Saturday, 11 June 2016

Many expressions!

He's an amazing dog ... so many expressions that you'd imagine he's talking.  Maybe he is?
 The 'suspicious' look ... could be magpies on the bird table ... or wondering if he's going to be left home alone again.
 The 'show me your hands' look ... just in case a crumb has been overlooked ... he needs proof that all the treats are gone!
 'You're not getting away with anything' look.  This sideways gaze ensures that the last morsel has been left for him.  Is 'food' getting to be a theme here?
 'I want ... I want ... and ... I want it now' expression.  This look may begin in silence but will escalate to a sharp bark if his majesty's needs are not being met!  Usually food!
The 'pretending not to be interested' look.  But don't be deceived.  At the merest crinkle of a wrapping paper his attention is definitely back on track.
I'm here ... don't forget to put something in my bowl ... you are being watched!
 Hello friend ... there's always a welcome in the garden for you.
and finally ... I will jump through hoops to get a treat!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Lord's Prayer

Until 22nd June (probably) there is an interactive Lord's Prayer exhibition in Saint Nicholas'.  
There are seven stations and pilgrims are encouraged to pause for prayer and reflection at each.  
A booklet with some information is your guide on the journey.  
The church will be open most days, including Saturday, from 12.30 until 2.00 pm.

So that's what I've been up to over the last couple of afternoons!  It has been interesting to try to create prayer spaces in Saint Nicholas' that accommodate and reflect accurately the work that was done by the Pilgrim Course members of Saint Mark's, under the guidance of Rev Lynne Gibson. 

At each station there is a place to pray and something to do ... 
"Our Father who art in heaven ... "  
 "Hallowed by thy name ... "

 "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven ... "

 "Give us this day our daily bread ... "

 "And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ... "

 "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil ... "

 "For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.  Amen."

The church will be open most days over lunch if you wish to drop in ... or ... you can make special arrangements for individuals or groups to come at other times. 

Monday, 6 June 2016

To blog ... or not to blog ...

That is the question!
All good intentions of January were lost ... and here we are now enjoying the sunshine of June.  (Typical examination weather ... just when staying in to revise in the cool ... the temptation is to go out and pretend to study in the warmth!)
For now, anyhow, that dilemma is behind me.  Not that it was a particular difficulty ... sitting out trying to read in the bright light of summer never did appeal.
So, to return to the question.  From time to time people ask, "have you written anything lately?"  The answer is too frequently in the negative.  Should the blog continue ... or is it a self-imposed burden with which I can do without?
Maybe the question should be, "for whom is the blog written?"

  • For my own satisfaction ... and something to remind me of when significant events have happened?
  • For friends and family ... so they can know that sometimes I am alive and kicking?
  • For the wider world ... a preaching/teaching tool with spaces sometimes for reflection/prayer?

Perhaps all three simultaneously?
Just a year ago, yesterday, 5th June, Dougal became my family pet ... officially adopted from Assisi.  That photograph was at Christmas ...
This one was taken on the day I got him!
And now ... he's one happy dog ... travelling the length and breadth of the country, playing with Dusty, the neighbour's new pup, and generally wrapping me round his wagging tail.
 Rolling around in Waterford.
 Playing with the neighbour in Belfast.
 Basking on the sand dunes at Portstewart.
And, often at his most contented, swimming in the sea at Tyrella.
Life isn't totally focussed on Dougal ...
Saint Nicholas' Parish Church will often feature in the photographic memories ... wedding ... baptism ... regular services ... concerts ...

Time will tell if the blog continues ... you'll just have to return to see!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Still catching up ...

November ... a month of remembering.
The annual Remembrance Day Service at Saint Nicholas' was a memorable occasion when two young people took their place among the war veterans and those who have served their country in the police and prison services.

 The march past at the Cenotaph is always a moving ceremony and the television gives a good impression of the huge numbers who take part year after year.  It was good to spot my youngest sister marching with the War Widows Association.
Time moved swiftly on and the Connor Clergy Conference was next on the agenda.  As usual we were in the Slieve Russell for a refreshing retreat.

 The grounds of the hotel are beautiful in the early winter with autumn colours still clinging to the bare branches.
After the conference I took the last few days of holiday and spent an enjoyable weekend in Piltown with the opportunity to attend worship in Portlaw.  They'd just completed a fund raising effort to repair the roof so a photograph was taken of the tiles replaced and those who had sponsored the work.

 This building has some magnificent carvings.

That takes us then to the last Sunday of the liturgical year ... "Stir Up Sunday"
Now the tradition of making the Christmas Pudding in church is well established.  Out come the family scales that have weighed decades of puddings and cakes ...
 The ingredients are gathered ...
 and two young assistant chefs get stuck in to the mixing before members of the congregation have their chance to stir the pudding.

That brought us quickly to Advent ... a wonderful time of waiting and watching.

Dougal had his chance to do something for Bishops' Appeal ... every walk in Advent added £2 to a pot.  This was an idea developed by Bishop Pat Storey to raise money for shoes designed for leprosy sufferers.
During Advent Dougal sported a liturgically correct collar in purple!

So with the tree up, the advent wreath prepared, wise men on their journey and the nativity scene in place we made our way out of November and into December.

Mothers' Union in November was in the shared meeting at Saint Thomas' where we were spellbound by the story of Suzanna Wesley.