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- Page 6

  • #NHS70

    I am very grateful for the NHS, in all its guises and with all its limitations.

    I could reel off a long list of places (and indeed elsewhere have done so) but it's really about people...

    In no particular order...

    The porter who grabbed a box of tissues for me so that I oculd blow my nose when I had a post chemo chest infection and needed an urgent chest X-ray.

    The specialist nurse who literally held my hand as core biopsies were taken.

    The health care assistant who kept watch over my mum when her UTI and failing health resulted in her wandering and falling, if not constantly observed.

    The lady (she was quite old and ladylike!) in the WRVS cafe who served me tea in a china cup

    The paramedic who saw me still sitting in the A&E waiting room after a couple of hours and made time to ask how my dad was.

    The consultant who said 'can we get those fluids ... now would be good' when I had a life threatening adverse drug reaction.

    The anaesthetist who, when I told her I was scared, said, 'of course you are, I would be...'

    The night nurse who told me, necessarily over the phone, of my mother's death, taking time to ensure I knew what had happened and what had been done.

    My family and I have been very blessed - we have received the very best of NHS England and NHS Scotland.  Never have we been stuck in A&E, never have we been denied or unable to access the best, and even, in the case of both parents, pioneering, treatments. By chance or serendipity or somesuch we have always lived close to some of the nation's/nations' top hospitals and had access to expertise not available elsewhere.

    The NHS is a wonderful thing, it really is.  It's not perfect.  The postcode lotteries that have served my family well continue to disadvantage others.  What makes sense in one nation may not be viable in another due to geography, demography and size - comparisons are not always helpful or meaningful.  If we could take a moment and simply recognise how blessed we are - wherever we live in these islands - to have the NHS, and to commit ourselves to supporting its flourishing in all places, then that would be a good way of marking #NHS70. 

  • '... and your daughters shall propehesy'

    Worth a quick look here to read about last week's conference, and some stuff already coming from it.

  • Not quite a halo...

    For the second successive time, taxi drviers have taken me to the wrong care home ... thankfully not too far from the correct one, so no real problems.  But, as it was a gorgeous day, and as I can do with some exercise, I walked home.  Quite what the ensemble of clerical shirt, sunglasses and a straw fedora looks like, I'm not too sure, but it was a lovely hour's walk home.  The way the sun was, I almost have a halo in this photo!!

    The nature of the care home I visit is that there is a fairly rapid changeover of residents, which makes building any relationships tricky. Nonetheless, the chats are valuable in their own right and, hopefully, bring a little brightness into the days of those I see.

    Three highlights this morning:

    A person who has been there as long as I've been visiting (3 times now) and who has always said 'go away' was watching tennis on television as I popped into their room.  We had a three minute conversation, and they gave me the most amazing smile.  That felt very positive.

    A person who doesn't 'do God' was us for quite a long chat about family and frineds then told the carer, with a twinkle in their eye, "she's trying to convert me".  That made me chuckle.  A lot of 'no thanks' to offers of prayer this time, which is fine.

    A person whose room was adorned with schedules for the Football World Cup and other football stuff who, when asked if they were enjoying the football said, 'well not last night'.  When asked why that was, without missing a beat, they said, 'because England won'.  Given my decidedly obvious English accent, that made me smile inwardly - I guess it's a sign of acceptance.

    Lastly, I learned that someone I'd been called in to visit who was very upset had been able to return to their own home... that felt like good  news, and was certainly the answer to their prayers.

    So, all in all, a good morning of gently missional visiting.

  • Subconscious, conscious...

    Yesterday, I was in a bargain store, and saw packs of Jamiesons' Raspberry Ruffles on sale.  "Ooh," I thoguht, "Mum would like those..." Then I remembered.

    On Sunday morning, I had, as usual, put my phone to silent, and found the thought, 'just in case Mum phones during the service,' pass through my mind. Then I recalled, and smiled a wry smile.

    My conscious mind knows that she's dead; my conscious mind also knows that my subconscious mind has to play 'catch-up'.

    I guess it's early days (not quite two months yet) so this is inevitable.

    The thoughts don't make me sad, more they make me smile as I recall memories, but the change of tense is still taking a while to be fully absorbed.

    So, the memory of her phone calls...

    Ring-ring, ring-ring...

    "Hello, Catriona Gorton speaking."

    "Hello Catriona Gorton, this is your mother speaking."

    Always made me smile, and the memory still does.

  • Are Brands Needed

    I well remember when 'Messy Church' first came on the scene, and thinking "I've been doing this all my life, only we didn't have a name for it".  Now there is a whole 'industry' of Messy Church, with 'off the shelf' ready to go schemes and ideas where you 'simply add faith' and off you go.  It's not that it's wrong, I've just always been bemused at why people needed to brand it, and what it is about branded resources that somehow makes them 'kosher'.

    With Emerging Church (another brand) came such things as 'Surfer Church' (yes, they go surfing then do some Bible stuff afterwards) and more recently 'Forest Church' (who go for walks on the a Sunday morning, forage and then share a meal, often cooked on an open fire or portable barbecue).

    I have no problem with them as ways of being church - though they do pose many fascinating questions about what is 'church' and what is 'worship' - but I am bemused by the need for branding.

    And I wonder what is the essential difference between, say, a 'church walking club' and a 'forest church'.  I guess there has to be one, and I expect it has to do with overt acts of worship, but it's not neatly defined.

    What, too, is the fundamental difference between 'Messy Church' and 'Intergenerational, Interactive worship' apart from some big words and probably which day of the week they take place?

    One of the tasks I've set myself for this summer is to think quite intentionally at how we, as a local church, move forward enabling and equipping a younger generation to continue the work begun back in 1883.  I'm not sure any of the 'brands' has 'the' answer, nor that such answers as they have are right for this church - but it's certainly interesting to ponder and to pray and see where it all goes.