The Rev'd Tina Molyneux writes about autumn and change
The temperature has dropped and I know autumn has arrived as my flip- flops have been flung to the back of the cupboard and my socks and boots have been pressed back into service.
I love the autumn, partly because of the vivid colours that surround us as the trees turn from green to scarlet and every shade in between but also because the countryside around us seems to change daily as it prepares for winter.
I am not only getting used to changes in my wardrobe, but also to changes in my routines, not least of which is how to wear and accessorise a clergy shirt! Waiting for the children in the playground after school has become an interesting experience as I'm aware of the double takes from other parents who haven't seen me before in 'church gear'. At least I assume that's what it is - it is possible I suppose that no one has noticed the dog collar at all and they're noticing that I've forgotten to brush my hair or have spinach clinging to my teeth!
Something rather more profound which has struck me though, as I settle into parish life, is the goodness of so very many people who are involved in giving their love and time in our community. Disproving the commonly held belief that church life happens for an hour on a Sunday morning, I now have the privilege of meeting lots of people for very different reasons, throughout the week.
I meet those who maintain the churches and the churchyards; cook lunches for our villagers; who bake for church funds; who clean, mend, maintain, prepare and make the churches beautiful with flowers; who visit others in need; who pray for each other; who tirelessly help to fundraise, not forgetting the Young at Heart lunches! The list really is endless.
This generosity of time and help has been a revelation to me as it seems that we live in an increasingly X Factor culture, where the world whispers to us to find more 'me time', tells us 'you deserve it', it encourages us to believe that we are entitled to 'have it all' and 'do it all' with our families and like- minded friends without any thought for those around us who may need our help.
Love thy neighbour
Jesus, of course, got to the heart of the matter, when asked 'what should I do to inherit eternal life?' He didn't say, 'well, what works for you?' His answer was that we must love God with all our heart and love our neighbours as we do ourselves. I believe we are very lucky to be surrounded and inspired in this parish by people who are doing just that. I pray that it will catch on, especially in younger age groups!
Talking of the young, I really didn't expect to be going to a toddler group again after 'doing time' in similar groups for five years with my own children. However, the Lord works in mysterious ways, because I now find myself happily helping to lead the Stubbings' Pebbles group on Tuesday mornings at 10.30am. Peter Watsham still organises the Hurley one on Thursdays.
Please come along if you have preschool children. We sing a couple of action songs; have a short Bible story and then have plenty of time for coffee, chat and chaos (play)! What else can I say to sell it to you? Its free, fun and friendly!
Enough from me. I look forward to seeing you on my travels. Please let me know if there's spinach stuck in my