It seems amazing that it is now 12 months since I was on sabbatical
and enjoying my Hebrew course.... and no, I have not been very
successful at keeping it up - however the basic knowledge is
still there, so I suppose I can always go back to it at some
point in the future.
at Morning Prayer at a Rural Deans' conference, I was reminded
that if we are always looking back - to what has happened - it
can root us for ever in the past. When we want to look forward
we sometimes have to break with tradition and name things anew.
I think this is something that has been happening as some of
us have begun to engage with the process of "Close the Gap"
our partnering arrangement with St Alban's, Ashmore Park. New
possibilities open up; new ways of addressing certain things.
One of the
things we have begun to realise is that poverty can have many
different faces; there is the sort of poverty that is purely
financial of course, but there is also poverty of aspiration
and poverty of relationships that can have just as great - if
not more devastating consequences for those who suffer it. With
our every more fractured and complicated family structures, the
curse of loneliness is something that can affect all communities
- regardless of material wellbeing. Where once close family ties
and large extended families existed, today there are frequently
very many single households or those where people may live under
the same roof, but have little to say to each other and little
interest in each other - which is even sadder.
I am very fortunate
- I am someone who rarely feels lonely even though I live on
my own (and of course I have my dogs and cat who all keep me
very good company). Other people may feel desperately alone -
even when they are in a crowd. Disability and age-related illness
may also be ways in which people find they are isolated from
the support networks that once sustained them.
In this connection
there could be an opportunity for a small number of people from
St Chad's to attend a four-session course of training for those
prepared to champion the cause of Dementia - Friendly churches....
the dates are 1 July, 22 July, 19 July and 12 August. It is
to run from 3.00 to 5.00pm in the Jubilee Rooms at Christ Church,
Tettenhall Wood. It would be good if some of us could take part
and upwards as we look to the future - a more caring, outward-
focused and generous-hearted future. Such qualities are I know
rooted in your DNA as a community - they are what will enable
you to build on your traditions while embracing the new opportunities
and challenges that await.
PS - does anyone
have a few hours a week they would be prepared to give to our
partner parish of St Alban's Ashmore Park, but working from home
here in Pattingham? The Vicar there, Sam Leach, really need some
backup for his administration in that parish - so someone who
has some basic office and computer skills would be ideal. The
congregation of St Alban's are lovely people, but they don't
have much spare capacity to help him in this way - I know there
is lots of ability and experience here in Pattingham. So how
about it? Can someone help??? Speak to me in the first instance,
and I will put you in touch with Sam.