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  • Grieving and Gratitude... Two Poems

    Yesterday evening was the annual service of grieving and gratitude, in which people are invited to recall and reflect upon those they have love and lost, find comfort and hope and continue onwards.  Here are the two poems we used in that context...

    The Seasons of Grief

    Tom Gordon

     

    Every stage of grief has its season,

    And every facet of loss has its time.

     

    A time for disbelief, and a time for harsh reality.

    A time to know, and a time to be consumed by unknowing.

    A of clarity, and a time of uncertainty.

    A time for public smiles, and a time for private tears.

    A time to be thankful, and a time of regret.

    A time of giving up, and a time for going on.

    A time of living half a life, and a time of wanting to live again.

    A time of then, and a time of now.

    A time to feel hopeless, and a time to be positive.

    A time of looking forward, and a time of wanting life to end.

    A time of faith, and a time of doubt.

    A time for holding on, and a time for letting go.

    A time when steps are light, and a time when limbs are tired.

    A time of hazy memories, and a time of instant recall.

    A time for living with death, and a time for living with life.

    A time of fruitlessness, and a time of growth.

    A time of despair, and a time of purpose.

    A time of emptiness, and a time of hope.

    A time for rage, and a time for peace.

     

    Dont Tell Me that I Mourn Too Much

    Michael Rosen

     

    Don’t tell me that I mourn too much

    And I won’t tell you that you mourn too much

     

    Don’t tell me that I mourn too little

    And I won’t tell you that you mourn too little

     

    Don’t tell me that I mourn in the wrong place

    And I won’t tell you that you mourn in the wrong place

     

    Don’t tell me that I mourn at the wrong time

    And I won’t tell you that you mourn at the wrong time

     

    Don’t tell me that I mourn in the wrong way

    And I won’t tell you that you mourn in the wrong way

     

    I may get it wrong, I will get it wrong, I’ve got it wrong

    But don’t tell me.

  • The first of the lasts...

    The table after the last morning service communion to be held in this place since 1883... at least until we return in a couple of years time.

    This morning we began a month of 'lasts' as we prepare to vacate our premises at the end of the month so that they can be (DV - or at least city council planning department willing, whichever is the more significant) redeveloped into a fantastic new facility to serve us, and those who follow us, into the next 130+ years of life at the Gathering Place.

    We wove together our normal Sunday worship with a Special Church Meeting in which we authorised those who serve as Charity Trustees to sign necessary legal paperwork just as soon as it is finalised. We also expressed thanks to our longest served Member as she retired from leading our Pastoral Team... a woman whose family were among the earliest worshippers here.  And then we shared Communion... our battered wooden table clothed in white linen and laden with significant symbols... words I'd written specially, and words of scripture... we ate, we drank, we remembered... and we moved forward.

    It was, for me, and I think for others, a significant moment... perhaps that's why spontaneous applause rang out after the ballot was announced... perhaps that's why I observed a few folk shed a tear, and even became momentarily choked myself... it is certainly why I decided on the spur of the moment that we'd end by singing the doxology together.

    The first of the lasts... The next two Sundays I am away on leave and the "pulpit" will be filled by loved and trusted friends of this congregation before I am back for the very last Sunday in the 'old' place.

    As we sang at the end of the service, "it's from the old we travel to the new, keep me travelling along with you".

    A chapter concludes, but the story continues... 

  • Being Church...

    This morning a large group of us met together at church to sort and pack, clear and shift, declutter and dejunk as much stuff as we could.  Named by me as "Team Sparklers" in honour of Guy Fawkes Night, this team really shone as they worked tirelessly and cheerfully to completely clear several rooms, and make huge in-roads into others.

    After a good couple of hours hard work, we shared a lunch of chip-shop chips, steaming mugs of tea and assorted sweet treats.

    The air rang with laughter, memories were made and shared, treasures were uncovered, bizarre objects rehomed or recycled, oodles of items packed up to be passed to other churches, community groups and charities... and a good time was had by all.

    Our resident bard wrote us a poem - and the photo shows the majority of the Team enjoying hearing it read.

    I came home a tired and happy 'minister type person' feeling that we'd done really well.  Brother Lawrence (Practice of the Presence of God) spoke of the worship he offered in omelette making.  I think we offered worship in what we did, and glimpsed something of God in each other, and above all were church.

    I'd like to think that God enjoyed our endeavours - I certainly did!