Friday, 7 October 2011

One week

On Sunday we had our annual Lifeboat service, which I led, and the vicar preached (an excellent sermon).  You can read about our local Lifeboat station and see some photo's of the service here (click here).  I really enjoyed talking to the Lifeboat crewmembers after the service over coffee, because all those I spoke with were amazing guys - so humble and down-to-earth and yet what they do is so giving and sacrificial and really a gift to the community. 

On Monday I had the pleasure of meeting for lunch and discussion with many other women clergy from our archdeaconry, our Dean of Women in Ministry, our Archdeacon and our Suffragan Bishop.  I really enjoyed meeting with other women clergy, especially those I had not yet met.  I love hearing other people's stories of ministry challenges.  In our group discussion we mainly talked about the Church of England's draft legislation on women bishops, particularly the debates that have been happening in local deaneries.  Later on Monday I hosted a ministry team meeting at my house, which I always enjoy because we do talk about things that really matter in the parish, i.e. mission and ministry. 

On Tuesday I conducted a funeral for a baby that lived for just under an hour after being born at 23 weeks gestation.  I had seen the baby's photograph and handprints and footprints, which were just precious.  The mother and father, of course, were devastated.  It was very intense conducting this funeral, compared with how it feels to conduct the funeral of someone in their 90's.  Tuesday evening I attended the Sea Cadets unit where I am chaplain (or Padre).  After colours and prayers I sat in on the Meteorology class, all about clouds and their names and characteristics.  I enjoy getting to know the cadets and having a laugh with them, and the staff are great. 

On Wednesday morning I worked on my two sermons for Sunday.  In the afternoon I got a phonecall from my training incumbent asking if I would go see a parishioner in hospital who, he had been informed, was dying.  This woman was 93 years old and I had visited her at home several times.  At hospital I found her unconscious and breathing was shallow.  The nurse said that she had been alright the night before, but took a turn in the night for the worse.  The woman's two closest friends were there, as she has no family.  I held her hand and prayed with her, the last rites, and read from the psalms and other parts of the bible.  A couple hours after I returned home, I was told that she passed away.  What a deep mystery death is - she passed very peacefully, but I'm sure she heard me, and her friends, while we were there. 

Today, Thursday, in the morning I made sandwiches for the new Lunch Club that was launched today.  Our Lay Reader publicised this lunch club to several establishments around our community where there are people who have mental illnesses, inviting them to come for lunch on the first Thursday of each month.  We had a turn-out of 10 guests, which I thought was super.  It was an immense privilege being involved in this today, and I look forward to the next one.  These people were good to be with.  Then, in the afternoon, I went with one of my parishioners to the opening of the Wirral Food Bank warehouse, and to meet with the guy whose running it.  My car boot was full of food donations, from our Harvest Festival, so it was wonderful to off-load that.  We are considering whether our church might be able to be a distributor for the food, for people in our area.  It's very exciting!

Usually we have music group practice on a Thursday night, but thankfully it was cancelled tonight.  Tomorrow is my day off.  Saturday, well, I still have to finish the two sermons for Sunday, don't I!  A week in the life of a curate. 

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