Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The end of April...

I really do breathe a sigh of relief when I get to the end of April. Easter is wonderful - and I had the best part of a week's break following Easter Day. But then it's straight back to work - and that entailed getting ready for our parish's Annual Parochial Church Meeting with all the preparation and paperwork involved, and then the follow-up which requires various returns to the diocese, not least the "Visitation Articles." This year's articles want to know how our parishes are being affected by the Recession, what we've done in the way of Stewardship, and what we think of the new Diocesan Website. All complicated by the fact that the Articles have to be completed by the churchwardens who have served in 2008-2009.

Linda - who is continuing in office for 2009-10 - escaped the paper-filling by taking off to Barcelona, though at the cost of signing a blank form which I've since filled in with Liz, our retiring Warden. I'm glad to say it's in the post. And now we welcome a new Warden, Carol. I made the mistake of telling Carol that she'd find it much easier than being PCC Secretary, a post she held till a couple of years ago - mistake because our present PCC Secretary, Jill, was standing behind me at the time. But all is well, and we had our first PCC Meeting of the new year last night - all posts filled and a new agenda underway. To keep us on the mark, Jill is bringing ever-larger alarm clocks to the meeting - I had to ask her to put yesterday's clock on the floor for the benefit of the other members, since I found myself unable to see over it.

You can catch up on what we've been up to - and plan - in the May issue of the Parish Magazine. Click here - or if you're near to hand, please buy a copy!

No new homilies / sermons to link to. With the APCM following last Sunday's Eucharist it seemed best to be brief, to the point and unscripted. And the previous Sunday found Fr. Harry Lee, one of our more senior clergy, in possession of the pulpit - he needs to be experienced live.

Meanwhile we've had a return of spring warmth today - it seems for one day only. Last Saturday - for the first time this year - I summoned up the energy to get on my bike and ride up the Waskerley Way over the moors to Parkhead Station which, pre-Beeching cuts, had been the highest railway station in England. It was a beautiful day, and the calmest I've ever known it - though a cold wind in our faces sprang up for the return home. En route, we stopped off at Waskerley. Less than 50 years ago the village had a population of 75. Now there are only two inhabited houses. The Methodist Chapel is long closed, but it was good to find the Anglican Church open and well-maintained, though rarely used as part of a group of six or seven parishes. BCP and Hymns Ancient & Modern Revised in the pews. I guess the colours of the hangings are unvarying - in contrast to St. Cuthbert's in its Easter glory above.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Easter 2009

Actually I'm posting this on Easter Eve - a beautiful day with spring warmth as well as sunshine. Daffodils are bearing up well, and all around there's the pale green of new leaves opening on the trees.

Hopefully much the same for everyone! And Easter should be much the same for everyone in terms of its reality... Huh - is that all? What I mean is that it's the reality which needs to be affirmed. But how do people perceive that reality? Or experience it in the midst of whatever is going on in their lives?

That's what I'm trying to explore in my homily for our Easter Eucharist.

Incidentally parish material such as the homilies gets stored off-site with a host whose advertising is sometimes bizarre. Apologies for anyone who gets troubled by this, but it's a useful means of up-loading our stuff. An odd thing about the site is the counter which tells you how much each item has been viewed - it's not entirely consistent... so in the space of a few minutes recently it was telling me that one of my homilies had not been viewed at all, and then that it had been viewed seven times. The one before had been looked at 41 times. But the "wonder" homily appears to have been read 449 times! And I think this figure is probably right... Why? - it seems to attract viewers you need to choose the right "tags" - and in this instance I'd added the labels, "prayer" and "miracle." So now I know what people are looking for!

But for Easter it's "Resurrection," "Faith," "Experience."

Christ is risen! Happy Easter!