TO KNOW GOD AND TO MAKE GOD KNOWN
TO KNOW GOD AND TO MAKE GOD KNOWN
It’s that time of year when schools have broken up for the summer and people are usually planning holidays away – except this year is different. There are many children who have not been to school for weeks now; holidays have had to be cancelled or re-arranged; spring has sprung and has now merged and drifted into summer. I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe that it’s August already! When did that happen- it seemed to sneak up, hiding behind the overwhelming cloud of Covid-19.
This year is different – but some things can be the same. Picnics! I’m sure you all have fond memories of picnics – with family or friends, for a day out or imply just in the back garden. As a child I loved the excitement and anticipation of opening the picnic hamper to discover the treats inside. Whatever it was, it was a treat because we were “out on a picnic”! My mum would spend time preparing all kinds of things and often far too much for our little family – we used to tease her sometimes by asking whether she was hoping to feed the 5000!
Which brings me to our Gospel reading this week where we find Jesus has withdrawn from the crowd in a boat, but the 5000 men along with their wives and children follow him on foot. They have been so eager to do this that they didn’t think about making preparations for the desert – they forgot to pack a picnic! Yet Jesus provides for all their needs, healing the sick, and feeding them miraculously with only five loaves and two fishes.
The result must have been like a big party where people could enjoy a miraculous meal together. Shared experiences are always the best and Jesus created one from nothing, without planning or effort. How we long for shared experiences after so long shielding and being cautious.
You know, sometimes, when we least expect it, when we make no preparations and come with no expectations other than a desire to encounter God, we can discover the same life-giving transformation. This week I would like to share with you a poem by Thom Shuman, entitled “More than enough”
There was more than enough grief for Jesus:
He had just got the news that his beloved cousin John had been beheaded by Herod.
There were more than enough people: 5,000 gathered to hear Jesus –
probably closer to 15-20,000 counting women and kids. There was more than enough need:
the people were hungry; they had been with Jesus all day.
There was more than enough fear:
“Jesus, make them go away – we barely have enough for ourselves.”
But what they did have was more than enough for Jesus:
who took, who blessed, who broke, who shared the simple gifts the disciples had –
and it was more than enough for everyone.
When we wonder “Is it enough?” –
what we do for the needy; what we do about the violence in our world;
what we do about reaching out to young people; what we do with our simple gifts –
we should remember this story and think of the promise
that Jesus does not call us to serve in ways he is unable to equip us.
For he takes, he blesses, he breaks, he shares our simple gifts with others, and that will always be
More than enough.
With love and blessings,
I am married to Phil, a retired Priest, who now enjoys his role as “The Vicar’s husband!” I am very grateful for his love and support, and will set him to work now and again once he has received the Bishop’s Permission to Officiate (PTO).
I have two grown up daughters, both of whom currently live on the Wirral:
Rebecca is a doctor currently working at The Countess of Chester Hospital. She is in the final years of her Paediatrics training and has a particular interest in neo-natal babies. She is married to Chris and they have three children – Benjamin, almost 5, Alexander 3, and Jemima who is 16 months. We have been very much part of their “childcare” and I’m sure they will be frequent visitors to Frodsham! Since I am a native Welsh speaker, they refer to us as Nain and Taid.
Helen is a Fine Arts graduate who spent time after university exploring Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries in the Far East. Consequently, she now works for Trailfinders in Liverpool arranging holidays for other people – who knows when that might happen again? Last July, she married Mike - who until this weekend was a trainee Paramedic, due to qualify in July – this week he becomes a full-time NHS paramedic.
I was born and brought up in Old Colwyn on the North Wales coast. I was a pupil at Colwyn High School (now Eirias), and enjoyed participating in the Urdd Eisteddfods – reciting, singing and clog/folk dancing. I have always enjoyed Drama, Theatre and Literature. I completed a joint honours degree in English and Drama at Padgate, and went on to teach both subjects in various schools in the North West, before moving to Cambridgeshire to take up a post as Head of Drama.
We returned to Wales in 1999 when Phil was appointed Vicar of Mostyn and Ffynnongroyw, and then in 2003 he became Vicar of Old Colwyn.
During this time I worked as a freelance Drama Practitioner, which included delivering the GCSE/A level Drama curriculum at Prestatyn High School, working as a Drama Examiner/Team Leader for Edexcel, leading many varied Drama based workshops for all ages, Inset for teachers, producing and directing shows/plays. I loved every aspect of this. We still visit the Theatre as often as we can.
I enjoyed the role of “vicar’s wife” (still do!!!) but eventually became aware that God was calling me into ordained ministry in my own right, and I was delighted to be accepted for Ordination training in July 2009.
It was on the one hand a tough decision to give up my teaching career – I have very fond memories; but on the other hand it was easy because the overwhelming “rightness” of it all meant that my time in teaching was a stepping stone – part of my journey to where God needs me to be now. Being a priest carries a great responsibility and is very humbling as well as being a huge privilege to be serving God in this way.
My first post was in St. Asaph as the Dean’s curate which I enjoyed, especially being Chaplain to the cathedral choirs. It was such a joy and a privilege to be immersed in such wonderful church music, and to be part of rich and dignified services of praise and thanks to our God.
I went on to become Rector of Bala and Mission Area leader for a large area in the heart of Wales, before moving to Tilstock (Shropshire) as part of the Ministry team in Fauls, Whitchurch and Tilstock.
I am delighted to have been appointed as your Vicar, and I am very much looking forward to working with you all as by the grace of God we write the next chapter in the life of St Laurence’s together.