What a difference a year makes! Last October we were deep
in the controversy about the Swine Flu epidemic - Remember that!?
And now this year I write this after a very successful Confirmation
Service when it was a joy to see 10 new members of the Church
confirmed and one formally received into communion with the Church
of England - and a nicely full church - most of whom were able
to come and share in communion together ... no worries this year
about whether or not to share the wine. And a few days later
we have baptised another 3 new members of God's family - Kai,
Amber and Daisy-Mai.
By the time
you read this the Pope will have made his State Visit to the
UK. I do hope that all Christians will be able to gain some inspiration
and encouragement from the visit of this leader of one of the
great worldwide churches. And we will be looking forward in the
Lichfield Diocese to the visit of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
the Most Revd. and Rt. Hon. Rowan Williams in early November.
Rowan will not only be visiting Lichfield, but there are events
planned in other locations - notably in Telford, Stafford and
Walsall, that perhaps some of us will be able to attend. The
day in Telford looks particularly interesting with an opportunity
to hear Rowan speak about the 21st Century Church and then in
the afternoon an all-age worship celebration ... "giving
every parish the opportunity to come together as a Diocesan family
to worship God and be addressed by the Archbishop." At a
time when the secular world seems to delight in trying to divide
and conquer those with a faith, it is good to know that we can
come together from various different traditions and listen to
an outstanding theologian. And don't worry - although sometimes
I admit that Rowan can use rather obscure arguments, he is also
very skilled at communicating with those of us with more normal
He is even
braving a youth event featuring 'live bands' at Rising Brook
Baptist Church, Stafford on the Sunday evening - maybe we will
be able to take some of our young people to join in that one
... I bet it will be LOUD - but also joyful and thought provoking.
As some of
you will know, I have also been settling in a new addition to
my household over the past few weeks. Jandi came to me from Sunnyside
Kennels. She was picked up as a stray on the streets of Wolverhampton
and was then in kennels for a month before she chose me to be
her new human. We have had some interesting times together -
largely her teaching me all the things of which she is terrified
- like loud, sudden noises and balls being kicked. But she is
also one of the most affectionate and gentle dogs I have ever
had the pleasure of meeting. At first she seemed totally silent
- not a bark to be heard. But as her confidence has grown and
she has begun to think of the Vicarage as 'home' - 'her home'
- so she has become more vocal in its defence. So now if you
visit me you are likely to be greeted by growls and barks when
you knock on the door. Please don't be put off. Once over the
threshold, she will welcome you like a long-lost friend.
How often do we risk appearing a bit defensive and even aggressive
when we are feeling unsure of our surroundings or other people?
Worth remembering that the person you sometimes think of as 'stand-offish'
or even downright rude may just be feeling shy and uncertain