- Sunday, 28 October 2018
Reflections - Memories
Sorting through a bag of remnants the other day, that I had amassed over the years, I came across a piece of white taffeta. As I sat there, running it through my fingers, the memories came flooding back. It still rustled and shimmered as it did all those years ago, I was fourteen. In mum’s skilful hands, the white taffeta would become my confirmation dress. Mum was a very talented seamstress, making many of her own clothes, and my clothes too. Her smocking was something to be reckoned with. Knitting was also loved by mum - remembering the swimming costume and trunks lovingly made for me and my brother, but we won’t go there! Back to my confirmation. Our vicar, Fr. Henry Hughes, was a larger than life character, a very holy priest in the very best of that tradition; and he made a great impact on my life. Even today I find myself living by many of his standards and sayings. I attended church from an early age, not missing many Sundays; morning service and later,as I got older, catechism in the afternoon. If I did miss a Sunday, there through the letter box on a Monday, would be a note from Fr. Henry, hoping all was well. Miss two Sundays, and you would hear the chug of his old Ford pulling up outside. I chuckle now thinking back, perhaps he just liked coming round to sit in our fireside chairs which he always commented how comfortable they were! It made mum and dad smile, they always welcomed him, not that that could be said for our cocker spaniel, who growled continually at him from underneath the opposite chair. She was very wary of men, especially one in a black cassock.
Confirmation was a very important event in my church life, and also for my friend Juliet. Dr. Cuthbert Bardsley had just taken up his appointment as Bishop of Coventry. Juliet and I were to be the first candidates to be confirmed by him in Coventry. The service was held at St. Luke’s, Holbrooks, in late spring 1956. In those days, the tradition was for girls to wear white veils, and Fr. Henry, ever the stickler for correctness, made sure we didn’t have a whisp of hair showing.
The service was full of splendour, reverence, wonderful music, and of course the nerves. Mum had worked her magic, and my dress was beautiful. A fully flared skirt, and a fitted bodice with tiny pearl buttons. I often wish that a photo had been taken to record that important event in my life, and my small part in local history.
- Saturday, 06 October 2018
I received the book Footprints by Margaret Fishback Powers, for my birthday four years ago. Coincidentally it was also written the year I was born, in 1964!
The book is a collection of scripture reading and reflections all based on her poem, (which was written for her husband), and is a treasure trove which I can dip in and out of most days. I also take it with me when I go on our caravan holidays!
I suppose like most people, I have experienced times of anxiety, sadness and worry as well as many happy times. The words of this poem and, indeed the whole book has helped me through all these times.
The poem is rather long but the last part is here for you...
“…But I’m aware that during the most troublesome times of my life there is only one set of footprints. I just don’t understand why, when I needed You most, You leave me.”
He whispered, “My precious child. I love you and will never leave you, never, ever, during your trials and testings. When you saw only one set of footprints it was then that I carried you.”
What more can be said…
- Sunday, 16 September 2018
There is a time for everything and a season for each activity under Heaven’ chapter 3 Ecclesiastes. I thought of this as I started to write this reflection, summer is nearly over and autumn almost beginning, one of my favourite seasons.
The colours in the trees, the fruits and berries on the shrubs, the garden looks mellow, there’s a new term at school, or a new job to go to. Every season brings new beginnings, a time to take stock of our lives. Autumn to me should be a time to rest. This time it will be one of preparation a busy time. Like many other people I will need to remind myself of the poem-
Leisure by W H Davies
What is this life if full of care we have no time to stand and stare-
so that I can make time to stand back and enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons.
Sarah says she is going to make me do it.
- Sunday, 23 September 2018
The definition of a pilgrim, which comes from the Latin word ‘peregrinus’, is a traveller who is on a journey to a holy place. Some of our congregation and others from Ryton Methodist church have formed a bible study group and we call ourselves the ‘Bulkington Pilgrims.’ We welcome newcomers and meet in the library once a month. We are currently studying a Pilgrims course on ‘the Commandments’ written by Canon Dr Paula Gooder, author, speaker, scholar and theologian. We are pilgrims on a journey to explore and expand our knowledge of the Christian faith.
The pilgrimage that eight of us are embarking on this week, St Cuthbert’s Way in Northumberland, is a 100K ( around 60 miles ) walk from Melrose near the Scottish border to Lindisfarne and Holy Island. It opened 22 years ago, has way markers and visits a number of places closely associated with the life of St Cuthbert. It is full of historical interest and natural beauty, abbeys, churches, castles and prehistoric remains. St Cuthbert wrote that “travelling at a natural pace on foot allows time for contemplation, and for the cares and worries that surround us daily to be forgotten....for a while at least!” The guide book we are following advises that there is plenty of wildlife to be seen and that we may well experience variations of weather that would test a Saint!
The life of St Cuthbert was very interesting. He nearly died of the deadly yellow plague which swept across Europe in around 650 A.D. he claimed to have been saved by the power of prayer, an experience he never forgot. Never underestimate THE POWER OF PRAYER.