speeding up to Slow Down
Posted Monday 14 May 2012
A New Diocesan Deacon
St Peter's, Thurso
April and May have now become the months in which life takes off at speed so that you can clear some of the “stuff” before the summer holidays start. This year is going to be no exception.
The Schools went back on the Tuesday and that signalled a return to the office for me. I met with the Geoff Withers the new Chaplain from RAF Lossiemouth, John Humphries the URC Moderator for Scotland, a number of the Diocesan Clergy and Tessa and Chris whose wedding I was preparing for at Arpafeelie. In the middle of all this the Battalion of the Black Watch stationed at Fort George held a homecoming parade through Inverness followed by a service at the Cathedral. The battalion had just returned from another deployment to Afghanistan and the city turned out to welcome them home.
I therefore attended the March Past before rushing over to the Cathedral for the service and then back over to the Town House for the reception, all at the run. Having caught my breath I walked gently back to the car in my full cassocked purpleness and that gave people opportunity to chat to me, and as usual the good people of Inverness did just that.
The weekend became difficult because my throat began to close up and speaking became more and more difficult, and let me tell you a quiet +Mark isn’t normal. I lovingly struggled through Tess and Chris’s wedding, though felt unable to join them for the meal, I know, I missed a party!! On Sunday I started at St Mary in the Fields, Culloden, a lovely service with people very ready to face the challenge of new ministry and fresh ideas and then headed for St John’s, Inverness. The service times in this linked charge are impossible, Canon Arthur must have charged across the city week after week, as it was I was quarter of an hour late and walked straight into the pulpit, actually I will rephrase that, I arrived and climbed into the pulpit to preach the sermon, I didn’t actually walk into it. After the service I chaired a congregational meeting looking at the future for this church before we joined the MacWilliam’s for lunch.
Got home, chopped the logs, sorted the ironing looked at the diary for the week ahead and then collapsed, full blown tonsillitis had come home to roost.
I gave my apologies for both the Provincial Standing Committee and the Liturgy Committee and I kept out of sight for a couple of days, surfacing in time for the Mission day I was leading with the Diocesan Mothers Union. The rest had me ready for them and we spent the day talking about all sorts of ways that the MU could enhance the mission of the church. I think some went home a bit shell shocked, but most of them challenged and joyful.
As the Mothers Union Coach pulled away from Arpafeelie, Jane and I leapt into a pre packed car and headed for Thurso, 115 miles to the North. We were spending the night at the Royal Hotel before leading the Confirmation service at St Peter’s the following day. We arrived in time to have a meal and then a walk to stretch the legs and to let the Caithness air sooth the strained throat. We watched the surfers in the bay, walked along the river, chatted and exchanged smiles with a number of locals before we adjourned to the bar and further interesting conversations with our fellow customers. I was asked “are you real” “I think so “I replied and a good conversation ensued.
The following day we had a peaceful and prayerful service of confirmation in Thurso before driving across to Wick and a very joyful Eastertide service in St John’s. Soup and Sandwiches followed in the church hall before we were back on the road and heading for Inverness. Rev Peter Simpson was commissioned as a Deacon for the Cathedral and Diocese, we did this at Choral Evensong and were delighted to be joined by members of the churches that Peter had served before he left the Roman Catholic Church and joined our small branch of Christ’s Church. Final journey back over the Kessock Bridge and an evening of preparation because tomorrow The Irish Are Coming!!