I had a busy week. After preaching and going to hear Selwyn’s interesting talk, I had more of a flop day on Monday, although I did attempt to control some of the dandelions and other weeds which had sprung up through the pebbles at the front. On Tuesday morning I went to a group of the members of the Harrogate Fairtrade Group I belong to on behalf of the Labour Party to prepare some activities to promote Fairtrade in classes of local primary schools from Key Stage 2, aged 7-11. Now we each have a task to prepare for the next meeting, so we can finalise what we are offering to the schools after Christmas before Fairtrade Fortnight. It was a stimulating group to work with and we were pleased to welcome a couple more members who gave us more ideas.
On Tuesday evening we had the Local Preacher’s meeting and Helen and Matthew Lunn a young couple who have both recently been accredited as Local preachers, gave a presentation on ‘All Age Worship’. They told us that a children’s address would be better named as an ‘All Age’ talk. It was suggested that the opening part of worship when children were present was ‘All Age’ and that needed to be remembered. They recommended a number of books which would help us as preachers to appeal to all types of learners, those who liked being active, those who liked stories and those who needed some visual stimulation. I know I was taught about the different styles of learning when I was a teacher, but I am not sure whether I do incorporate those skills into the acts of worship I lead. I know I can always learn more each time I preach so that I reach more people with the love of Jesus or help them to see how Jesus loves and accepts them. One thing I love about Methodism is the children’s or All Age talk, as it often has an illustration which sums up the theme of the service and is most memorable. Fortunately the meeting did not go on too late.
On Wednesday lunchtime I had my hair cut, a treat I always enjoy. Sinead whose business is ‘Pulse; Hair and Beauty’ on Bradford Road Otley is an excellent hairstylist. She has a colleague who is the beautician. Sinead used to be a stylist in ‘& Hair’ in Harrogate, so I followed her to her new business in Otley a move I have never regretted.
Cathy popped round to see me on Wednesday afternoon and we enjoyed watching a great film, ‘Tammy’ as she relaxed with us. She has been spending time with her beloved husband Ken, having come back from her latest shift early, so she and he could support each other, because Ken’s father had just died. It is always a joy to spend some time with Cathy. We will be celebrating Eric’s long and happy life at his funeral on Tuesday 16th.
On Thursday I did the main shop as usual at Waitrose and ate my lunch early as I was going to the Guild meeting and taking Molly. Molly chaired the meeting as Lynn the usual chair was on holiday to celebrate her special birthday with family. Our minister Christine Gillespie came to give us a talk; fortunately she can play the piano as our usual accompanist was unwell so she played as we sang.
Christine grew up as a child of the manse and when her father was a Methodist Minister, the family would always be on a top table raised with the speaker with the children sitting with their backs to the other church members. Apparently that was normal and still continued a little when Christine became a minster, when she would be on her own with the speaker on the top table; she is thankful that does not now happen. She is having alterations made in her lounge at the moment so her chairs are distributed round her manse, and she would be glad when it was back to normal.
She asked us if we usually sat in the same place each Sunday and we all found that we were usually sitting in the same place, although since the pews had gone we have changed our position, but then we settle down. Some people get used to where they sit and don’t like to relinquish it when visitors come. On one occasion being on holiday Christine went with her father to a service he was taking. He found the congregation very welcoming. Christine chose a pew to sit in as she was there early but when a man came in he stood and sighed at the end of her pew, making her feel she had sat in his place! She hovered round in the porch after the service but no one spoke to her, but just greeting her father, so she followed him into the vestry, where again he was profusely thanked for his service; she began to feel she was invisible!!
She did admit that it could also be good to sit in the same seat every week as you would get to know the people nearest to you and notice is someone was missing one week. She said it is good if you try in some way to greet a person you have not seen before. When I am preaching and miss Sundays at my chapel, I am never sure if a person is a visitor or has just joined the church, so I try and greet people I don’t recognise. I am not usually on the door to welcome people but on one occasion I was covering for a friend who was away, when a couple arrived I did not know. Having welcomed them with open arms I found out the man was our preacher that morning! I had not realised that our minister had had to change pulpits with him that morning!
Molly had read the Bible passage from Isaiah 55 in which God was calling us to come to the banquet. She asked us to tell her of other invitations for a meal in the Bible, reminding us of Psalm 23 description of the banquet. Others suggested the boy with the loaves and fishes who offered his picnic to Jesus to be shared. Others thought of Zacchaeus being asked to have Jesus come to tea. Christine encouraged us to be ready to welcome people when visitors come.
As part of the fellowship of the Guild members are wished happy birthday and on Thursday there were 2 members who had had birthdays recently. Another member had baked a couple of cakes, a coconut sponge cake and a chocolate cake to celebrate the birthdays.
On Friday I helped at the Acorn Centre as usual and enjoyed relaxing with my beloved that afternoon and evening. On Saturday morning I went to the local coffee morning at my former chapel and it was good to catch up with friends there. In the afternoon my elder daughter Beth came for a chat and we enjoyed drinks at Café Culture. This evening Beth, Cathy and I are going to the Harrogate theatre to see the Operatic Society production of ‘Sister Act’ and I am very much looking forward to seeing it. I am so blessed by my family and friends.