traditional and we come together at the Lord’s Table to share Holy Communion.
If you haven’t been along to this service I would highly recommend it. All are welcome and there is plenty of help available from other worshippers if you are new to the service book. David and John volunteer to ‘set up’ for me and I am always grateful for their gentlemanly and calm assistance.
A ‘BCP Week’ is one in which I write two sermons. The Lectionary for the BCP and Common Worship services are different and so I get to study two different pieces of scripture in the same week. I’m prone to get carried away as I dive into the Scripture and by the end of my sermon writing there are Bible commentaries all over my desk and it is covered in Post it notes!
Please do keep the following parishioners in your prayers:
Cariad Dallow as she prepares for the funeral of her late husband John.
Sarah and Sophie Winfield as they prepare for the funeral of Nigel, which takes place this week.
Also for the family of the late Dennis Smitheram as they prepare for his funeral on 4th August in Perranarworthal.
The family of the late Sally Bruce will gather this week at St Feock church for her memorial service.
It is always a privilege and an honour to be asked to conduct funeral ministry and to support a grieving family. The loss of a beloved family member is such a difficult time. Each family appreciates knowing that they are being upheld in prayer by our churches.
May your week be blessed
I’m definitely not cool…!
Years ago, the students that were in my year group would call anything or anyone who was in fashion or on trend as ‘cool’. As their Head of Year, I couldn’t be classified as being ‘cool’. During this current heatwave I definitely wouldn’t be described as cool! Layers of clothing and ‘clericals’ don’t make for keeping cool in the heat.
It’s a job for anyone to remain cool in this weather and this week is only going to get hotter. Please may I ask you to make sure that you heed the warnings and keep hydrated and don’t go out during the hottest part of the day. If you are struggling in any way and need help please do not hesitate to call me. Please do not take any risks with your health or wellbeing whilst its is so incredibly hot.
To coin a phrase that my students used to say, there have been some very ‘cool’ things happening in our churches over the past week. There are also plenty of exciting new events coming up in the coming weeks too.
On Saturday I Baptised a delightful baby, who was joined by 38 grown ups and 20 of his young friends and family. The children took wands of Rosemary and ‘reminded’ the adults of their own Baptisms by sprinkling them with the Holy water! They all had great fun and were delighted to be invited to give their family a good dousing. It was such a joy to have St Piran’s full of children, laughter and very obliging grown ups.
Last Sunday evening our CTUTC open air service saw Revd Simon getting his knees out! It was such a warm evening that he donned shorts for the service. We were joined by over 30 other worshippers in the sunshine. I wasn’t quite so brave and decided that my knees were not fit for human scrutiny!
It is always a blessing to hear about those who feel God’s calling upon their lives and to encourage their ministry. More of our parishioners are exploring their vocations and listening to where God is calling them, which is good news. The Holy Spirit is definitely moving in this place.
On Sunday afternoon our Celtic Service of worship reflected upon what it means to be ‘a feather on the breath of God’; ready to listen to God’s calling on our lives and prepared to be blown gently along by God.
Messy Church takes place again next Sunday afternoon (4pm) in Devoran Village Hall. If you would like to join in the fun, craft, worship and afternoon tea do come along.
Plans for the Waterside Churches Summer Bible Club are well under way. Please pre-register your child’s place on the website or contact Mrs Chris Ryan on 01872 864203. The Club starts on 4th August and runs to the 6th (at the Perranwell Centre), ending with a BBQ for children and their families.
On Sunday 7th August there is a special Summer Club service of celebration. Do come along to support our young people and hear about what they did at the club. The theme is the story of Noah (more water!).
On Tuesday we will be welcoming the students of Devoran school into church for their end of year celebration service. It will be wonderful to welcome the school back into church. We will be giving thanks for all that the past year has brought and celebrating the end of term. I am going to tell the story from Luke’s Gospel about the man who is trying to give a party but nobody can come. It’s not a celebration unless you share it with others!
We gathered in St Feock last Tuesday to say goodbye, to remember and to celebrate the life of the late Mrs Barbara Eveleigh. Her Grandson read and played the recorder beautifully in tribute to his much loved Grandmother.
On Friday the family of the late Mr Ken Tiddy came to St Piran’s church to inter his ashes. I had the privilege of conducting his funeral in February. We gathered in the sunshine to lay him to rest in the graveyard.
Whatever your week brings, I pray that you are ‘cool’. Do keep safe and I read that keeping flannels in the freezer and using them as cold compresses helps. A colleague of mine straps ice packs wrapped in tea towels around her middle, under her warm cassock! I may give it a try….
Karen's Latest Musings
A Priest friend (from Harlow) posted a picture onto his Instagram page this week of a blue sky and some beautiful, wispy clouds. The clouds looked like downy feathers. He quoted Hildegard of Bingen about being a feather on the breath of God.
Hildegard was an extraordinarily gifted woman born in 1100, in Bermersheim, Germany was given to the church at the age of eight. The tenth child of Hildebert of Bermersheim and Mechthild of Merxheim, she was promised as a tithe to the church from her birth. She was later to become an abbess.
‘Today she is best known for her music. Yet her compositions form only a small part of her story. She was a polymath: a visionary, a theologian, a preacher; and early scientist and physician; a prodigious letter writer who numbered kings, emperors and popes among her correspondents. She was an artist, not only in the musical and literary sense but in painting and, it would seem, architecture. She even invented her own coded language.’
“Listen ; there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself, but because the air bore it along. Thus am I ‘a feather on the breath of God’”
God calls each of us to be His feather – responding to where He calls us. To be responsive to His nudges. To be open to His grace.
If we imagine that we are each a feather on the breath of God, where do you feel that God is gently blowing you, leading you?
For a Priest like me, it is always a joy and a huge blessing to see where God is gently leading others in their own answer to his calling. It may be a gentle nudge to begin writing our prayers (intercessions) and to leading prayers in church. It may be that you feel that God is calling you to give us a ‘talk’ and to expound the Word of God. It may be that you feel that God is giving you nudges towards Lay or Ordained Ministry.
The image of a feather on the breath of God is one of lightness, of freedom to be blown. The feather allows itself to be blown and to see where the breath of God will take it.
In our hectic world it can be difficult to allow ourselves to be blown gently and to see where God is taking us. We like to have some control; our lives are busy and there is often precious little time for such freedom.
To float where and when He wills and only at His bidding takes some learning. This feather tries too often to have energy of her own, and direct her own path/trajectory.. instead of resting on the loving breath of God and letting it all depend on Him. ‘Let go and let God…’ is one of Chris’ favourite sayings. God sees and knows our true potential. I wonder what amazing potential we would reach if we did ‘Let go and let God’?
Part of my ministry is to encourage, to release and to encourage the flourishing of others potential; to their calling from God. If you feel that God is nudging/calling/pulling/pushing or indeed blowing you on his breath, please get in touch for a chat.
As I write this the weather has taken a turn. The heat is wonderful if you are swimming in the sea or sitting under the shade of a tree with a cool drink (wishful thinking…?). As the weather gets even hotter this week please do take care of yourself. Please keep hydrated, rest when you need to and keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. I am trying to invent imaginative ways to air cool my woollen cassock and ‘clericals’. I am a ‘hot mortal’ at the best of times and wearing layers of vestments can be tricky. If you find your Vicar flagging and looking like a boiled beetroot at any time during this coming week please feel free to apply a bucket of cold water to the aforementioned Cleric….
Whatever your week brings, keep cool, take care of yourself and may it be blessed.
‘Now where has that time gone…?’
Social media feeds are full of ‘New Revs’ during Petertide. Joyful pictures of the newly Ordained celebrating with their friends, families and church families fill my social media feeds and they bring back very happy memories.
I celebrated the anniversary of my Priesting last Friday and Chris took me out for a lovely meal. We shared memories of the day and wondered where the time has gone! Becoming a Priest; making vows and promises, being supported by other Priests is such a privilege. It is truly humbling and made me feel that I had somehow ‘come home’ and that being a Priest was what God had planned for my life.
Ordination to the Priesthood is such a special day. It comes at the end of a four day Ordination Retreat, away from loved ones and spent, on the whole, in silence. I was in Sarum College, opposite Salisbury cathedral and Chris was at home in Okeford Fitzpaine.
I am a real ‘home bird’ and it was difficult to be away from Chris at such a time.
We met again just before the service, in the Cathedral. I had never been so glad to see him and there is a photograph that shows my relief!
It is also a year since Chris and I moved to Cornwall. Where has that time gone? It seems to have passed by in a flash! Thank you to everyone who has made us feel so welcome. I am always very conscious of the sacrifice that all Clergy spouses make to support the vocation of their wives and husbands.
For Chris it has meant two moves of County and two new roles in Tesco, where he works.
Chris has always been an incredible support to me. He is a wonderful ‘ear’, a confidant and a guide as well as someone who makes me laugh. He also gets to see the highs and the lows of my ministry. He is also protective of me and ensures that I take time off when I need it. It is not always easy to be a Clergy spouse as they get to see and hear when Clerics take the flak, which seems to be inevitable in ministry.
I never underestimate the impact that this has upon him. When there is any tension, pain or hurt he feels it too, because he loves me.
We have always been a great team and I couldn’t do what I do if he wasn’t beside me. I am truly blessed in this way.
Chris is also growing in his own ministry, which is another great blessing. He led the W4All service in Devoran. The W4All team are wonderful and together they produce a family friendly service once a month. There were 8 children of all ages in church last Sunday, which is fabulous news.
Our offering of services and outreach to children is growing in the benefice and is enthusiastically supported by our volunteers in Devoran and Perranarworthal.
I led the service in St Piran’s church and we were joined by Revd Celia, a Methodist Minister. Celia preached for us and there was plenty of laughter shared as she gave her own personal testimony.
We had forty in the congregation and it is a true blessing that we have Methodists amongst our number. We are truly the body of Christ, joined together in worship and praise. It is so good to see the numbers who are worshipping on a Sunday morning increasing.
Nina led our service in St Feock church on Sunday morning. Our organist, George, has just come to the end of his A Levels and will, God willing, be heading off to University in September. Please keep George in your prayers as he waits for his exam results. It is an exciting time for George as he contemplates a new era in his education journey. Sadly for us, he will be leaving and will no longer be playing the organ for us whilst at Uni. George plays magnificently and he will be a real loss. Over the past year I have had the joy of watching George grow in confidence, both in his playing and personally. You couldn’t ask for a lovelier young man and I will miss his quiet, gentle personality on a Sunday morning.
On July 31st we will be holding our joint benefice service of worship at St Piran’s church at 10am. Our Archdeacon, the Venerable Paul Bryer will be preaching. It is also another anniversary. It will be a year since my first Sunday service with you. We will be celebrating with tea/coffee and cake afterwards (what else would there be, this is church after all!). Do join us, all welcome. If you would like to join us but getting there is an issue do let me know and we can arrange transport for you.
Whatever this week holds for you, I pray that it is blessed.
Four Services and a wedding…
Last week was a very busy one in The Waterside Churches. It all got a bit Messy in Devoran on Sunday afternoon as The Carnon Valley Messy Church relaunched after the pandemic.
I have so much news to share with you. If I were you I’d grab a cup of tea or coffee, a biccie and your diary now before you read on…
Anne, Jane and the team welcomed children and their parents to enjoy an afternoon packed with activities, craft, worship and a Bible story. A fabulous feast followed and Doug played the accordion. What more could any child want from a Sunday afternoon?! It was so good to see Messy Church in our community and to be able to offer another strand to our ministry to young people.
If you feel that you could offer any support to this monthly group please do let Anne Ramsden (Church Warden in Devoran) know. More volunteers would be very welcome.
On Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of conducting the wedding of Olivia and Henry in St Feock Church. It was a joy filled occasion and the church was filled with the most beautiful summer flowers. Seeing two people who love each other joined in holy matrimony is one of the greatest joys of being a Priest.
Our churches held four services of worship on Sunday morning. The BCP Holy Communion Service on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 8.30am in St Piran’s is a blessing. It is a service which is supported by a loyal congregation and one to which anyone is welcome. It is a service which I have grown to love and appreciate in my own ministry. Its's balm for the soul.
Unfortunately, the shadow of Covid-19 is still with us and we have had a few cases in all of our villages. Our parishioners are a wonderful bunch and help and support was offered to those who were poorly very quickly and safely. During phone calls to those who were poorly I learned of others who had tested positive, so please remain vigilant and keep yourselves safe. Covid hasn’t gone away and we still need to look after one another.
Please keep Mr Rod Thoms and his wife Joyce in your prayers as Rod is in Treliske hospital at the moment.
The last few days have seen the love of Christ reflected by so many who have supported and helped those who are poorly and their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who swung into action and got done what needed to be done with love and care.
Chris and I are planning the next Waterside Churches Men’s Breakfast. It will be held on 30th July at the Perranwell Centre from 9am. Chris will be hosting and I will be at the hob again whipping up a full English cooked breakfast, If you think that you could come and help to set up and to serve breakfast we would be very grateful, please give me a call.
Do let Chris or I know if you would like to book a breakfast on 01872 276 357.
The Waterside Churches Summer Holiday Club team met last week to make final arrangements for the re-launch of the club. Children aged 5 and above are welcome to come along to the Perranwell Centre on 4th/5th and 6th of August. The theme is ‘Red Alert! Flood Warning: the story of Noah’ It promises to be a full few days of fun, craft, Bible Stories, games, bell ringing, singing and food. We finish on Saturday afternoon with a BBQ.
On Sunday 7th Sunday I will be leading a special Summer Club service to celebrate the children and the club. If you would like to book a place for your child do check the details on the website or call Mrs Chris Ryall.
On 31st July we will be holding a joint benefice service in St Piran’s church. Our Archdeacon, Paul, will be preaching. It will be a year since I joined you all (where has that time gone?!) and we will be sharing coffee and cake after the service at 10am. It will give us an opportunity to look back at all that we have done over the last year together and to look forward to what is to come. All welcome, do please join us.
Well, I hope that you enjoyed your cuppa and biscuit as you read about just some of the news and things that are happening in our churches. I hope that if you dunked your biscuit it remained intact (there’s nothing worse than your dunked biccie dropping into your brew!). Personally I’m not a ‘dunker’ as I can guarantee that I would end up with a soggy ‘Rich Tea’ mess…
I do however drink copious amounts of tea (I am a real Vicar cliche). Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned but I like my tea made in a tea pot (with fancy tea cosy of course) and leaf tea, served in a china cup. I am a bit of a collector of china tea sets and love scouring antiques and charity shops for them.
If you fancy sharing a cup of something I am always very happy to share a pot. It’s much nicer to share chat over a brew than to drink alone, just let me know and I’ll have the kettle on.
I wonder what the Waterside Churches biscuit of choice is? For me, a Rich Tea can’t be beaten. Chris prefers a chocolate digestive, undunked. I am also partial to a Garibaldi (we used to call them a ‘fly cemetery’ at school).
Whatever you week holds I pray that it is blessed.
Revd Karen… off to put the kettle on again and warm the pot.
‘Love actually is all around…’ (to quote Hugh Grant)
The opening scene of the film ‘Love Actually’ shows the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport and the loving reunions between family and friends. Hugh Grant’s Voice-Over of the scene talks about love. His last line is “Love actually is, all around”.
Last weekend the Archbishop of Canterbury visited the diocese. On Friday evening he spoke about ‘Jesus shaped love’. As a very ‘visual’ person the image that popped into my head at that moment was of the outline of a man, akin to a jigsaw piece in the shape of Jesus.
Justin asked the churches in the diocese to take our worship outside, to be visible witnesses in our communities. All three churches held their services outdoors (despite the rather wintery weather!). Like the early Christians, we met to worship and praise god outside. Those early Christians did not have churches (they weren’t invented!) And often met outside or in their homes (if there was room). They defied the risks and persecution to be visible witnesses to God’s love.
The image of ‘Jesus shaped love’ gave me food for thought. In my mind I saw a Jesus shaped puzzle piece, which led me to think of a Jesus shaped ‘hole’ in an unfinished puzzle. Jesus represents love in its purest, greatest and unending form. What does a ‘Jesus shaped’ hole look like?
1 Corinthians 13 tells us, starting at verse four, ‘ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’.
This is a marvellous piece of Scripture because it tells us what love is and also what it isn’t. We know and live this Christian love in our own lives though…don’t we? The church in Corinth seemed to have forgotten “Jesus shaped’ love.
This letter from Paul, was written to correct what he saw as the erroneous views in the Corinthian church. He had heard reports that things were not well in the church. Paul challenges believers to examine every area of their lives through the lens of the Gospel. Among the problems in this early church were claims of spiritual superiority over one another and Paul set out to demand higher ethical and moral standards.
Chapter 13 of the epistle begins with a very clear message to the Corinthians, ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’
To quote the singer Tina Turner, ‘What’s love got to do with it’. Paul tells us that love has everything to do with it. He makes it clear that we should be living witnesses and examples of this Jesus shaped love. We are nothing if we do not live our lives as Jesus examples to us. It’s all just hot air otherwise. If we don’t live out the love of Jesus, if we give into human pettiness and ego we may as well be a clanging cymbal; all sound and no true meaning.
Lascelles Abercrombie, in his poem ‘Hymn to love’ says, ‘For love doth use us for a sound of song, and love’s meaning our life wields, making our souls like syllables to throng his tunes of exaltation’ and ends with, ‘Yea, love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee, thy thoughts golden and glad name, the mortal conscience of immortal glee. Love’s zeal in love’s own glory. I am sure that Abercrombie must have been familiar with I Corinthians.
We are called to be Christians to sing a pure and true song of love, not to bang away on a cymbal or gong, dancing to our own tune for our own ends.
Paul tells us, ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ When it comes down to Christina faith and witness in its simplest form, it is all about love; The Jesus shaped love that has been given to us by our saviour, Jesus Christ. A love that he asks us to example to everyone whom we meet.
Whatever your week holds, may it be full of love, both given and received.
Crowns, community, cake and… more cake!
The Queen’s Platinum weekend was an historic occasion. None of us have ever seen one before and we won’t again. It was a packed weekend of celebrations and all three of our churches held special services.
Sunday 5th June was also Pentecost. We remember the day that God sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples and, in turn, to us. Jesus promised that we would not be left alone and we received the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide, to comfort and to inspire us.
I wrote the Order of Service for 5th June to reflect the twin themes of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration that the Queen’s own faith brings to her life and work. Each community celebrated differently with one theme running through them all… cake!
It wouldn’t be a church ‘do’ without plenty of cake to go around. The local bakers pulled out all of the stops and there were some magnificent cakes and bakes to enjoy.
The Queen has seen so many changes during her 70 year reign. There have been huge leaps forward in medical treatments, man has gone to the moon and technology is unrecognisable. Fashions have come and go… twin sets, platform shoes, mini skirts, loon pants, kaftans and the drainpipe trouser have all been worn.
My Mum’s cousin was a chaplain at Windsor Castle and my Dad’s cousin was a Vicar in Suffolk. Generations later and I follow suit as a Vicar. The life and ministry of a Cleric has also changed over the last 70 years. It is more unusual to find one Vicar as the Incumbent of one church. My distant relatives would probably not recognise too much about my ministry today. For one thing, women were not allowed to become ordained priests in their day.
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the commitment to a Priest’s calling from God. It is a call to lay aside one’s life and dedicate it to God and to the community which they serve. Becoming a Priest takes at least seven years and their calling from God is discerned rigorously and thoroughly during that time.
It is not a process that is taken up lightly and is undertaken with humility and prayerfully. Training takes three years in most cases and Curacy follows.
Being a Vicar is not something that I would describe as a ‘job’, it is a life. It is a huge privilege and a blessing.
During the Platinum Jubilee various television programmes spoke about the Queen’s lifelong dedication to her faith, which has deepened and matured during her lifetime.
It is something which sustains her and in which she finds hope and comfort.
The Queen’s faith is her bedrock and her mainstay, a constant throughout her life.
My ministry is to install that kind of discipleship into those whom I serve by my own example. This kind of faith is all about priorities, putting God first; loving God because He loves each of us and loved us first.
It is all about love, it’s always all about love.
Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed and full of love.
Normal service is resumed….
Normal service is resumed…the flip flops have been consigned to the wardrobe, the picnic bag is back in the cupboard and the wet suits are hung up…
I returned to ministry after two weeks of annual leave with Chris and Willow (the pug) this morning. We had a wonderful two weeks exploring the Duchy, swimming, body boarding, walking and relaxing. We stayed at home and went out and about from here. The weather wasn’t quite so glorious at times but that didn’t deter us from getting out and about. I have managed to get a bit of a tan although with the rain I’m not sure of it isn’t a bit of rust….
The sea is definitely warming up and it was lovely to see others enjoying a good swim, just as we did. We are still swimming in our winter wet suits, we haven’t been brave enough to go in without them as yet! Somehow we managed to go for two weeks without a single Cornish pasty passing our lips, not sure how that happened!
One of the lovely things about having a ‘staycation’ is that there is no unpacking to be done! It was good to be able to come home after a day out and be in our own home and to sleep in our own bed!
Whilst I was away ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ began. I do hope that you are joining me in praying for five people to come to know Jesus in their lives during this nine days of prayer.
Tonight brings our Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Service at St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal at 7pm. We will be praying for others as well as for ourselves and our churches/communities. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to join our prayers together and to support one another in prayer.
There will be prayer stations around the church which will focus our minds on who and what we are praying for. All welcome, do come along and join us.
As promised, I prayed for you all whilst I was sitting on Mawgan Porth beach. It was a gloriously sunny and warm day and, along to the sound of the lapping waves I spent some time in prayer. I don’t usually pray whilst in a wet suit and sea shoes but I’m sure that God didn’t mind…
Praying outside is something that I do quite often, somehow being immersed in God’s marvellous creation focusses the mind.
Do keep checking the website for updates on Thy Kingdom Come as well as Jane’s posts on FaceBook (The Waterside Churches FB page).
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is almost upon us and a long weekend of celebrations begins. Again, do keep an eye on the website for details of events and services.
Sunday 5th June is Pentecost and we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Our services will combine the Jubilee celebrations and Pentecost. There will be services in all three of our churches on Sunday morning at 10am.
There is a lot happening in our churches and communities over the next few weeks. The Archbishop of Canterbury will be visiting the diocese on 17th-19th June. I saw yesterday that ++Justin has mild pneumonia and has now contracted Covid-19. Please do keep his recovery in your prayers and I do hope that he will be recovered enough to join us in the diocese in June as planned.
I look forward to catching up with you all very soon as I get back into my stride after our holiday.
KAREN'S 23RD MAY MESSAGE
I may be on annual leave but I am taking this opportunity to remind you about ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.
I haven’t stepped away from the beach or kicked off the flip flops to stop and to do a bit of work.
I wrote this ‘Karen’s Corner in advance’ of the start of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ on Thursday 26th May.
In the days between Ascension and Pentecost, it has been the habit of many Christians, for many centuries, to make the focus of our prayers the same as those first believers.
“Thy Kingdom Come’ encourages each of us to hold 5 specific people in mind in these days; so that the Gift of the Father would work through us for their sake, but also would touch their hearts.
The prayer is very simple, “Come Holy Spirit’. I would encourage you to spend a few moments thinking about 5 people who you would like to see come to know Jesus in their lives. Please pray for them.
There will be resources to help your prayers on the website and booklets in church. These resources have been prepared before hand and have been sent to Paul so that our website can be updated daily (thank you Paul). Please check the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ page daily for updates, readings and reflections.
There will be a service of prayer on 31st May at 7pm in St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal to help us to focus our prayers. This will be a short service of worship and prayer, including the opportunity to use prayer stations. All welcome.
During ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we are invited to discover new habits and ways of praying to God.
I hope that you will find a new spiritual rhythm to your prayers which will nourish you spiritually. We will be a part of a global wave of prayer during these days.
I hope that you will take this opportunity to join me and to pray for five people who you would like to come to know God in their lives and, God willing, get to know Him as we do.
I look forward to seeing you again next week after my holiday. Whatever your week holds, I pray that it is blessed.
… on a beach somewhere in Cornwall…
… with a good book in hand….
…toes in the sand….
KAREN'S LATEST - 16th MAY
I’m here but not here….
I’m not here…
As you read this I will have put my clerical collars back in their box, the flat shoes are in the bottom of the wardrobe and my cassock is in the dry cleaners.
My wet suit is in the car, my flip flops are on and my ‘out of office’ message is on my computer.
Brothers and Sisters, the Vicar has left the building… well, not exactly but I am on annual leave for two weeks. We are staying at home but we won’t be working.
These next two weeks are an opportunity for Chris and I to spend some time together, get the wet suits out, get into the water and to rest for a while. It’s a time to spend in nature, to explore and to enjoy each other’s company.
Our daily routines change and a that is as good as a rest, as they say.
Monday 16th May would have been my beloved Dad’s birthday. He was not a ‘natural’ on holiday. He, like me, took a couple of days to unwind and to start relaxing. When I was a child he would lay my duvet on the back seat of the car and pop my pillow behind my head before we started our journey to wherever we were spending our holiday. It was his way of saying, ‘settle down, this could take some time…’ He would get into the driver’s seat, stick a Shirley Bassey tape in and off we would go, in the vain hope that we would reach our destination before midnight!
Our destination was often Cornwall or Devon. Back then, in the mists of time before the M25 and the SatNav, it was a VERY long journey. We would often see the sights of London more than once on our circuitous journey to Hayle. Mum was a dreadful map reader and I recall seeing the tourist sights of central London three times during one journey…
Someone once said, ‘It’s often the journey and not the destination that matters most’. I don’t who that was but he never travelled with my Mother.
There is a truth in that saying however. It is those travels in my Dad’s Ford Granada that I remember most. Happy memories that still make me laugh. He would give me the history of the famous sights that we were seeing. He loved history and I had to recite the history of The Monument each time we went to London.
Those holidays started a life-long love of Cornwall. I have some Cornish blood and often returned to Cornwall on holiday, it had a magnetic pull. Returning was like recharging my spiritual batteries, plugging myself back into the place where I felt truly at rest.
There was something that touched my soul. I felt at home, at peace and it was always a wrench that brought tears to my eyes when I had to get back in the car and head back to Essex.
I would sit on Mawgan Porth beach on the last day of each holiday and talk to God. I would ask Him if there was a way that I could come back to live here. I asked that same question for over 20 years.
Nothing is ever in our time, it’s always in God’s time. He knows when it is the right time for us, his beloved children.
Sometimes it’s hard to accept that. Our prayers aren’t always answered quickly or in the way that we want. God has a way of knowing what we need and not always what we want, when we want it.
Being on annual leave here in a place that means so much to me is a joy and one that I am grateful to God for. I will sit on Mawgan Porth beach at some point in the next two weeks and this time my conversation with God will be different. It will be to say ‘thank you’ and to ask him to continue to bless my life and ministry here in Cornwall.
There will be no Shirley Bassey belting out ‘Big Spender’ in the car and I won’t be sitting on a duvet on this holiday.
However, as Dame Shirley once sang, “Something in the way he knows, all I have to do is think of him. Something in the things he shows me’ (Something).
God does know and all we have to do is think of Him and have a conversation with Him and He will show us the way.
Whatever you are doing in the next two weeks, may it be blessed.KAREN'S LATEST - 16th MAYKAREN'S LATEST - 16th MAY
What day of the week is it and where am I going…?
The life of a Vicar is never dull, that’s for sure!
Last week someone told me that I couldn’t be in two places at once. I’m not That’s very true. Unless I was Hermione Grainger out of the Harry Potter novels who had a ‘Time Turner’ I can’t and I certainly wouldn’t want to be.
My diary is full, yes that’s true. However, as a very wise Vicar once told me, ‘it’s important to be present in the present’. A Vicar’s ministry is full of ‘mind swerves’ that’s for sure. One day last week I attended church business meetings, conducted an interment of ashes, arranged a Christening, visited parishioners and wrote invoices for weddings, amongst other things. Unless I am ‘present in the present’ I don’t allow God to work through any of these situations. Each one is of equal importance and it’s also important to be fully ‘present’.
Every evening I sit at my desk and check my colour coded diary (I know… but I do like a bit of organisation!) and plan my movements for the next day. I will admit that are those days when I ask myself, ‘what day is it and where am I going?!’
Underpinning all of my ministry is a robust prayer life. When I was Ordained I made a promise to my Bishop to pray the ‘daily office’ twice a day. There’s so much more than those twice daily prayers though.
I pray when I am in the car, when I sit on a beach, when I am in church and when I am shopping in Truro. I pray everywhere and throughout each day. I pray as if God is sitting/walking next to me. Sometimes I begin with ‘God, yep it’s me again, I just have another one that I want to give to you’. Sometimes it is a simple ‘Thank You!’
Other times words fail me and I just sit and offer what is on my heart to God, to leave it at His feet and simply to know that He knows. There are also times when I say, ‘Well God, that could have gone better or I could have done something different there, help me to do that next tim’.
Sometimes it’s just about sitting in the silence and listening to God and not saying anything at all. It can be when all you have are tears. Each tear can be a prayer and God sees and knows what’s caused each one that falls.
Before any service of worship it’s very important to pray. I pray with the choirs and those who are taking part in the service. Our prayers bring us into the presence of God, to offer our worship to Him and to ask for his blessing upon it. It’s a few minutes that still our minds and opens our hearts to what God will do in our worship.
From 26th May until 5th June (Ascension Day until Pentecost) we are called to pray as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. During this time we are invited to discover new habits and ways of praying to God, that those we know might come to Jesus.
There will be a Service of Prayer at St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal at 7pm Tuesday 31st May as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.
Our website also has more information about this 9 days of prayer and I will be providing resources to help all of us to pray. If you would like to have a chat about prayer or would like me to pray with you or for you please give me a call.
As Christians, having prayer life which sustains us and gives us life is vital to our faith. So if you are a ‘prayer warrior’ or a newbie to praying do join in. If you would like me to pray for you or with you, just give me a call. God wants nothing more than for us to have a relationship with Him, to speak to Him. The glorious thing about that is that it doesn’t matter how we do it or when, just that we DO IT! There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to pray, it’s just about having a conversation with God, just like you do with anyone whom you love.
Not loaves and fishes but cake and a Full English…
Jesus’ ministry often involved meals; a wedding feast, loaves and fishes that fed hundreds, fish over a fire on the beach and the last night that he spent with his disciples involved sharing a meal together.
This week I haven’t lit a fire and BBQ’d some fish as Jesus did in our Gospel reading. However, this last week has involved sharing food. Hospitality has always played an important part in my ministry and the example that Jesus gave in his ministry has always been an influence in my own.
On Friday our volunteers who had worked so hard over Holy Week and Easter gathered together at The Parish Centre in Devoran to share coffee and cake. It was my opportunity to host and to thank them in person for all of their efforts.
It was a joy to see people gathered around one long table, chatting and enjoying each others’ company.
On Saturday morning Chris hosted another ‘Men’s Breakfast’. 18 sat down to a full English breakfast, read the newspapers and again, enjoyed each others' company. I donned my pinny once more and manned the stoves. A huge thank you to Mandy and Trish whose help was invaluable.
After breakfast we had a fun quiz and those gathered guessed the theme tunes to some TV shows. David Simmons aced that part of the quiz and his knowledge of theme tunes had to be heard to be believed!
We have booked The Perranwell Centre on 30th July for another of these events. Do let Chris or I know if you would like to book a breakfast.
Staying with theme of hospitality, this week has been one of plate spinning. Keeping all of the plates spinning at the same time is a bit like some aspects of ministry. When the dog ate my Filofax (see last week’s Karen’s Corner for that minor disaster!) I realised just how much I rely on keeping notes in the right order; with deadlines that are colour coded. Ministry involves so many different threads that it reminds me of a meme that made me laugh, ‘My mind is like my internet browser. 19 tabs are open, three of them are frozen and I don’t know where the music is coming from…’
I have found a system that works for me but like all things that are linked to a human, it’s not fool-proof. I have found a peace with that fact and that it is OK. I would never profess to be perfect, nobody can. That takes me back to our gospel reading for last week. Jesus asks Peter to look after his sheep, his flock. He knew that Peter had denied him and had run away the night before he was crucified. Despite this human reaction He felt that Peter was just the right man to look after his flock. He knew that Peter loved Him and that his heart was for Jesus’ followers. I take great comfort in that.
As a Vicar there is always lots of time spent doing paperwork, organising and ensuring that one is on top of everything that needs to be done. There is joy to be found by stepping away for a while and having a good catch up with parishioners over a coffee. If you would like to join me for a cup of something please do give me a ring. I am always just on the end of the phone if you would like a chat. If I am unavailable do leave a message and I’ll get back to you (07591 240 640). I am a bit of a Vicary cliche in that there can never be too much tea!
Whoever you are sharing your hospitality with this week I pray that it is a blessed one.
Karen's Latest Thoughts
The Best laid plans....
I had a plan for last week. I should know better by now that the best laid plans of mice and men etc etc....
My plan was to take a bit of time off after a busy Holy Week and Easter Day. However, things didn't quite pan out. Instead the week was busy, filled up with enquiries about weddings and memorial services, meetings and other things and before I knew it the weekend was upon me.
I did get some quiet time and finished reading a short novel, which is in itself a novelty for me. It was a real treat to sit down with a brew and to read for pleasure. I confess that it wasn't 'War and Peace' or anything highbrow but it was a ripping good story!
Amongst the busyness of the week God was doing His usual thing, he was moving in this place. Well I say place, I mean three places! Lots of people spoke to me about Holy Week and Easter Day and how they really felt that they had 'gone on a journey' through Holy Week with Jesus and the disciples. These conversations were a real answer to prayer and were a joy to have. There were plenty of other blessings as the week went on and there is so much that is positive happening in our three churches.
I conducted the funeral of the late Doug Angwin at St Piran's Church on Wednesday and the church was full of Doug and Sue's friends and family. Please do keep Sue in your prayers at this difficult time.
Thursday brought the monthly planning session for the Devoran Worship For All meeting. It's always good top join the team and to help plan the service and to chew over the lectionary.
At St Feock on Sunday it was lovely to have Bishop Philip and his family join us. +Philip baptised his great Nephew and we welcomed a new member into the family of Christ.
Last week also brought a bit of an organisational hiccup as Willow (our Pug) decided that she would go into my office and eat my Filofax! As some of you know, I am a quite a traditional kind of woman where it comes to keeping life and ministry in order. I like to see a page of notes and my diary, I always have. I use a fountain pen most of the time and my Filofax contains my life between it's covers. Whilst I was at the Coffee Stop in Perranwell she had committed this dastardly deed.
Willow had not only chewed it, she had scattered all of the many pages across the sitting room floor. My life literally flashed before my very eyes... No two pages were in order, some were eaten, others were torn into pieces. She looked at me, with a corner of a page sticking out of her mouth, caught mid chew. She has a way of looking at me with her big brown eyes which means that I can't stay cross with her.
The issue is resolved, life has returned to some paper order and Willow is none the worse for wear for her foray into filing. The first thing I did was to diarise some time off next Wednesday. On Monday, my usual day off I have a Zoom meeting with the College of evangelists at Lambeth palace to discuss our services on 19th June, when the Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting the Diocese. Keep an eye open for our plans on the website.
Have a blessed week
Karen’s Corner - ‘He is risen and the Vicar went down…’
I began Easter Day at a time that even the birds were only just clearing their throats in preparation for the dawn chorus.
I went into the garden to cut a wand of Rosemary for the sunrise service and tripped over our fire pit. I went down in a very undignified manner…
On Good Friday I had managed to trap my toes in the car door as Chris pulled away from Penpol. Thank goodness for the extra large bottle of Arnica gel for bruising that I keep at home!
Anywho… Christ is Risen, Alleluia Alleluia! Easter Day was celebrated in all three of our churches with a Holy Communion Service. All of the churches looked beautiful, dressed in their floral finery and adorned with the special lilies of remembrance. We had visiting family members as well as those who had not been to a service of worship before, which was a real blessing. Children and young people were amongst the full congregations, again another blessing to us.
The Easter Trail in Perranwell attracted families who joined us for our Easter Event in St Piran’s Church hall on Holy Saturday. Great fun was had by all as we checked trail answers, listened to the Easter Story and made Easter gardens.
God had certainly answered our prayers with regards to young people as we have now reinstated links with the schools, our Youth Church group is under way and our Easter Events and services attracted young families. We will now be working to build on this and finding out where God is leading us. We are all aware of just how important, on so many levels, that children and young families are to our churches.
The Walk of Witness on Good Friday was very well attended by folk from various churches. Again, young families joined us for part of the walk and it was a real joy to see children walking (or being carried aloft) along the route.
It was privilege to lead the walk as the co-ordinator for Churches Together Up The Creek. We were met at Penpol Chapel with a wonderful spread of food, which was delicious!
The folk who walked commented that they were glad of the shorter route this year due to their advancing years and I will keep this in mind for next year.
Please do check the website for more pictures of Holy Week.
My prayers and hopes for Holy Week in the three churches was that it would be a journey that we would take together. Rather than jumping straight from the triumphal entry in to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the celebration of Easter Day we would travel with Jesus, as his disciples through the whole week.
Services and events were planned to ensure that churches and communities had the opportunity to deepen their own discipleship in this holiest of weeks. How can we spread the God News of the Gospel if we don’t live it ourselves?
To enable this week to happen I would like to thank our fabulous group of volunteers who worked so hard throughout this week. Services and events were planned with love and care and everyone put so much energy into all that went on in our churches.
We started on Wednesday with a reflective and powerful Tenebrae Service, complete with the throwing of 30 pieces of silver.
St Piran’s held an Agape meal on Thursday evening with foot washing and Chris led our prayer by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, the language which Jesus would have spoken.
All three churches were offered the opportunity to sit with Jesus at the foot of the cross on Good Friday and to reflect upon his crucifixion. Thank you to Jane and Janet for leading these moving services at Devoran and St Piran’s.
Holy Saturday brought our Easter Event at St Piran’s and David Harris lit us a wonderful Easter Fire. Were joined by families in church for a service of light afterwards.
Easter Sunday stared in the most wonderful way. Jane and I were joined by 27 folk on Devoran Quay for our Sunrise Service at 6am. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning; a full moon, a full tide, bird song and a clear sky. It was breath taking. Revd Canon Martin Boxall blessed us all and we returned to church for coffee and croissants.
New Paschal candles have been lit, we have witnessed the promise of the risen Christ who has overcome death and we have shouted our ‘Alleluias!’. We are an Easter people and ask that our God of glory to continue to fill our churches with faith and hope.
Right, I’m off to slather my bruises in Arnica gel and I wish you a blessed week.
An Easter message from Karen
Preparing for Holy Week
As Easter quickly approaches, our minds can be filled filled with ideas of what we need to do…. Preparing our homes to have our families visit us, the Sunday roast, the chocolate eggs for the children etc.
Whereas none of this is ultimately bad for us, do we really take time to consider the depth the week leading up to Easter holds?
May I encourage you to take a step back and journey through Holy Week together, with prepared hearts that draw us to the cross.
Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, starting on Palm Sunday. The point of this week is to provide each believer reflection on the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.
This is a week to celebrate, grieve, and rejoice in the different events that occurred as Jesus prepared for the biggest sacrifice anyone has ever made.
We can prepare our hearts for this week by learning about each day and what scripture has to say about each event that occurs.
Palm Sunday begins our pilgrimage through Holy Week. This day celebrates when Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion. John 12 describes people laying palm branches down in front of Jesus as he entered.
“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'” —John 12:12-13
To prepare our hearts for what scripture has to say, read the following:
• Matthew 21
• Mark 11
• Luke 19
• John 12
Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday is a day when people reflect on the Passover Meal or Last Supper. This is the day when Jesus called his disciples together for one last meal in preparation of the events that would proceed in the days to come.
"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.' When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." — Matthew 26:26-30
Maundy is derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning commandment. It refers to John 13:34 when Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Here are scripture readings to prepare ourselves for this day:
• Matthew 26
• Mark 14
• Luke 22
• John 13
Good Friday is recognised as the day Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. Our Good Friday services will highlight and remember the blessed day when Jesus died for all our sins.
This day is a key day in the Christian faith. Meditating on this day and remembering the reality of Jesus dying on the cross to take away our sins is of utmost importance.
Here are a few Gospel references to prepare for and remember this day
• Matthew 27
• Mark 15
• Luke 23
• John 19
This day is the day between Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here are a couple of Gospel references to prepare your heart:
• Matthew 27: 62-66
• Luke 23:55-56
Easter Sunday is the day that we join together to celebrate the risen Christ. It is a day to celebrate and rejoice that our King has risen from grave and beat eternal death forever! To celebrate this day let’s read what God has for us in Scripture and rest in the fact that Jesus paid the ultimate price for each of us so we can dwell with God forever in his glory.
• Luke 24: 2-3
• John 11: 25-26
• Acts 4:33
• 1 Peter 1:3
• Mark 15: 46-47
• Luke 24: 6-7
• Acts 3:15
• 1 Corinthians 15:3-8
• Mark 16:5-7
• Matthew 27:65-66
• Luke 23: 46-47
• Romans 6:8-11
• Mark 15:32
• Romans 8:34
• Colossians 1:13-14
• Ephesians 1:20
• 2 Corinthians 5:17
• Philippians 2:8
Preparing our hearts and minds for Holy Week is important. Holy Week evokes a whole raft of emotions in us as we journey together from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his desperate plea in the garden of Gethsemene, to the sorrow of his crucifixion, the silence of Holy Saturday and the celebration of Easter Day.
It is a time that leave us feeling exposed and fragile as Christians as we are faced with the horror of the crucifixion, of our own frailties as Christians. There is something important for us in making the journey through the whole of Holy Week and we do this together in our worship, prayer and personal reflection.
It’s easy to jump straight from Palm Sunday to Easter Day and to miss out on the ‘messy bits’ of the denial, betrayal and crucifixion. There is no doubt that these events are uncomfortable as we are faced with human frailty.
The Good News is that by preparing ourselves to be open to what God wants to do in our lives during this coming week, He does with a huge love for us. He knows us, inside and out. He knows what’s on our hearts and what we struggle with. We journey together as The Waterside Churches to the foot of the cross, knowing that God loves us unconditionally, without boundaries.
However we travel through this week, God walks beside us in joy.
I hope that I will see you at our services throughout Holy Week and that we can share worship, prayer and our love for Jesus Christ our Servant King, together.
Have a blessed week
Karen's Latest blog
Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting on the ways that hope and despair have been seen butting up against each other. Joy in the midst of abject suffering; pain in the midst of real rejoicing.
In some strange way, hope and worry were also pictured in a meme I saw doing the rounds recently, featuring two doors: 'Exit Covid' and 'Enter War'. To see war in Europe after such a long period of peace and prosperity is shocking and heart breaking. And yet we have somehow become used to the experience of morning-to-evening footage of the same bad news, having just been through two years of it in the pandemic.
Last week we celebrated Mothering Sunday. The purest picture of the giving of life, and yet also one that captures real pain for the woman who is going through her labour. The bombing of a maternity hospital was surely the most devastating of the stories that came out of Ukraine in the last month; and the photos of some of those babies born safely, some of the most joyous and poignant.
During the last couple of weeks of some of the most dreadful escalation of the war, I must admit to tuning out of much of the news. I was feeling unwell with Covid and each news bulletin brought tears and the pictures from the news stories lingered in my mind.
And two weeks ago, a short interruption in the constant updates from Ukraine, with extraordinary news of an extraordinary mother being released from Iranian prison, reunited with her little girl after an ordeal of nearly six years. Even news reporters and diplomats were filmed weeping with joy.
In these turbulent times of war and injustice we can only remind ourselves during Lent that Jesus is with us on both sides of the cross and death – He is our resurrection hope. This doesn't deny the very real pain and suffering in the world – there is a reason why he is called both the Suffering Servant as well as the Prince of Peace, the lamb slain before the foundations of the world as well as the conquering Lion of Judah. But Christ is the Alpha and Omega, in whom everything is held together: death and life, human and divine, mourning and joy, time and eternity. We need to turn to him as our firm foundation, and remember the promise that despite the uncertainty of the world, there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Have a blessed week
LATEST BLOG FROM KAREN
I came across this piece of prose on Twitter this week. It was tweeted by The Bodmin Hermit. He lives in solitude in Cornwall along with his Greyhound Sophie. His tweets are often very beautiful in their simplicity.
This tweet was entitled,
'Where are you God?'
I am in the next seat.
My shoulder against yours.
You will not find me in the stupas,
nor shrine rooms,
nor in eating nothing but vegetables.
When you really look for me,
I am the breath inside your body.
This reminded me of the time that a very experienced and incredibly wise Priest told me that God was always closer to me than my very own breath, closer to me than the pillow that I lay my head upon at night.
I think that it can be easy to forget that God is so close to us each and every day. In the busyness of our lives we just 'get on' with what we feel that we need to be doing each and every day. As Christians, God is the very air that we breathe. He is always there, even if we forget that He is at times.
Having had Covid-19 for the past week has made me slow down. The cough that feels as if it is registering on the Richter Scale brings one to an abrupt stop at times! Chris also had Covid at the same time and we sounded like a couple of barking seals. We would sit outside in the morning sunshine with a coffee and take it in turns, it seemed, to have a good cough in the fresh air. Not going out or being in the churches felt very odd. The quiet times that I spend in prayer in the churches was done at home.
It was good to think that God was with me, as the tweet says; at my shoulder, in the next chair. There was quiet time to be reminded that God is the air that I breathe. He is all round and ever present. When we feel unwell or are having a tough time it can be hard to find God in the messy parts of our life. I made a conscious decision to really look for God in all that was happening.
God was there in the small things of last week: having time to notice that the blossom was in bud on the trees in the garden, that there was a Robin teaching his offspring to use the bird feeders, that we could laugh at the absurdity of a joint coughing session, the glorious sunshine, the joy in reading a new book. There were also the lovely emails and phone calls from parishioners asking after our health. Thank you to all of you who got in touch, your messages were very much appreciated.
One sadness of last week was not being with Revd Jonathan and Hilary as they said Goodbye to the Waterside Churches. It has been good to have them both with us and we wish them every blessing upon their new ministry and in their new home. I know that they were given a wonderful send off and that they appreciated their gifts and cards.
I look forward to being back out and about later this week now that I have had two negative LFT. I do get 'itchy feet' if I don't get out and have a good walk. Now that the weather is warming up I'm also looking forward to getting back into the water and having a swim in the sea.
Have a blessed week, stay safe and well.
Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in our area and some of our parishioners have contracted the virus over the last week. We have been in contact with them to ensure that they have all that they need and to 'check in' on them. They are all in my prayers and I wish them a very speedy recovery.
May I respectfully request that, if you do feel unwell and are showing symptoms of the virus please do not come to church or any of the events that are currently going on in our churches. Please do a LFT test and let myself or one of our Church Wardens know: we are here to support and help you as well as to pray for you. It is imperative that we keep each other safe and well as cases rise.
Chris has tested positive for the virus this week and has been feeling quite unwell. I appreciate that we are told that the Omicron variant of the virus is not as debilitating as the Delta variant. However, for those with underlying health conditions and our older parishioners it can still 'knock them for six'.
If you feel uncomfortable about mixing socially or coming to church because of the virus do let me know. I can keep in touch by phone or pay a visit (once Chris tests negative). I think that, at the moment, it is best if I keep my distance a little until Chris is well again. I do feel a weight of responsibility to ensure that you are all kept safe and well whilst still doing what I can to support you.
March 27th is Mothering Sunday and we will be marking this in our churches during our services of worship. Mothering Sunday can be difficult for some. For those whose Mums have died or who have had difficult relationships with their Mums it can be a 'crunchy' kind of day. If you find this day difficult do give me a call, I am very happy to pray for you and to have a chat. I too, find Mothering Sunday a bit 'crunchy'. My own Mum died four years ago and I have never had children of my own. It is a blessing to be able to conduct services of worship on Mothering Sunday and I love to see families gathered and Mother figures celebrated. However, I always ensure that I have some time during the day to reflect and to pray; for my own Mum and to just 'sit' with my own feelings in God's presence.
In order to sit and reflect and to pray I need time. As we all know, time can be difficult to find in our busy lives. We are all bombarded with news and we are still dealing with the pandemic and our own lives can be chock full of 'stuff'. It is important to take some time out, to spend some time allowing ourselves just to 'be'. Self care is vital and Lent calls us to be mindful of taking time to pray, to reflect, to read and to just 'be' in God's presence as we move towards Easter.
Our churches play an important part in this self care. They are places of tranquility, of peace and of comfort. St Feock, St John and St Petroc churches are open daily for private prayer and St Piran's is open each Wednesday morning. You are always very welcome to come in and just 'be'. Sometimes there are no words that need to be found, no prayers said, just silence. God is in that silence and hears you. He knows you better than you know yourself and knows what is on your heart and in your mind.
Please do stay well and safe. Take good care of yourselves and I am only at the end of the phone if you would like to talk. I am equally happy just to sit in silent companionship if that is what you need. My husband would say that I find silence difficult as I love to chat but I can do silence when needed!
'The second week of my ministry in The Waterside Churches didn't end quite as I expected! I was 'pinged' by the NHS on Wednesday evening, which was unexpected. Chris wasn't 'pinged' and neither of us have any symptoms. We are testing very regularly and we are both 'negative', which is good. We are both extremely careful and still continue to wear masks, sanitise and don't go anywhere that is crowded. It has been a reminder that Covid-19 is still very much around and we all need to be very mindful about what we do.
I would like to thank all of the Church Wardens, Revd Jonathan and our team of volunteers who have been incredibly supportive and who stepped in at the last minute to lead and help at planned services.
Being in self isolation is not something that comes easily to me, I confess. I like to be out and about on foot and I had only just got into my stride with my rota of visiting churches and parishioners. I am an 'outdoors' person and find it difficult not to be able to just 'pop out' for a good walk. My trainers are looking a bit bereft in my wardrobe! Being at home has given me the opportunity to do some extra reading however.
By nature, I am an introvert and do enjoy times where I can sit quietly to pray and to read. Sitting in silence is something that I have grown to appreciate more since training as a Priest. I have always enjoyed reading and writing a journal as well as spending time in prayer and reflection. Working as a Priest allows time to plan into my working week times of prayer and for reading and study. Prior to Ordination my work in education meant an incredibly full diary and very often no breaks during the day, with lunch eaten on the hoof or at my desk. Finding a good life/work balance was difficult and one had to be incredibly resilient. I saw many a good teacher 'burn out' and give up teaching because of this. Over the years I learned many skills that enabled me to sustain this type of working life and continue to use those skills as a Priest.
Mondays are my rest day and I will return any calls or messages on a Tuesday, unless there is a dire emergency.
Chris and I are very sociable people and enjoy the company of others and I spend a lot of time as a Vicar with others, which is a joy and a blessing. I also recognise when I need to stop and have some quiet time too. Like many things in life, it is about finding a good balance.
Chris has been sent on an errand to collect some new 'work' shoes for me this morning as I am in isolation. The shoes that I chose come from a company called 'Heavenly Feet' which seemed quite appropriate. The style of shoes also have a name, 'Angel' which is something that made me chuckle and made Chris raise a wry eyebrow! I chose 'Heavenly Feet' because they are a company who provide vegan friendly footwear and have recyclable packaging with no plastic.
Since moving into our new house I have put up lots of bird feeders in the garden. I am sitting in my office with the doors open, looking at the increasing number of birds who have found the feeders. We have a family of blue tits, a newly fledged family of long tailed tits and a father blackbird who feeds his one fledgling at them. A newly fledged Robin also visits and he is gradually gaining his scarlet waistcoat. Squirrels race up and down the trees and try to help themselves from the peanut feeder. After reading the reports of how climate change is having such an impact upon our world it has led me to reflect upon how we can do more to protect God's beautiful creation in The Waterside Churches.
I look forward to getting out and about again and to meeting more of you once my period of isolation is over. Please do let me know if you would appreciate a pastoral visit or call.
IN THE PARISHES
KAREN WILL BE IN THE PARISHES AS FOLLOWS:
Tuesdays: Devoran. 9.00 for morning prayer - noon. Based in the church office. Includes BCP and coffee stop.
Wednesdays: St. Feock. 9.00 for morning prayer - noon. Based in the Vicar's Vestry.
Thursdays: Perranarworthal 9.00 - noon. Based in the Vicar's Vestry. Includes Coffee Stop in The Perranwell Centre