An interesting talk on Pottery by Rev Gillian Robertson

On Thursday April 7th it was the Guild meeting at our chapel and I took my three passengers to the meeting.  It was good to see my friends.  One of the supernumerary ministers, Rev Gillian Roberson in our circuit led our meeting on the subject, ‘My Pottery.’

We sang ‘Christ from whom all blessings flow’ before Gillian read Exodus 18, which described Jethro telling Moses to delegate so he did not wear himself out advising people.  He suggested he train a number of trustworthy men in the laws and show them how to interpret God’s will for the people and put each in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens to be arbitrator for the people.  Only the more difficult problems were to be referred to Moses the representative before God.  It was important that Moses did not wear himself out and Gillian understood as she was often exhausted as a minister.  Molly led prayers and we sang ‘Praise God for the harvest’, a hymn which described crafts and skills of all sorts.

Gillian was called to the ministry in 1999 and became a probationer minister in Northampton, where she had one larger church and three small churches. Her next appointment was as a superintendent minister over 16 churches.  She had not expected to be invited to be a superintendent minister so early after being a probationer minister in her previous appointment.  The leading church was called to mission, but could not pay its assessment, but was supported by the other churches, as they were particularly gifted in mission; she found that time exciting and exhausting, as she found it hard to take her day off; she was lucky if she had 3 days a quarter to catch up.  Her appointment was in Chesterfield, where her daughter was in her first appointment in a nearby circuit.  When Gillian was offered another superintendent appointment she was not at all keen, as she had found being a superintendent minister so exhausting and taxing.  However when she was offered the position in Knaresborough she was ready to decline the appointment but decided that as it was only 8 churches she would take it. Once again she was still exhausted when she arrived at Knaresborough and continued to work long hours.

Finally in the 12th year of her ministry she had a 3 month sabbatical and did not want to do anything as she needed a complete rest.  However she was advised to do something which took her out of the manse, but she had no hobby.  Her husband Eric had taken up bowls in his retirement, but that was the place he was not just the minister’s wife, so she had to think.  When she was expecting her daughters she had taken up pottery for 6 months in the time she had, so she thought she might try that again. Having seen the courses on offer; many led to qualifications of level 1 or 2, GCSE or City of Guilds, but she had wanted it to something to help her relax with clay, so did not pursue those courses.

She had a budget of £600 for her sabbatical and came across the ideal setting in a WEA led course, based at Shipley Larkgate Centre, a community centre for arts and crafts in a former infant school.  There were dancing and singing classes; painting and craft work on leaded glass; a pottery and glazing room and you could have a tea and sit down.  There was a course that October on pottery on the basics, coloured clay work, which she signed up for and met all sorts of people, usually about 10 in the group at a time. There was a Thursday drop in time which suited Gillian.  When they realised she was a minister they asked her questions and even asked for prayer at times.  Gillian showed us different types of clay and had some samples of her work, which was for sale.  There were Wally birds, plates with designs like frogs on, frogs, hedgehogs and little owls amongst other items.  I bought a frog and hedgehog for my beloved to go in our summerhouse.  Gillian explained about firing the pottery, how to put patterns on and glazing. She found it relaxing and a good way to meet people outside of her work.  We found the talk very interesting. We socialised and had some cake and a welcome cup of tea.

Beth came over on Thursday after work and we had a drink and cake in M&S.  It is always good to relax and chat with her.

Work continued on our extension.  Plaster board was fitted and insulation and then it was skimmed with plaster in readiness for painting later.  On Friday the first layer of concrete was added to the floor, as it had two days at the weekend to dry.  Gordon and Stewart are good workers.

On Saturday I had a slow start to the day but went into town to give a donation to the coffee morning at Wesley Chapel.  Normally I bake but as our house is somewhat in chaos as we have things piled all over the house, I did not bake this time. I went and had a drink and a scone and a cake, and bought a scone and cake to bring back to my beloved.  My beloved is coping but feels that we have lost our home with all the disruption.  I know it is not easy, but at least we can still use the cooker and oven if we need to.  I am using up what we have in the freezer, so I am saving money only shopping for essentials.  My beloved tends to cook on Saturday and we eat the casseroles on Saturday and Sunday with vegetables.  It was a lovely weekend with my beloved.

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