Friday, August 26, 2011

The Vicar is Leaving his Day Job

I always get asked the question why I have not left my day job and become a full time vicar. I have always said that God had never called me to leave work but had called me to be a vicar. I have always loved being a scientist in the NHS and if God wanted me to stop working the NHS then he would need to stop me liking it so much. Well this has finally happened.

I remember going on a careers tour of the local hospital labs and just loved it and knew that’s what I wanted to do. So as 16 year old I went to work in the NHS. That was in 1976. For 34 years I enjoyed it, loved my job but in the last year or so I stopped enjoying a job I had always loved. It was almost like God was loosening the ties so I could be free to be a full time Vicar. Through mine and others prayers,  I soon came to realise that was what God wanted. So from January 2012 I will be a full time vicar, staying in this Parish but also working in Balby Parish.

Some of you will know that Balby church has a different style of worship than Wadworth or Loversall. Some would describe it as “Bells and Smells” a phrase that refers to the extensive use of incense and the ringing of bells during the service. That does not mean that I will be introducing this style of worship at Wadworth or Loversall. Neither will I be seeking to change Balby church and remove the “bells and Smells” I see beauty in diversity, and hope that through very different services at the three churches we will have something for everyone.

Of course some of you will also know that Mary the mother of Jesus also has a higher  prominence in the way the Christian faith is expressed at Balby church. I also know this will worry some of you.

I recently went with Balby church to Walsingham, where there is a shrine to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Although Mary is held in very high esteem, a more Christ centred place you would not wish for!  Mary always points to Jesus, every story in the Bible that mentions Mary, focuses our thoughts on Jesus. It is important to realise we do not pray to Mary but ask Mary to pray on our behalf. The church does not consist purely of those alive now but also of those who have died and are in heaven. Just as we ask a friend to pray for us, we to can ask Mary to pray for us.

Likewise it is important to realise that statues of Marys although much-loved are simply a focus for devotion - a visual aid - and not something to be worshipped in itself.

I enjoyed the 4 days immensely made new friends but also had an intensely spiritual time. Balby church go to Walsingham every year, perhaps you would like to join us in July 2012 and see for yourself.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

War then and now

I am indebted to Russell Eastham for much of the information in this months article. Russell is currently training as a lay minister in the Church but has a keen interest in history. He has recently been researching the archives to find out more about the war memorial at Wadworth but has found a number of interesting facts.

Russell noted how one family had all their children baptised before daddy went off to war. Daddy did not return. Despite all the years in between, a different War, different circumstances, some wishes do not change and I have baptised several babies in the last few years before daddy has gone off to War in Iraq or Afghanistan; thankfully all these daddies returned. But the comfort daddies receive from the knowledge their children are baptised does not change.

Russell has also found the magazine from when War broke out in 1914. Revd  Blumhardt, wrote:

“The Great War cloud that for years past has hung over Europe has burst, and the whole world stands aghast at the horror and infamy of it all.  This is not a time for words, except for those addressed to God in prayer. Every Wednesday a short service will be held at 2pm, this hour has been fixed as most suitable for the women. The men must work in the fields and in the pits, the women must pray, the women must work too and they have begun in earnest.”
A latter magazine gave the following Church announcements:
1.      Role of Honour with list of names
2.      Injured with List of names
3.      The Ladies Knitting circle will meet in the vicarage on Wednesday night at 7 o clock.

What ever happened the knitting circle continued to meet, (actually they were knitting socks for the war effort).
Russell also went this year out to France for the 95th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme to participate in the remembrance events. At one service 2000 people joined hands and the Lord’s prayer was said in three languages. Russell said:
“The many French were first, then those from the UK, finally a single German voice prayed.  Many hairs stood to attention on the backs of necks”

It is easy to forget “the other side” in all the suffering and the fact that the Germans thought God was on their side. Each German buckle contained the phrase “God is with us”. If God is anywhere in War, God is with the suffering, the displaced, the landless.

Through the information Russell has gathered we hope to have a small temporary display in church about the War memorial in Wadworth and how it was commissioned and built. Russell is hopeful that he can identify where all those remembered died and are buried. Perhaps some of your relatives were involved. Perhaps you have some information passed on to you by members of your family. We would love to know what you know.

I know no better way to end but with…
“They shall grow not old as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them. Amen”