We live in ‘in-between’ time, neither totally locked down, nor yet completely free of restrictions, and that liminal place, of neither one thing nor the other, is not the most comfortable place in which to be. To be sure, we can do all sorts of things, in terms of hospitality, travelling and amenities, that were not possible three months ago. It was a relief to get a haircut; it does me good to get to the gym each morning, and I rejoiced two weeks ago when the sauna and steam room were ‘on’ again; my weekly day-off (usually Tuesday) feels much more liberating, in getting away from work (much as one enjoys it for the rest of the week) now that we can get Jasper, the bouncy Newfoundland, into the car and head off into the depths of rural Dorset, or the leafiness of the New Forest, to find a decent hostelry for lunch. We have seen a bit more of two of our four children since Easter – and that’s just great! – but it is last July since we saw our three grandchildren. People are so fed-up with zoom and teams meetings! Although it’s good to lose much of the travelling (and one wonders how much of it was really necessary), there is simply no substitute for the understanding you can gain from the body language that’s casually shared ‘in person’. One realises the truth that very often the travelling was justified by the informal chats and the networking between and after the formal gatherings, as it is at well organised conferences. All that networking is missing and it leaves a great gap. Just as the glaring gap in worship, try as one might to disguise it and keep things moving, is where the congregational singing should be. When will we return to that? I yearn for it. And, although it seems almost heresy (we have had to cope compliantly and without excessive complant with so much change that one starts to see it as the norm) I yearn for just a few fixed goalposts – albeit provisionally fixed. A ‘new variant’ creeps in, to begin with, and then (just as I’m thinking that it’s settled itself at the far end of the country) it starts to bulldoze its way in, horribly close to us. O dear!
It can be hard to feel sufficiently settled to pray in such disturbed times; so, more than usual, I just sit with God This week, as we celebrate Trinity Sunday, we are invited to remember the magnificent richness and startling diversity of the God upon whom we wait. My friend (who preached at St Stephen’s in 2017 and at St Peter’s in 2018) June Boyce Tillman, writes about the diverse magnificence of God thus:
Deep inside creation’s mystery
Stands a table set with bread,
And a cup of grapes’ rejoicing,
Love full-bodied, sparkling red.
Hands reach out across the cosmos;
Each is gladly taking part,
Offering deeply all their being
In this Eucharistic heart.
Rocks and stones rejoice together;
Insects, birds can join the song;
Flowers leap up and clouds are dancing;
All are joined and all are strong.
Human voices join the chorus;
Chant and jazz and mystic prose,
Hymns of fellowship all make the
Counterpoint of One who Knows.
Shape our dancing, keep it rooted
In love’s creativity.
We all bear the marks of loving
In our hearts. That is the plan.
In our own truth we shall find that
Truth, in whom we all began.
Sunday, 30th May, is Trinity Sunday.
Services ‘in person’ will be as follows in our three churches, and there will continue to be a video offering on the usual YouTube channel: TRINITY SUNDAY SERVICE
8am Communion at St Peter’s Church, in the Keble Chapel.
10am St Peter’s: : The Rev’d Dr Paul Collins will preach and preside at Communion.
10.45am St Stephen’s I shall preside and preach.
10am St Augustin’s: The Rev’d Stephen Holmes will preside and preach.
Next Sunday, 6th June, is Trinity 1. (RSCM Sunday)
At 10am at St Peter’s: The Rev’d Bryan Apps will preach and I shall preside at Communion.
10.45 St Stephen’s: The Rev’d David Lund.
10am St Augustin’s: The Rev’d Dr Chris Steed
We look towards Sunday, 27th June, which we shall keep as St Peter’s Day, as
the first time since Christmas when we shall be able (we hope) to have a full choir singing – and the congregation to sing hymns with them. Marvellous!
As this will be St Peter’s Patronal Festival – and a time to quietly give thanks for God’s gift of priestly ordination for those who have been ordained at this time (40 years have passed so quickly!) – we would particularly welcome gifts to further the work of our Church for the common good of Bournemouth.
St Peter’s Church Gift Day: Friday, 25th June: I shall be in church from 10am until 4pm to receive donations to fund the mission and maintenance of St Peter’s. There will be a celebratory 1pm Jazz Concert in St Peter’s, and this is a welcome opportunity to focus our annual Gift Day on 25th June(you can give by cheque, cash, contactless payment or by covenanting – and, if you are a tax-payer, it will help us gain an extra 25% if you complete a Gift Aid yellow envelope to accompany your very welcome gift). We shall give thanks for those gifts during our Eucharistic worship on 27th.
Parry’s Cafe has now reopened in St Peter’s on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10am – 2pm. Do contact Chris Mayne if you would like to help with the cafe. This is a hugely important part of our welcoming people – all people – to the glorious sacred space that is St Peter’s Church.
Also, on Wednesdays, 4- 5pm, Lucinda and I are delighted to welcome to a Bible Study meeting in our garden (18 Wimborne Road) anyone who would like to study with us some of the major themes that emerge from St John’s Gospel, asking how these themes shed light on our lives, our closeness to God, and the decisions we make; there will also be some open praying around those themes. All are welcome. We are following Tom Wright’s book, ‘Broken Signposts’.
Enjoy the week! (the promise is for more sunshine, and that’s certainly welcome)