Monday, 25 June 2012

A Handover

Catching up after a period of Sabbatical Leave. Much to the amazement of some, I decided that for most of the time when I was away from home, I would try and survive without t'internet, and make do with old fashioned methods of communication, well, the Mobile anyway.

A view of Assynt, in the astonishing North Western Highlands of Scotland, where I spent the beginning of June, thanks to the kindness of friends.

Back at work for a fortnight, and immersed in both catching up and trying to get on with the mix of the daily grind and the daily joy that make up ministry in Elland. This week, I have to hand over my baby...and I'm delighted to do so!

For ten years I have had the privilege of serving as a part of the Voluntary Chaplaincy at Overgate Hospice, and, for 9 of those 10 years, have acted as the Chaplaincy coordinator. As Chaplains, we have tried our best to contribute to Spiritual Care for Patients, for their Families and for Staff, and to witness to the significance of Spirituality in Palliative Care. A demanding, at times thoroughly exhausting ministry, for which I constantly feel less than adequate. In the midst of everything else that goes to make up Parish Life, it has sometimes been difficult to find the time to prioritise this ministry, and for most of those 10 years, I have been quietly campaigning for a more sustainable pattern of staffing. Last year a breakthrough was made, Funding was found for a 20 hours a week appointment, and Lesley begins her ministry as (Lead) Chaplain there this week. I look forward to continuing as a part of the voluntary Chaplaincy Team, in support of her role.

Much of May was spent with the Church of Ireland. Just two snaps from then, one from Northern Ireland, one in the Republic. The distinctive Ballintoy Parish Church, on the North Antrim Coast.

The remarkable Mermaid carving in Clonfert Cathedral, in the west of Ireland, a symbol of the Church's dedication to St Brendan the Navigator, who is buried in the nearby churchyard.

May he pray for us, for we too are strangers and pilgrims upon earth....

God of sea and land,
you endowed your Servant Brendan
with a bold and adventurous spirit
to occupy himself for your business on the great waters
and revealed to him your wonders in the deep;
Make us, who recall with thanksgiving his life and ministry,
zealous to be pioneers and pilgrims for the faith of Christ;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.