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Mothers’ Union Thanksgiving Service address, Sept 16th, 2013

Jeremiah 29:4-7,11-14

It’s a great pleasure to join you today – it seems the third Monday is forever being taken up by other things. And what a treat to be celebrating the work and existence of a branch which has been active in this place for twice as long as I’ve been alive.

We come here to celebrate the past and share in the present, but I suspect also with some sadness and anxiety for the future. As I look round, I know for a fact that many of you joined this Mothers’ Union branch at half my age and yet I see noone else my age, certainly not younger. What does the future hold for us here? And for the Mothers’ Union?

Well I hope all is not lost. The reading I chose for today seems to hold us in the tension of past, present and future. It’s actually the reading that was used for bible study and worship last week at the Mothers’ Union conference. I thought that this might give us a small connection as we come together locally with the wider movement; I thought it would ensure I could encourage you that nationally the conference seemed to be imagining a future; and I thought it was rather an apt passage!

Jeremiah 29 offers us a pretty simple outlook on life: build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat what they produce. Create families and family ties. These are some of the things I have the privilege to hear lots about more…

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Or rather,  prayers in thanksgiving for a new path. For finally, after the debates over concrete/york stone, after the head-scratching about why the architects jutted the steps out into the graved area and not make them adjoin a widened path, and after watching one pushchair pushed off the edge already this morning (ahem), today we dedicate our new ramped access into church.

Together with the council’s rather vigorous removal of ivy which confirmed my suspicions about the actual visibility levels of the place from the road in not very long times gone by, though as yet lacking the new pull up banner still on my drawing board, we hope that it might just off curious onlookers to test out the entry and come on in sometime.

I know that most people had accessible entryways ticked off ages ago, but just in case you happen to need them ever, here are the prayers to be offered at the service: more…

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It’s been quite an emotional day. Funeral ministry is, I think, one of the most privileged parts of my new life, but still, pretty anxiety-inducing to lead your first service, and that was with the vicar doing the address, so there was at least one bit of it not to have had to worry about.

[digression: for those people who think we only work one day a week, my day, varied as it has been, has been along these lines –

more…

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I am the bread of life. A lot of preachers on this passage would like us to move quickly away from the physical nature of the bread and ask us to focus on the I am of Jesus and the spiritual side – the bread of life. A lot of preachers though, may not be quite the fans of the Hairy Bikers that I am. I would like us to think about what Jesus is saying about himself, but perhaps we can work that out by lingering a little more on the bread bit of bread of life.

A few months ago the Hairy Bikers – the local hairy bakers aired a series on their ‘Bake-ation’. Over a six or seven week period they had ridden through almost every country in Europe, watching, learning,  kneading, folding, trying, sharing, eating a range of typical bread products as they went.

And what they noticed more…

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I’ve just spent all afternoon working on a structure for a website for my church. It is, after all, pretty necessary these days to have a web presence. For us particularly, it’s made more important by two factors – i) that we’re closing down our ‘office hour’ in September in favour of trying to make information about baptisms etc more widely available, and ii) that someone has a website that people think – understandably – is ours, only it’s not, it’s about the churchyard, and it currently has a nasty virus about which people keep complaining to us…but it is what comes up when you search… more…

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Take, Lord, and receive,
All my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will.
All that I have and possess, you have given to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
All is yours.
Do with it according to your will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
They are enough for me.

The Ignatius of Loyola prayer read at the beginning and end of each Deacons‘ Retreat address by Canon Mark Macintosh.

 

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…part 2 of 3. How  much stuff? So many boxes I can’t (and daren’t, even if I could) count, and already I’m shattered just with dragging them round the place. But the house is *so* much nicer without the mouldy carpet, and it feels like it could be home. Little things – the price of petrol, beer (unbelievably cheaper in Aldi for 4 than even for one bottle in the new bar pricing), the friendliness of the people. Pizza it is. The new cooker is in and fitted, but the kitchen needs a massive clean when eventually I get hot water. The chore of cooking for myself rears its ugly head instantly. Hmm. It was surprisingly emotional to more…

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or, part 1 of 3 on leaving Westcott. Such a quick turnaround, one minute we’re stuffing in bits of Public Theology knowledge as fast as we can read them, hoping they don’t go straight through, next we’re stuffing stuff in boxes to be stuffed in vans ready to be off. No lying round picnicking this year, it’s out into the big wide world… Which is, of course, the whole point of Westcott, to turn us out for service, out of the comfortable if not always comfortable shelter of our community to the people of God who called us into it in the first place. Bit scary, bit exciting. Due to the bank holiday for Jubilee. I’ll be moving my belongings sooner than a lot, and I remember last year thinking that this more…

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Lots of things to blog instead of revising, some I made a note of, some I didn’t, some I will, some I shouldn’t, but fundamentally, suddenly just one thing to say. Having struggled to say goodbye to James and Caz on Monday, knowing Andrew and I were competing(!) to be next, this morning saw Andy gleefully leaping about saying 7 sleeps 7 sleeps – to the end of the exams.  Nope, said I, to the end. 7 sleeps to the end. In 7 sleeps I’ll be heading off to race the removal van up north. Mahoosive reality check. Permission to freak out yet…?

Genuinely, I can’t work out how I feel about this. I knew it was around the corner, but I don’t think I expected to get to the corner and hardly notice, and then when I get to it, to see the round the corner looming quite so large. Just the small matter of Public Theology en route…

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It’s Ember card season and I have already been overwhelmed by the beauty and creativity of my cohort. It is an absolute joy every day to see something new and different, personal and yet eminently buy-into-able, often but not at all always surprising, often but not at all always match-up-to-the-owner-able. Yesterday more…

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