Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Parish Up-dates & Events To Come

After a busy September, there's a slight lull this week before we celebrate our Harvest Festival on Sunday (3rd October), complete with Parish Lunch. At the 10a.m. Sung Eucharist you can bring Harvest Produce to support the work of the People's Kitchen in Newcastle - and money offerings will support USPG's Harvest Appeal.

And the following week (Sunday 10th October) there's a special Victorian Evensong, designed to be as authentically near to what you might have got in 1850, when St. Cuthhbert's Church was consecrated! It's an initiative by Joyful Noise, a local West Gallery group, and they are running a workshop for all who'd like to participate in the choir or as instrumentalists. Evensong will be at 6p.m. - free to all. The workshop costs £5 - from 1.30 for 2p.m. To register for the workshop, contact Win Stokes - winATclarence8.fsnet.co.uk or Chris Gardner - cgardner303ATbtinternet.com (you need to adjust these addresses by susbstituting @ for AT, of course, to make them work).

Full details of what we're planning for October can be found in our new issue of the Parish Magazine. Give it a click and then use the tools to navigate around - you can read it in Full Screen if it helps. Here's this month's "View from the Vicarage."

Note to self…

Rather hastily during September I found myself writing this note:

Having grown up in Hartlepool, I’m now in my 30th year of ordained ministry - all of it served in our Diocese. Living on the edge of the Diocese (Vicar of Benfieldside), I’m concerned with communication and perception; and to counter the temptation to isolationism. I’ve served as an Area Dean and for 15 years or so on the Diocesan Panel working with potential ordination candidates. I work in a tradition which is sacramental and inclusive; hopefully out-going, prayerfully-attuned and theologically-focussed. Single parent of two sons - and I enjoy walking, my mountain bike, poetry and cinema.

It’s the nearest I’ve ever got to writing an election manifesto, though technically it was a “Biographical Note” which I submitted to the Diocese. The occasion was a bye-election to represent the clergy of Durham Archdeaconry on Bishop’s Council. Having been prompted to stand, I decided that at last this was my moment - and readied myself, not exactly for battle, but knowing that there was expected to be another candidate. In the event, though I know at least one other priest was proposed, no other nomination papers were submitted. So there was no election, I was duly declared a member of the Council, and no one got to read the “Biographical Note.” Until I thought to print it here.

And why? Having thought what I could say about myself - as required - in less than 100 words, I realise I still need to live up to it. I’ve not gone on to the Council just to fill a place - and we don’t at present have a Diocesan Bishop to impress. I mean what I say about the importance of the sacramental tradition and prayer and getting things right theologically. When politicians describe something as theological they imply that it’s nit-picking small print and quite unimportant. When I say it, it means it’s about God - so at the very heart of everything.

Similarly I hope you get the drift that I think “vocation” is important - the sense of personal calling. That’s not just about testing vocations to the priesthood. It’s about encouraging people to discern just where God wants them to be - whoever they are, whatever the abilities they think they possess. And inclusiveness is important because God calls to all - each of us has a place in his divine purpose. But do we recognise it? A critical moment for me was the move from saying “someone ought to do something about this” to recognising that that “someone” was me. How about you?

Martin Jackson

Monday, 20 September 2010

Back to Blogging

I'm sorry about the lack of activity in recent weeks on this Blog. First it was a matter of a couple of weeks' holiday. Then back to a very busy September in the parish. I'm afraid I failed to get pictures for our parish's Art Exhibition, which ran alongside the Northumbria Historic Churches Trust Steeplechase - but it was very successful. I did get pictures from last weekend's wedding of Ian Gray and Julie Shotton - a wonderful occasion, though the brightness of the day wasn't helpful to photographers who prefer a bit less contrast. And the church was marvellous to behold - hours of work on the part of flower arrangers paid off supremely, though my camera battery failed just as I took my first shots in church.

Our Reader, Rosie Junemann, continues to preach thought-provoking sermons, and to get them scripted and onto a usable computer file. While I was away in August she addressed issues of how we regard Sabbath and Sunday. And yesterday she contrasted headlines from The Times with those from St. Luke's Gospel which address issues of Wealth, Poverty and Justice. Click your way through!

I've been preaching - but at present you can only catch me "live."

But here are a couple of pictures from my holiday - in a church at Riviere, by the Banks of the Vienne, just outside Chinon. From the outside it was so unassuming that we drove past it. Inside... amazing paintings and triple-tiered architecture. There are more holiday pictures here. Happy viewing - if you want!