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THE WATERSIDE CHURCHES - KAREN'S CORNER


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It has been a week like no other…

 

This has truly been a week like no other that I, nor many others, have lived through before.

 

It began with the news that we had a new Prime Minister. The news showed pictures of her meeting the Queen at Balmoral as she was invited to form a Government in her name. The Queen indeed looked frail but her sense of duty was there for all to see and she was carrying out that duty with a welcoming smile for Liz Truss.

 

Two short days later the Queen had died. Somehow, it almost didn’t seem possible. Our Sovereign lady the Queen, who had been a constant in all of our lives for 70 years was gone.

 

Her Son, the new King Charles III said that her life ‘was one well lived’. She had lived her life dedicated to all of the peoples that she served. The one word that she used over and over was ‘service’. She had committed her whole life to the service of others, upheld by her abiding Christian faith.

 

Suddenly I had a sense of being ‘unanchored’. So much of life has changed immeasurably over the past few years. I reflected upon my Ordination service. I sore an oath of allegiance to The Queen, her heirs and her successors as the Supreme Governor of The Church of England.

 

Personally, it was an honour to make that pledge. Now it is time to honour that oath to her son, the new King. Over the past few days we have witnessed the traditions and legal procedures that have proclaimed a new King, a new era.

 

Amongst all of that tradition, the meetings, the signing of ancient documents and public walkabouts there is a man who is grieving his mother. His whole family are mourning the loss of the matriarch of their family; a beloved mother, grandmother and great grandmother.

 

Sometimes I have found it hard to watch the new King Charles having to follow protocols in the public eye. I hope and pray that he, and his family, are allowed time and space to mourn and to spend time in peace and quiet.

 

I am sure that the death of the late Queen, of blessed memory, has brought up feelings of loss and grief for many who have been bereaved. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of you.

 

On Friday evening we held a special service of prayer in St Piran’s church. It was attended by many who wanted to offer their own prayers and to give thanks for a life that was dedicated to service.

Members from across all three churches took part in the service, united in our gratitude and prayers.

 

This will be last Karen’s Corner for two weeks. Chris and I are are on annual leave from Monday. It has been a very busy and sometimes difficult time. We are looking forward to spending some time together, with the parish pug, reflecting and taking a bit of time away. I would be grateful for your prayers for both Chris and I as we take this time out in this beautiful part of the world and  to consider prayerfully what shape the next few months may look like.

 

Whilst I am away you are never far from my thoughts and prayers. Church families are just that, family. Wherever I am and whatever I am doing the love and concern for family is never fully out of one’s mind. Whatever the next two weeks hold for you I pray that they are blessed.

 

Yours in Christ and with love

 

Karen

 ​

Do you remember….?

As many of you know, Chris works for Tesco. Christmas starts as early as August when the stock rooms are piled high with tubs of the ubiquitous chocolates. For Chris the festive season begins early (too early in his opinion!) and being married to a Vicar compounds the issue! I start preparations for Christmas in our churches in September. I adore everything about Christmas and so the poor chap doesn’t stand a chance…

Over the weekend Chris and I took a trip down memory lane, remembering our childhood Christmases. We were talking about the cost of living crisis and how different Christmas might look for those who will struggle with large fuel bills and the rise in the cost of food. After a while our chat turned to our own childhood Christmases.

When we were teenagers, my parents owned an old fashioned sweet shop (envisage 200 jars and boxes of sweets and chocolates lining the shelves and counters) and Chris’ Mum worked for them. That’s how we met (long story, for another time!). Our families had traditions at Christmas, as I am sure that some of yours did. On Christmas Eve the ‘snack table’ would be laid out by our Mums. This was a side table or a sideboard. On it were the Christmas treats that had been bought, hidden away until the laying up of the table.

We remembered all of the family favourites; The (metal) tin of Quality Street, peanuts, sugared almonds, Newberry Fruits, sugared slices of orange and lemon, a ‘glove box’ of dates, chocolate Brazil nuts, satsumas, marzipan fruits and Twiglets (a personal favourite). There was also the bowl of nuts and a nutcracker. It was usually the Dads who did battle with the walnuts and the bits of shell snapped and flew across the room, endangering the eyes of all who lay in their path.

The tree lights twinkled (multi coloured flower shaped ones), Nannas and Aunties gathered for a ‘Snowball’ or a Babycham (with a cherry of course) and Christmas was under way.

Happy memories that evoke a sense of peace and security.

The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus liked food. More than any other gospel, Luke talk about the meals that Jesus was invited to and where he took the opportunity to teach those gathered around the table.

Sharing a meal has always drawn people together and Jesus used a gathering to teach people about the kingdom of God. He was never afraid to invoke a touch of indigestion by tackling the ‘crunchier’ of topics. Jesus was never afraid of confrontation and to call out hypocrisy or false teachings. He never avoided calling out those in power or those who were excluding others. His mission was to tell others about what the kingdom of God is really like and how we can have a right relationship with God. It must have made uncomfortable listening for some and made him enemies.

He was never afraid to eat with the marginalised or the outcast.

It isn’t just at Christmas this year that people in our communities are going to find very tough going. The cost of living crisis has been on my mind a lot lately. A real sense of fear and dread has been building. I have been praying, thinking and reading about what other churches are planning to help in the upcoming winter months.

If you have any thoughts or ideas I would be very glad to hear them. As Christians we have a duty to care for all of our brothers and sisters and we need to find the right way to go about doing that. If you are worried, please do not keep your worries to yourself, share them and we will do our best to try and find ways of easing your burden of concern.

Whatever your week brings, may it be blessed.

Revd Karen 

A church was a ‘corner’ and a request….

I am listening to BBC Radio 2’s ‘Good morning Sunday’ with the Revd Kate Bottley as I write this. She asked her listeners if there were words or phrases that they used to get wrong when they were children. Lots of funny responses came in to the show and it got me thinking. Many of the words and phrases had ‘stuck’ and had become the familiar term or phrase used by a family, they had become part of its ‘short hand’.

This piece that I write each week is called ‘Karen’s Corner’. When I was small, for some reason only known to me, I called each church I saw a ‘corner’. I had been taught the word ‘church’ and yet I called a church a ‘corner’. So this piece should really be called ‘Karen’s church’!

As a child Chris called cows ‘ooh-coughs’ and a screwdriver was called a ‘doo-dabber’. In our house a screwdriver is still called a ‘doo-dabber’.

I have no idea why I called a church a ‘corner’. It may have been something to do with our parish church being tucked away into the corner at the end of a tiny lane. The workings of a child’s mind is a mysterious thing…

The church in which I worshipped as a child was my ‘corner’ of peace and I was convinced that God lived there. I couldn’t see Him but I knew he was there. I loved being there and even from a very young age I knew that I wanted this place to be where I ‘lived’, to be close to God and to share the good news of the story of Jesus.

Forward 50 years… I had a lovely message from my ex-Incumbent (from my church in Harlow) this morning. It reminded me of her utter faith in my calling. She asked me to lead my first Service of the Word whilst she was on holiday. I was going through the discernment process with the Diocese of Chelmsford at the time and this was such a privilege for me.

After the service I had to go away into a ‘corner’ of the church ( or a corner of the corner!) and have a quiet weep, to thank God for his grace. I felt totally ‘at home’ leading the service and I was overwhelmed by that feeling. It was further confirmation that this was where God was calling me to be.

We all need our ‘corner’; a place where we go for some peace and to be alone. It may be a quiet corner of the garden, by the water or in a comfy chair with a good book and a brew (or is that just me?!). It’s important to have a ‘corner’; a space where we can escape our busy lives, our worries and our whirring minds.

Sometimes we need to go away into a corner when we are upset or cross. Chris reminded me that a very wise Priest once told him that it was healthy to be able to ‘vent’ at God. To be able to let out our anger with God when we need to, it’s part of a healthy relationship with Him. It’s perfectly OK to go away and to vent, cry, shout or complain to God. I always think that he would much prefer our honesty to our silence.

David was often venting at God when he wrote his psalms. He was unafraid to let God know when he was angry with Him. The psalms of Lament often begin with a crying out to God. Some of the psalms show a bitter resentment of life’s unfairness, of God’s silence and of protest. They mirror the human soul and reflect the full gamut of emotions. As you read them you feel the full range of the emotions of the writers.

If you find it hard to put into words how you are feeling, then I would suggest reading the psalms. I find that they express human feelings in a way that sometimes we can’t always do.

Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed. 

I have come to the conclusion that I no longer cope with extremely hot weather like I used to…

I do not waft my way through through a heatwave dressed in diaphanous linen looking as cool as a cucumber. Oh no, I look like a boiled beetroot or one of Salvador Dali’s ‘melting’ paintings. Or, if you have seen the film ‘Frozen’ I look like Olaf the snowman as he sits in front of the fire…

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the summer and a bit of heat. As long as I am in the sea or sitting in the shade with a cool drink I am fine. When I was younger I could lay in the sun for hours and barely break a sweat. Now I slap on the factor 50, wear a sunhat, sunglasses and look for the shade. The message of safety in the sun hasn’t passed me by.

When I was young all that seemed to be sold by chemists was a very dodgy bottle of ‘carrot oil’ or Ambre Solaire sun oil that literally fried us as we tried to get a tan.

Vestments worn over ‘everyday’ clothing for services can be tricky to say the least and has been a ‘hot’ topic of conversation amongst colleagues and Funeral Directors. I joke with Chris about hot days being a two or three clerical shirt day. The witch in The Wizard of Oz said, after she had water thrown over her, ‘I’m melting, I’m melting!’ I now have some sympathy for her condition!

As I write this a drought has been declared and restrictions come into force later on in the week. It is also raining….but not enough to really help the situation.

The heat is difficult for our wildlife and farmers. I have been reading about sparks coming from combine harvesters as they hit stones and causing field fires. It is a perilous time for our land and for nature. Each day there are more wildfires reported on the news.

As Christians, it is our duty to care for God’s creation and it is certainly a topic that is uppermost in my mind. If you have any ideas about how we, as a group of churches, can play our part do let me know. Clare Chipman, our PCC secretary for Devoran, has kindly agreed to be our green ‘champion’ and attends meetings with the diocese about creation care.

On Thursday afternoon a fundraising event followed a lovely wedding. The sun shone, Bride and Groom were wreathed in smiles and were supported by many family members and friends.

After the wedding we gathered at The Perranwell Centre for a delicious cream tea (jam first, obviously!) followed by an hour of great music from Andy. He sang lots of ‘swing’ favourites from Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald. I took to the floor with Owen, who proceeded to ‘twirl’ me at the end of our dance! Thank you to all of the volunteers who worked so hard on such a hot afternoon. A wonderful afternoon was had by all.

Last Friday the family and friends of the late Dennis Smitheram gathered for his funeral. Dennis was a much loved Husband, Father and Grandfather. He had lived in the house that he had built for over 50 years in Perranwell village. Dennis was a keen singer and had sung with Nankersey choir for 30 years. Members of the choir gathered to sing and it was a joy to hear them.

I have been thinking about being a ‘visible’ presence in our communities. I must confess that it hasn’t been so easy to be ‘visible’ in this heat. I like to get out and about on foot and I have found the extreme heat exhausting to be honest, I wilt. I’m a bit of a traditionalist and wear my clerical collar when I am ‘on duty’. This heat wave has made me want to sit in my office, collar off, fan on with my feet in a bowl of iced water! Im sure that many of you have felt likewise.

The last couple of weeks have brought both funerals and weddings for our churches. They are services which bring our volunteers and myself to be ‘visible’ presences to people in times of celebration and mourning.

I have had some beautiful ‘thank you’ cards and emails from families after these services. The common thread running through them is the kindness and love shown by our churches. Reflecting the love of Christ to everyone we meet is what being ‘a visible presence’ is all about.

There is a lot of work done behind the scenes before any occasional service. Our church officers and volunteers go above and beyond to help to make each service run smoothly and support our families. When I am out and about folk often stop and talk about one of these services. Again, the common thread is about how loving and ‘personal’ they were.

These conversations always remind me of the parable that Jesus told about seeds. We won’t know where the tiny seeds of loving care will land or take root perhaps for weeks or months after these services. I pray that the love of God will touch the hearts and minds of those who come along to our church and that faith will grow.

There are also many prayers said for each family too. Each of our wedding and funeral families are prayed for before, and after, these services.

There is a ‘Prayer Page’ on our website. If you, or someone you know, would like to be prayed for, please do fill out the prayer request on the website.

If you do see your Vicar who is looking rather like a boiled beetroot out and about on your travels, feel free to spray her with iced water or offer her a bucket of water to stand in….

Whatever this week brings, I hope that you are able to keep cool and that it is blessed.

Revd Karen 

Bobbing along, bobbing along….

Chris and I took a small boat out onto the water from Mylor Harbour last Monday . We packed a picnic, our life jackets and the dog (also with her life jacket) into the car and headed off for a bit of an adventure.

Those of you who know me well enough by now know how much I love the water. Armed with a map and instructions we headed out from Mylor and made our way up to Malpas. I was more than a little thrilled at the chance to see my ‘patch’ from the sea.

The dog settled herself in the bottom of the boat, lulled to sleep by the motor and the gentle rocking and with Chris as ‘crew’ I navigated our way along the coastline.

The sea was calm and I thought about Jesus’ decision to take to a boat and cross the lake in order to get some rest after teaching the crowds that were following him.

There is something so calming about watching the sun glinting on the water, the motion of the boat and the sound of the waves gently lapping. I can quite see why Jesus thought that this was the best way to recharge his batteries and to still his mind.

Standing in the back of the boat, tiller in hand, I could let the peace of being out on the water wash over me. It gave me an opportunity to thank God for the day that we were sharing and to have some quiet time to talk to God.

We chugged our way past Loe Beach, Trelissick and on towards the King Harry ferry. We watched the wildlife and took in the beauty of our surroundings.

It’s not often that I completely ‘switch off’. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at it. I am a work in progress where relaxation is concerned. Having to focus on which way round the buoys to navigate, watching for other boats and the ferry forced me to focus on being present in the present.

Jesus asked us to be present in the present; to keep a watch for His coming. Being so distracted that we take our eye off the ball and miss his Him, we do at our peril. It is something that I have to work on and something that I often pray about.

Our boat journey brought us to Malpas and we dropped anchor there. Out came the picnic, for us and the dog! We sat and drank coffee watching the herons, just bobbing about on the water. One of my favourite books is ‘Wind In The Willows’ and it all felt very like the picnic laden boat trips on the river of Ratty and Mole (I’ll leave you to decide who was who!).

Water features heavily in the Gospels. Jesus walked along the shoreline, walked on water, was baptised with water and turned water into wine. After his baptism in the Jordan God said, “You are my Son, the beloved. With you I am well pleased”. Jesus was alert and ‘present’ to God in that moment to be able to hear God telling him that he was his Son and that he was well pleased with him. A profound moment between heavenly Father and Son, one of affirmation and love.

This week has been one where I have been focussing upon meeting with bereaved families and writing funeral liturgy, eulogies and speaking to Funeral Directors. Again, it is very much about being present in the present and offering comfort, love and support to those who are preparing to say their final farewells to a loved one. It is such a difficult time for bereaved families and finding the words that God wants me to say requires being in the moment and listening.

I am reminded of the piece of music that we played at my own Dad’s funeral, ‘A closer walk with thee’ sung by Ella Fitzgerald. The lyrics ask for a closer walk with Jesus, to be upheld and supported by Him in our lives. ‘A daily walk close with thee, let it be, dear Lord let it be’. ‘If I falter, Lord who cares? None but thee dear Lord, none but thee’.

We are assured of God’s closeness each day, whatever life brings.

“Guide me gently safely to they kingdom’s shore’ the song goes. Funeral ministry helps those who are grieving to be reassured that God is with them, guiding them every step of the way, walking beside them.

He will never abandon us, ever. God promised that, through the death of His Son, He has guided their own loved one into his Kingdom, to the glory that is eternal life.

Last Sunday we were joined by Archdeacon Paul at our joint service of worship at St Piran’s church. He read Banns, swore our two Churchwardens in and preached a very moving sermon. It was a blessing to have him with us.

Afterwards we shared refreshments and parishioners had baked some delicious cakes for us to enjoy. Our Archdeacon went home with a doggy bag which he posted onto Twitter the next day, as he was enjoying his lunch!

A big thank you to everyone who baked treats.

It was wonderful to see so many people gathered, enjoying each others’ company, sharing chat and laughter. It was a great morning and there was a lovely atmosphere both in church and in our hall afterwards.

It is good to gather for combined worship every fifth Sunday, to come together as a group of churches. A joint service is a way that we can come together as a group of churches; to worship together, to pray together, to support one another and to get to know each other better.

I’ve ministered in three different benefices and each one shared worship on a fifth Sunday, perhaps three or four times a year. It is often the only time that our congregations intentionally come together and share worship. I believe that it is important for us to have these opportunities, especially as we are a fairly new benefice.

An important practice that every Priest is encouraged to do is to take time for a retreat. This is to ensure that we have time to step back a little, to spend time in prayer and bible study, to reflect and to spend time with God.

I plan to spend some time on retreat from Monday 8th August - Wednesday 10th August. I will be holding a wedding rehearsal, as planned on the Tuesday evening.

I’m now asking you for some for some help from volunteers. On 3rd September the HAIRE project is holding a ‘Picnic in the Park’ at Retallack Playing Field in Feock. We are hosting a stand offering cold drinks and snacks. It is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about our churches, to offer children some craft to do and to talk about our youth ministry.

If you have any time that you could offer to help out I would be very grateful. I am hoping that we can work short shifts on the stand. Please contact me on 01872 276 357.

Whatever your week holds, may the waters be calm and know that the hand on the tiller is God’s.

Every blessing

Revd Karen 

‘Let them eat c​ake….!’ (a Purrfect Day)

At Sunday’s Holy Communion Service at St Piran’s church we welcomed back our Archdeacon Paul. It was good to have him amongst us again as he swore in our Churchwardens, Paul and David. He also read the Banns for one of our wedding couples.

The Bride was present , with her Mum, at the service. She was wearing the most fabulous ‘pasty’ shaped earrings! Mum did say that she wasn’t going to wear these on her Big Day however. I disagree, I think that she should!

AD Paul gave us the most heartfelt and moving sermon, talking about his own recent experience of having cancer. It certainly moved parishioners. We were grateful for a sermon which came from the heart and spoke so eloquently of his experiences. It was good to see AD Paul looking so well.

After the service we shared lots of home baked cakes and goodies. It was so lovely to see so many folk from across all three of our parishes chatting, laughing and enjoying fellowship. I couldn’t have asked for more from the anniversary of my first service in The Waterside Churches. Thank you to everyone who brought along cake to share, it is very much appreciated.

A whole year has passed since I joined you, a year since God called me to be your Vicar. I said at my licensing service that it was a privilege to be your Vicar and that sentiment still stands.

A year ago I didn’t know many of you. I had met some parishioners during my interviews but most of you were still strangers.

A year on and this morning brought a very different scene. Over the past year Chris and I have got to know so many of you, which is such a blessing to both of us. You now know me well enough for us to be able to share jokes and to laugh, to share your good and bad times, to pray with you and to enjoy a brew and a slice of cake together!

I have the privilege of sharing your lives, your worship, your joys and your sorrows. It’s always good to pick up the phone and to hear, ‘I just rang you for a chat’.

As I drove away from church my heart was full. I thanked God for all that our time together had brought. As I looked around the church hall I could see folk chatting, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Three churches joined together as a benefice, being together and growing together.

Saturday brought our fourth Men’s Breakfast. Chris hosted and I was back at the stoves, ably assisted by Mandy, Veronica, Trish and Robert. Our number had grown again and 20 sat down for a Full English Breakfast. The quiz was very competitive and Tim was a hidden weapon on one of our tables! Once again, there was lots of laughter and chat as breakfast was devoured.

More good news is that Lorraine, our Safeguarding representative for St Piran’s can now train those who need their C0 and C1 safeguarding training. Lorraine is a diligent and thorough safeguarding officer and it is a tribute to her hard work that she can fill this role for us.

I conducted a memorial service last week for a much loved Aunt. Afterwards, one of the congregation spoke to me. He started, “I hope you don’t mind me saying…” Oh dear, thought I, what’s coming next?! He went on, “you are very ‘human’ for a Vicar and you could laugh with us”. Phew! I have heard that comment a few times lately, ‘you are very human for a Vicar’. I’m not sure what people think we are if not human but I do acknowledge and understand what they mean. A ‘collar’ can be a great conversation starter or it may put people off.

When Chris initially tells people what I ‘do’ he sometimes gets an odd reaction. People are sometimes afraid to make jokes or, if they let out a swear word, they apologise, because he is a Vicar’s spouse. When they get to know him more they also tell him that he is ‘very human’, for a Vicar’s husband!

Being ‘human’ I think equates to being approachable, of being able to see the funny side, of being the face of the church in a way that is not too distant. I hope and pray that we draw alongside people in a way that they can relate their own lives to.

Speaking of being human, I managed to eat a cat treat this week, much to the hilarity of Chris and our CW Paul. It’s a long story and perhaps best not to dwell on my unusual snack… It wasn’t my finest moment and it tasted vile. I have heard every single feline based comment and joke about it from Chris and Paul, at my expense of course!

The ‘Dreamie’ treat wasn’t nearly as tasty as the cake we enjoyed on Sunday. I cannot see what cats find so attractive in them and I shan’t be repeating the experience!

Before I sign off this week, I want to mark this one year anniversary of my being with you to talk about Chris. I haven’t mentioned to him that I am going to do this and he will be embarrassed when he reads this. I wouldn’t be able to be a Vicar without his support. He is my quiet, unassuming confidant who always has my back. He has alway been unwavering in his support and goes above and beyond to help me. Chris is fiercely loyal. I am always aware that there are sacrifices to be made as a Clergy Spouse and he hears and sees the whole of this Vicar’s life. He celebrates when I do and feels the hurts when I do. We live a very public life in so many ways and I am conscious that Chris lives this life because he of my ministry. I will always be so grateful that God brought Chris into my life and for his love, kindness and humour.

Thank you for making Chris feel so welcome here, it’s wonderful to see him flourishing in Cornwall.

Whatever your week brings, may it be blessed. Heartfelt thanks for the past year and here’s to the next one!

Revd Karen 

Can you play with a beach ball in church….?

Well, yes you can if you are Devoran School!

Devoran School came to the church on Tuesday for their end of year celebration services. The children came in three groups and yes, we played with a beach ball! Each student who caught the ball told us something that they had done in the last year that they were proud of.

It was a joy to have the church full of children, to celebrate all that they had achieved and to thank God for what has been and what is to come. The children had achieved so much and they showed us some wonderful work.

And talking of children….Messy Church held its second session in Devoran Village Hall on Sunday. The volunteers put so much hard work into preparing each session and would appreciate any help that can be offered. The group would like to have a few more volunteers to help set up, clear away and to prepare the sessions. If you could help please contact Anne Ramsden on 01872 864049.

Our work with children and young people is vital to the life of the church and it can only continue if we have enough volunteers to maintain our ministries.

The children and their families are the future of our churches and we need ensure that we are nurturing new faith. Please do consider whether you can help in any way.

St Piran’s church held the Christening of Taron Harrison on Sunday. It is always good to welcome a new member of the family of Christ. I love conducting a Christening. It’s such a joyful occasion; full of hope. We are there, right at the beginning of a child’s journey with Christ.

I had an interesting conversation about our BCP (Book of Common Prayer) Holy Communion Service which is held in St Piran’s Church on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 8.30am. It is a service which I describe as ‘balm for the soul’. It is a ‘said’ service (no hymns) and which starts a Sunday morning off in just the most perfect way. The language is traditional and we come together at the Lord’s Table to share Holy Communion.

If you haven’t been along to this service I would highly recommend it. All are welcome and there is plenty of help available from other worshippers if you are new to the service book. David and John volunteer to ‘set up’ for me and I am always grateful for their gentlemanly and calm assistance.

A ‘BCP Week’ is one in which I write two sermons. The Lectionary for the BCP and Common Worship services are different and so I get to study two different pieces of scripture in the same week. I’m prone to get carried away as I dive into the Scripture and by the end of my sermon writing there are Bible commentaries all over my desk and it is covered in Post it notes!

Please do keep the following parishioners in your prayers:

Cariad Dallow as she prepares for the funeral of her late husband John.

Sarah and Sophie Winfield as they prepare for the funeral of Nigel, which takes place this week.

Also for the family of the late Dennis Smitheram as they prepare for his funeral on 4th August in Perranarworthal.

The family of the late Sally Bruce will gather this week at St Feock church for her memorial service.

It is always a privilege and an honour to be asked to conduct funeral ministry and to support a grieving family. The loss of a beloved family member is such a difficult time. Each family appreciates knowing that they are being upheld in prayer by our churches.

May your week be blessed

Revd Karen 

I’m definitely not cool…!

Years ago, the students that were in my year group would call anything or anyone who was in fashion or on trend as ‘cool’. As their Head of Year, I couldn’t be classified as being ‘cool’. During this current heatwave I definitely wouldn’t be described as cool! Layers of clothing and ‘clericals’ don’t make for keeping cool in the heat.

It’s a job for anyone to remain cool in this weather and this week is only going to get hotter. Please may I ask you to make sure that you heed the warnings and keep hydrated and don’t go out during the hottest part of the day. If you are struggling in any way and need help please do not hesitate to call me. Please do not take any risks with your health or wellbeing whilst its is so incredibly hot.

To coin a phrase that my students used to say, there have been some very ‘cool’ things happening in our churches over the past week. There are also plenty of exciting new events coming up in the coming weeks too.

On Saturday I Baptised a delightful baby, who was joined by 38 grown ups and 20 of his young friends and family. The children took wands of Rosemary and ‘reminded’ the adults of their own Baptisms by sprinkling them with the Holy water! They all had great fun and were delighted to be invited to give their family a good dousing. It was such a joy to have St Piran’s full of children, laughter and very obliging grown ups.

Last Sunday evening our CTUTC open air service saw Revd Simon getting his knees out! It was such a warm evening that he donned shorts for the service. We were joined by over 30 other worshippers in the sunshine. I wasn’t quite so brave and decided that my knees were not fit for human scrutiny!

It is always a blessing to hear about those who feel God’s calling upon their lives and to encourage their ministry. More of our parishioners are exploring their vocations and listening to where God is calling them, which is good news. The Holy Spirit is definitely moving in this place.

On Sunday afternoon our Celtic Service of worship reflected upon what it means to be ‘a feather on the breath of God’; ready to listen to God’s calling on our lives and prepared to be blown gently along by God.

Messy Church takes place again next Sunday afternoon (4pm) in Devoran Village Hall. If you would like to join in the fun, craft, worship and afternoon tea do come along.

Plans for the Waterside Churches Summer Bible Club are well under way. Please pre-register your child’s place on the website or contact Mrs Chris Ryan on 01872 864203. The Club starts on 4th August and runs to the 6th (at the Perranwell Centre), ending with a BBQ for children and their families.

On Sunday 7th August there is a special Summer Club service of celebration. Do come along to support our young people and hear about what they did at the club. The theme is the story of Noah (more water!).

On Tuesday we will be welcoming the students of Devoran school into church for their end of year celebration service. It will be wonderful to welcome the school back into church. We will be giving thanks for all that the past year has brought and celebrating the end of term. I am going to tell the story from Luke’s Gospel about the man who is trying to give a party but nobody can come. It’s not a celebration unless you share it with others!

We gathered in St Feock last Tuesday to say goodbye, to remember and to celebrate the life of the late Mrs Barbara Eveleigh. Her Grandson read and played the recorder beautifully in tribute to his much loved Grandmother.

On Friday the family of the late Mr Ken Tiddy came to St Piran’s church to inter his ashes. I had the privilege of conducting his funeral in February. We gathered in the sunshine to lay him to rest in the graveyard.

Whatever your week brings, I pray that you are ‘cool’. Do keep safe and I read that keeping flannels in the freezer and using them as cold compresses helps. A colleague of mine straps ice packs wrapped in tea towels around her middle, under her warm cassock! I may give it a try….

Every blessing

Revd Karen 

Karen's Latest Musings

A Priest friend (from Harlow) posted a picture onto his Instagram page this week of a blue sky and some beautiful, wispy clouds. The clouds looked like downy feathers. He quoted Hildegard of Bingen about being a feather on the breath of God.

Hildegard was an extraordinarily gifted woman born in 1100, in Bermersheim, Germany was given to the church at the age of eight. The tenth child of Hildebert of Bermersheim and Mechthild of Merxheim, she was promised as a tithe to the church from her birth. She was later to become an abbess.

‘Today she is best known for her music. Yet her compositions form only a small part of her story. She was a polymath: a visionary, a theologian, a preacher; and early scientist and physician; a prodigious letter writer who numbered kings, emperors and popes among her correspondents. She was an artist, not only in the musical and literary sense but in painting and, it would seem, architecture. She even invented her own coded language.’

“Listen ; there was once a king sitting on his throne. Around him stood great and wonderfully beautiful columns ornamented with ivory, bearing the banners of the king with great honour. Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself, but because the air bore it along. Thus am I ‘a feather on the breath of God’”

God calls each of us to be His feather – responding to where He calls us. To be responsive to His nudges. To be open to His grace.

If we imagine that we are each a feather on the breath of God, where do you feel that God is gently blowing you, leading you?

For a Priest like me, it is always a joy and a huge blessing to see where God is gently leading others in their own answer to his calling. It may be a gentle nudge to begin writing our prayers (intercessions) and to leading prayers in church. It may be that you feel that God is calling you to give us a ‘talk’ and to expound the Word of God. It may be that you feel that God is giving you nudges towards Lay or Ordained Ministry.

The image of a feather on the breath of God is one of lightness, of freedom to be blown. The feather allows itself to be blown and to see where the breath of God will take it.

In our hectic world it can be difficult to allow ourselves to be blown gently and to see where God is taking us. We like to have some control; our lives are busy and there is often precious little time for such freedom.

To float where and when He wills and only at His bidding takes some learning. This feather tries too often to have energy of her own, and direct her own path/trajectory.. instead of resting on the loving breath of God and letting it all depend on Him. ‘Let go and let God…’ is one of Chris’ favourite sayings. God sees and knows our true potential. I wonder what amazing potential we would reach if we did ‘Let go and let God’?

Part of my ministry is to encourage, to release and to encourage the flourishing of others potential; to their calling from God. If you feel that God is nudging/calling/pulling/pushing or indeed blowing you on his breath, please get in touch for a chat.

As I write this the weather has taken a turn. The heat is wonderful if you are swimming in the sea or sitting under the shade of a tree with a cool drink (wishful thinking…?). As the weather gets even hotter this week please do take care of yourself. Please keep hydrated, rest when you need to and keep out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. I am trying to invent imaginative ways to air cool my woollen cassock and ‘clericals’. I am a ‘hot mortal’ at the best of times and wearing layers of vestments can be tricky. If you find your Vicar flagging and looking like a boiled beetroot at any time during this coming week please feel free to apply a bucket of cold water to the aforementioned Cleric….

Whatever your week brings, keep cool, take care of yourself and may it be blessed.

Revd Karen 

‘Now where has that time gone…?’

Social media feeds are full of ‘New Revs’ during Petertide. Joyful pictures of the newly Ordained celebrating with their friends, families and church families fill my social media feeds and they bring back very happy memories.

I celebrated the anniversary of my Priesting last Friday and Chris took me out for a lovely meal. We shared memories of the day and wondered where the time has gone! Becoming a Priest; making vows and promises, being supported by other Priests is such a privilege. It is truly humbling and made me feel that I had somehow ‘come home’ and that being a Priest was what God had planned for my life.

Ordination to the Priesthood is such a special day. It comes at the end of a four day Ordination Retreat, away from loved ones and spent, on the whole, in silence. I was in Sarum College, opposite Salisbury cathedral and Chris was at home in Okeford Fitzpaine.

I am a real ‘home bird’ and it was difficult to be away from Chris at such a time.

We met again just before the service, in the Cathedral. I had never been so glad to see him and there is a photograph that shows my relief!

It is also a year since Chris and I moved to Cornwall. Where has that time gone? It seems to have passed by in a flash! Thank you to everyone who has made us feel so welcome. I am always very conscious of the sacrifice that all Clergy spouses make to support the vocation of their wives and husbands.

For Chris it has meant two moves of County and two new roles in Tesco, where he works.

Chris has always been an incredible support to me. He is a wonderful ‘ear’, a confidant and a guide as well as someone who makes me laugh. He also gets to see the highs and the lows of my ministry. He is also protective of me and ensures that I take time off when I need it. It is not always easy to be a Clergy spouse as they get to see and hear when Clerics take the flak, which seems to be inevitable in ministry.

I never underestimate the impact that this has upon him. When there is any tension, pain or hurt he feels it too, because he loves me.

We have always been a great team and I couldn’t do what I do if he wasn’t beside me. I am truly blessed in this way.

Chris is also growing in his own ministry, which is another great blessing. He led the W4All service in Devoran. The W4All team are wonderful and together they produce a family friendly service once a month. There were 8 children of all ages in church last Sunday, which is fabulous news.

Our offering of services and outreach to children is growing in the benefice and is enthusiastically supported by our volunteers in Devoran and Perranarworthal.

I led the service in St Piran’s church and we were joined by Revd Celia, a Methodist Minister. Celia preached for us and there was plenty of laughter shared as she gave her own personal testimony.

We had forty in the congregation and it is a true blessing that we have Methodists amongst our number. We are truly the body of Christ, joined together in worship and praise. It is so good to see the numbers who are worshipping on a Sunday morning increasing.

Nina led our service in St Feock church on Sunday morning. Our organist, George, has just come to the end of his A Levels and will, God willing, be heading off to University in September. Please keep George in your prayers as he waits for his exam results. It is an exciting time for George as he contemplates a new era in his education journey. Sadly for us, he will be leaving and will no longer be playing the organ for us whilst at Uni. George plays magnificently and he will be a real loss. Over the past year I have had the joy of watching George grow in confidence, both in his playing and personally. You couldn’t ask for a lovelier young man and I will miss his quiet, gentle personality on a Sunday morning.

On July 31st we will be holding our joint benefice service of worship at St Piran’s church at 10am. Our Archdeacon, the Venerable Paul Bryer will be preaching. It is also another anniversary. It will be a year since my first Sunday service with you. We will be celebrating with tea/coffee and cake afterwards (what else would there be, this is church after all!). Do join us, all welcome. If you would like to join us but getting there is an issue do let me know and we can arrange transport for you.

Whatever this week holds for you, I pray that it is blessed.

Revd Karen 

Four Services and a wedding…

Last week was a very busy one in The Waterside Churches. It all got a bit Messy in Devoran on Sunday afternoon as The Carnon Valley Messy Church relaunched after the pandemic.

I have so much news to share with you. If I were you I’d grab a cup of tea or coffee, a biccie and your diary now before you read on…

Anne, Jane and the team welcomed children and their parents to enjoy an afternoon packed with activities, craft, worship and a Bible story. A fabulous feast followed and Doug played the accordion. What more could any child want from a Sunday afternoon?! It was so good to see Messy Church in our community and to be able to offer another strand to our ministry to young people.

If you feel that you could offer any support to this monthly group please do let Anne Ramsden (Church Warden in Devoran) know. More volunteers would be very welcome.

On Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of conducting the wedding of Olivia and Henry in St Feock Church. It was a joy filled occasion and the church was filled with the most beautiful summer flowers. Seeing two people who love each other joined in holy matrimony is one of the greatest joys of being a Priest.

Our churches held four services of worship on Sunday morning. The BCP Holy Communion Service on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month at 8.30am in St Piran’s is a blessing. It is a service which is supported by a loyal congregation and one to which anyone is welcome. It is a service which I have grown to love and appreciate in my own ministry. Its's balm for the soul.

Unfortunately, the shadow of Covid-19 is still with us and we have had a few cases in all of our villages. Our parishioners are a wonderful bunch and help and support was offered to those who were poorly very quickly and safely. During phone calls to those who were poorly I learned of others who had tested positive, so please remain vigilant and keep yourselves safe. Covid hasn’t gone away and we still need to look after one another.

Please keep Mr Rod Thoms and his wife Joyce in your prayers as Rod is in Treliske hospital at the moment.

The last few days have seen the love of Christ reflected by so many who have supported and helped those who are poorly and their families. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who swung into action and got done what needed to be done with love and care.

Chris and I are planning the next Waterside Churches Men’s Breakfast. It will be held on 30th July at the Perranwell Centre from 9am. Chris will be hosting and I will be at the hob again whipping up a full English cooked breakfast, If you think that you could come and help to set up and to serve breakfast we would be very grateful, please give me a call.

Do let Chris or I know if you would like to book a breakfast on 01872 276 357.

The Waterside Churches Summer Holiday Club team met last week to make final arrangements for the re-launch of the club. Children aged 5 and above are welcome to come along to the Perranwell Centre on 4th/5th and 6th of August. The theme is ‘Red Alert! Flood Warning: the story of Noah’ It promises to be a full few days of fun, craft, Bible Stories, games, bell ringing, singing and food. We finish on Saturday afternoon with a BBQ.

On Sunday 7th Sunday I will be leading a special Summer Club service to celebrate the children and the club. If you would like to book a place for your child do check the details on the website or call Mrs Chris Ryall.

On 31st July we will be holding a joint benefice service in St Piran’s church. Our Archdeacon, Paul, will be preaching. It will be a year since I joined you all (where has that time gone?!) and we will be sharing coffee and cake after the service at 10am. It will give us an opportunity to look back at all that we have done over the last year together and to look forward to what is to come. All welcome, do please join us.

Well, I hope that you enjoyed your cuppa and biscuit as you read about just some of the news and things that are happening in our churches. I hope that if you dunked your biscuit it remained intact (there’s nothing worse than your dunked biccie dropping into your brew!). Personally I’m not a ‘dunker’ as I can guarantee that I would end up with a soggy ‘Rich Tea’ mess…

I do however drink copious amounts of tea (I am a real Vicar cliche). Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned but I like my tea made in a tea pot (with fancy tea cosy of course) and leaf tea, served in a china cup. I am a bit of a collector of china tea sets and love scouring antiques and charity shops for them.

If you fancy sharing a cup of something I am always very happy to share a pot. It’s much nicer to share chat over a brew than to drink alone, just let me know and I’ll have the kettle on.

I wonder what the Waterside Churches biscuit of choice is? For me, a Rich Tea can’t be beaten. Chris prefers a chocolate digestive, undunked. I am also partial to a Garibaldi (we used to call them a ‘fly cemetery’ at school).

Whatever you week holds I pray that it is blessed.

Revd Karen… off to put the kettle on again and warm the pot.

‘Love actually is all around…’ (to quote Hugh Grant)

     The opening scene of the film ‘Love Actually’ shows the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport and the loving reunions between family and friends. Hugh Grant’s Voice-Over of the scene talks about love. His last line is “Love actually is, all around”.

Last weekend the Archbishop of Canterbury visited the diocese. On Friday evening he spoke about ‘Jesus shaped love’. As a very ‘visual’ person the image that popped into my head at that moment was of the outline of a man, akin to a jigsaw piece in the shape of Jesus.

     Justin asked the churches in the diocese to take our worship outside, to be visible witnesses in our communities. All three churches held their services outdoors (despite the rather wintery weather!). Like the early Christians, we met to worship and praise god outside. Those early Christians did not have churches (they weren’t invented!) And often met outside or in their homes (if there was room). They defied the risks and persecution to be visible witnesses to God’s love.

The image of ‘Jesus shaped love’ gave me food for thought. In my mind I saw a Jesus shaped puzzle piece, which led me to think of a Jesus shaped ‘hole’ in an unfinished puzzle. Jesus represents love in its purest, greatest and unending form. What does a ‘Jesus shaped’ hole look like?

      1 Corinthians 13 tells us, starting at verse four, ‘ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres’.

This is a marvellous piece of Scripture because it tells us what love is and also what it isn’t. We know and live this Christian love in our own lives though…don’t we? The church in Corinth seemed to have forgotten “Jesus shaped’ love.

This letter from Paul, was written to correct what he saw as the erroneous views in the Corinthian church. He had heard reports that things were not well in the church. Paul challenges believers to examine every area of their lives through the lens of the Gospel. Among the problems in this early church were claims of spiritual superiority over one another and Paul set out to demand higher ethical and moral standards.

      Chapter 13 of the epistle begins with a very clear message to the Corinthians, ‘If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.’

To quote the singer Tina Turner, ‘What’s love got to do with it’. Paul tells us that love has everything to do with it. He makes it clear that we should be living witnesses and examples of this Jesus shaped love. We are nothing if we do not live our lives as Jesus examples to us. It’s all just hot air otherwise. If we don’t live out the love of Jesus, if we give into human pettiness and ego we may as well be a clanging cymbal; all sound and no true meaning.

     Lascelles Abercrombie, in his poem ‘Hymn to love’ says, ‘For love doth use us for a sound of song, and love’s meaning our life wields, making our souls like syllables to throng his tunes of exaltation’ and ends with, ‘Yea, love, we are thine, the liturgy of thee, thy thoughts golden and glad name, the mortal conscience of immortal glee. Love’s zeal in love’s own glory. I am sure that Abercrombie must have been familiar with I Corinthians.

     We are called to be Christians to sing a pure and true song of love, not to bang away on a cymbal or gong, dancing to our own tune for our own ends.

    Paul tells us, ‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ When it comes down to Christina faith and witness in its simplest form, it is all about love; The Jesus shaped love that has been given to us by our saviour, Jesus Christ. A love that he asks us to example to everyone whom we meet.

     Whatever your week holds, may it be full of love, both given and received.

     Every blessing

     Revd Karen 

Crowns, community, cake and… more cake!

The Queen’s Platinum weekend was an historic occasion. None of us have ever seen one before and we won’t again. It was a packed weekend of celebrations and all three of our churches held special services.

Sunday 5th June was also Pentecost. We remember the day that God sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples and, in turn, to us. Jesus promised that we would not be left alone and we received the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide, to comfort and to inspire us.

I wrote the Order of Service for 5th June to reflect the twin themes of the Holy Spirit and the inspiration that the Queen’s own faith brings to her life and work. Each community celebrated differently with one theme running through them all… cake!

It wouldn’t be a church ‘do’ without plenty of cake to go around. The local bakers pulled out all of the stops and there were some magnificent cakes and bakes to enjoy.

The Queen has seen so many changes during her 70 year reign. There have been huge leaps forward in medical treatments, man has gone to the moon and technology is unrecognisable. Fashions have come and go… twin sets, platform shoes, mini skirts, loon pants, kaftans and the drainpipe trouser have all been worn.

My Mum’s cousin was a chaplain at Windsor Castle and my Dad’s cousin was a Vicar in Suffolk. Generations later and I follow suit as a Vicar. The life and ministry of a Cleric has also changed over the last 70 years. It is more unusual to find one Vicar as the Incumbent of one church. My distant relatives would probably not recognise too much about my ministry today. For one thing, women were not allowed to become ordained priests in their day.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is the commitment to a Priest’s calling from God. It is a call to lay aside one’s life and dedicate it to God and to the community which they serve. Becoming a Priest takes at least seven years and their calling from God is discerned rigorously and thoroughly during that time.

It is not a process that is taken up lightly and is undertaken with humility and prayerfully. Training takes three years in most cases and Curacy follows.

Being a Vicar is not something that I would describe as a ‘job’, it is a life. It is a huge privilege and a blessing.

During the Platinum Jubilee various television programmes spoke about the Queen’s lifelong dedication to her faith, which has deepened and matured during her lifetime.

It is something which sustains her and in which she finds hope and comfort.

The Queen’s faith is her bedrock and her mainstay, a constant throughout her life.

My ministry is to install that kind of discipleship into those whom I serve by my own example. This kind of faith is all about priorities, putting God first; loving God because He loves each of us and loved us first.

It is all about love, it’s always all about love.

Whatever your week holds, may it be blessed and full of love.

Revd Karen 

Normal service is resumed….

Normal service is resumed…the flip flops have been consigned to the wardrobe, the picnic bag is back in the cupboard and the wet suits are hung up…

I returned to ministry after two weeks of annual leave with Chris and Willow (the pug) this morning. We had a wonderful two weeks exploring the Duchy, swimming, body boarding, walking and relaxing. We stayed at home and went out and about from here. The weather wasn’t quite so glorious at times but that didn’t deter us from getting out and about. I have managed to get a bit of a tan although with the rain I’m not sure of it isn’t a bit of rust….

The sea is definitely warming up and it was lovely to see others enjoying a good swim, just as we did. We are still swimming in our winter wet suits, we haven’t been brave enough to go in without them as yet! Somehow we managed to go for two weeks without a single Cornish pasty passing our lips, not sure how that happened!

One of the lovely things about having a ‘staycation’ is that there is no unpacking to be done! It was good to be able to come home after a day out and be in our own home and to sleep in our own bed!

Whilst I was away ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ began. I do hope that you are joining me in praying for five people to come to know Jesus in their lives during this nine days of prayer.

Tonight brings our Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Service at St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal at 7pm. We will be praying for others as well as for ourselves and our churches/communities. It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to join our prayers together and to support one another in prayer.

There will be prayer stations around the church which will focus our minds on who and what we are praying for. All welcome, do come along and join us.

As promised, I prayed for you all whilst I was sitting on Mawgan Porth beach. It was a gloriously sunny and warm day and, along to the sound of the lapping waves I spent some time in prayer. I don’t usually pray whilst in a wet suit and sea shoes but I’m sure that God didn’t mind…

Praying outside is something that I do quite often, somehow being immersed in God’s marvellous creation focusses the mind.

Do keep checking the website for updates on Thy Kingdom Come as well as Jane’s posts on FaceBook (The Waterside Churches FB page).

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is almost upon us and a long weekend of celebrations begins. Again, do keep an eye on the website for details of events and services.

Sunday 5th June is Pentecost and we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit. Our services will combine the Jubilee celebrations and Pentecost. There will be services in all three of our churches on Sunday morning at 10am.

There is a lot happening in our churches and communities over the next few weeks. The Archbishop of Canterbury will be visiting the diocese on 17th-19th June. I saw yesterday that ++Justin has mild pneumonia and has now contracted Covid-19. Please do keep his recovery in your prayers and I do hope that he will be recovered enough to join us in the diocese in June as planned.

I look forward to catching up with you all very soon as I get back into my stride after our holiday.

Every blessing

Revd Karen 

KAREN'S 23RD MAY MESSAGE

Pick 5….

I may be on annual leave but I am taking this opportunity to remind you about ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.

I haven’t stepped away from the beach or kicked off the flip flops to stop and to do a bit of work.

I wrote this ‘Karen’s Corner in advance’ of the start of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ on Thursday 26th May.

In the days between Ascension and Pentecost, it has been the habit of many Christians, for many centuries, to make the focus of our prayers the same as those first believers.

“Thy Kingdom Come’ encourages each of us to hold 5 specific people in mind in these days; so that the Gift of the Father would work through us for their sake, but also would touch their hearts.

The prayer is very simple, “Come Holy Spirit’. I would encourage you to spend a few moments thinking about 5 people who you would like to see come to know Jesus in their lives. Please pray for them.

There will be resources to help your prayers on the website and booklets in church. These resources have been prepared before hand and have been sent to Paul so that our website can be updated daily (thank you Paul). Please check the ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ page daily for updates, readings and reflections.

There will be a service of prayer on 31st May at 7pm in St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal to help us to focus our prayers. This will be a short service of worship and prayer, including the opportunity to use prayer stations. All welcome.

During ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ we are invited to discover new habits and ways of praying to God.

I hope that you will find a new spiritual rhythm to your prayers which will nourish you spiritually. We will be a part of a global wave of prayer during these days.

I hope that you will take this opportunity to join me and to pray for five people who you would like to come to know God in their lives and, God willing, get to know Him as we do.

I look forward to seeing you again next week after my holiday. Whatever your week holds, I pray that it is blessed.

Revd Karen

… on a beach somewhere in Cornwall…

… with a good book in hand….

…toes in the sand….

KAREN'S LATEST - 16th MAY

I’m here but not here….

I’m not here…

As you read this I will have put my clerical collars back in their box, the flat shoes are in the bottom of the wardrobe and my cassock is in the dry cleaners.

My wet suit is in the car, my flip flops are on and my ‘out of office’ message is on my computer.

Brothers and Sisters, the Vicar has left the building… well, not exactly but I am on annual leave for two weeks. We are staying at home but we won’t be working. 

These next two weeks are an opportunity for Chris and I to spend some time together, get the wet suits out, get into the water and to rest for a while. It’s a time to spend in nature, to explore and to enjoy each other’s company.

Our daily routines change and a that is as good as a rest, as they say.

Monday 16th May would have been my beloved Dad’s birthday. He was not a ‘natural’ on holiday. He, like me, took a couple of days to unwind and to start relaxing. When I was a child he would lay my duvet on the back seat of the car and pop my pillow behind my head before we started our journey to wherever we were spending our holiday. It was his way of saying, ‘settle down, this could take some time…’ He would get into the driver’s seat, stick a Shirley Bassey tape in and off we would go, in the vain hope that we would reach our destination before midnight!

Our destination was often Cornwall or Devon. Back then, in the mists of time before the M25 and the SatNav, it was a VERY long journey. We would often see the sights of London more than once on our circuitous journey to Hayle. Mum was a dreadful map reader and I recall seeing the tourist sights of central London three times during one journey…

Someone once said, ‘It’s often the journey and not the destination that matters most’. I don’t who that was but he never travelled with my Mother.

There is a truth in that saying however. It is those travels in my Dad’s Ford Granada that I remember most. Happy memories that still make me laugh. He would give me the history of the famous sights that we were seeing. He loved history and I had to recite the history of The Monument each time we went to London.

Those holidays started a life-long love of Cornwall. I have some Cornish blood and often returned to Cornwall on holiday, it had a magnetic pull. Returning was like recharging my spiritual batteries, plugging myself back into the place where I felt truly at rest.

There was something that touched my soul. I felt at home, at peace and it was always a wrench that brought tears to my eyes when I had to get back in the car and head back to Essex.

I would sit on Mawgan Porth beach on the last day of each holiday and talk to God. I would ask Him if there was a way that I could come back to live here. I asked that same question for over 20 years.

Nothing is ever in our time, it’s always in God’s time. He knows when it is the right time for us, his beloved children.

Sometimes it’s hard to accept that. Our prayers aren’t always answered quickly or in the way that we want. God has a way of knowing what we need and not always what we want, when we want it.

Being on annual leave here in a place that means so much to me is a joy and one that I am grateful to God for. I will sit on Mawgan Porth beach at some point in the next two weeks and this time my conversation with God will be different. It will be to say ‘thank you’ and to ask him to continue to bless my life and ministry here in Cornwall.

There will be no Shirley Bassey belting out ‘Big Spender’ in the car and I won’t be sitting on a duvet on this holiday.

However, as Dame Shirley once sang, “Something in the way he knows, all I have to do is think of him. Something in the things he shows me’ (Something).

God does know and all we have to do is think of Him and have a conversation with Him and He will show us the way.

Whatever you are doing in the next two weeks, may it be blessed.

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KAREN'S LATEST

What day of the week is it and where am I going…?

The life of a Vicar is never dull, that’s for sure!

Last week someone told me that I couldn’t be in two places at once. I’m not That’s very true. Unless I was Hermione Grainger out of the Harry Potter novels who had a ‘Time Turner’ I can’t and I certainly wouldn’t want to be.

My diary is full, yes that’s true. However, as a very wise Vicar once told me, ‘it’s important to be present in the present’. A Vicar’s ministry is full of ‘mind swerves’ that’s for sure. One day last week I attended church business meetings, conducted an interment of ashes, arranged a Christening, visited parishioners and wrote invoices for weddings, amongst other things. Unless I am ‘present in the present’ I don’t allow God to work through any of these situations. Each one is of equal importance and it’s also important to be fully ‘present’.

Every evening I sit at my desk and check my colour coded diary (I know… but I do like a bit of organisation!) and plan my movements for the next day. I will admit that are those days when I ask myself, ‘what day is it and where am I going?!’

Underpinning all of my ministry is a robust prayer life. When I was Ordained I made a promise to my Bishop to pray the ‘daily office’ twice a day. There’s so much more than those twice daily prayers though.

I pray when I am in the car, when I sit on a beach, when I am in church and when I am shopping in Truro. I pray everywhere and throughout each day. I pray as if God is sitting/walking next to me. Sometimes I begin with ‘God, yep it’s me again, I just have another one that I want to give to you’. Sometimes it is a simple ‘Thank You!’

Other times words fail me and I just sit and offer what is on my heart to God, to leave it at His feet and simply to know that He knows. There are also times when I say, ‘Well God, that could have gone better or I could have done something different there, help me to do that next tim’.

Sometimes it’s just about sitting in the silence and listening to God and not saying anything at all. It can be when all you have are tears. Each tear can be a prayer and God sees and knows what’s caused each one that falls.

Before any service of worship it’s very important to pray. I pray with the choirs and those who are taking part in the service. Our prayers bring us into the presence of God, to offer our worship to Him and to ask for his blessing upon it. It’s a few minutes that still our minds and opens our hearts to what God will do in our worship.

From 26th May until 5th June (Ascension Day until Pentecost) we are called to pray as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’. During this time we are invited to discover new habits and ways of praying to God, that those we know might come to Jesus.

There will be a Service of Prayer at St Piran’s Church in Perranarworthal at 7pm Tuesday 31st May as part of ‘Thy Kingdom Come’.

Our website also has more information about this 9 days of prayer and I will be providing resources to help all of us to pray. If you would like to have a chat about prayer or would like me to pray with you or for you please give me a call.

As Christians, having prayer life which sustains us and gives us life is vital to our faith. So if you are a ‘prayer warrior’ or a newbie to praying do join in. If you would like me to pray for you or with you, just give me a call. God wants nothing more than for us to have a relationship with Him, to speak to Him. The glorious thing about that is that it doesn’t matter how we do it or when, just that we DO IT! There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to pray, it’s just about having a conversation with God, just like you do with anyone whom you love.

Every blessing

Revd Karen

Not loaves and fishes but cake and a Full English…

Jesus’ ministry often involved meals; a wedding feast, loaves and fishes that fed hundreds, fish over a fire on the beach and the last night that he spent with his disciples involved sharing a meal together.

This week I haven’t lit a fire and BBQ’d some fish as Jesus did in our Gospel reading. However, this last week has involved sharing food. Hospitality has always played an important part in my ministry and the example that Jesus gave in his ministry has always been an influence in my own.

On Friday our volunteers who had worked so hard over Holy Week and Easter gathered together at The Parish Centre in Devoran to share coffee and cake. It was my opportunity to host and to thank them in person for all of their efforts.

It was a joy to see people gathered around one long table, chatting and enjoying each others’ company.

On Saturday morning Chris hosted another ‘Men’s Breakfast’. 18 sat down to a full English breakfast, read the newspapers and again, enjoyed each others' company. I donned my pinny once more and manned the stoves. A huge thank you to Mandy and Trish whose help was invaluable.

After breakfast we had a fun quiz and those gathered guessed the theme tunes to some TV shows. David Simmons aced that part of the quiz and his knowledge of theme tunes had to be heard to be believed!

We have booked The Perranwell Centre on 30th July for another of these events. Do let Chris or I know if you would like to book a breakfast.

Staying with theme of hospitality, this week has been one of plate spinning. Keeping all of the plates spinning at the same time is a bit like some aspects of ministry. When the dog ate my Filofax (see last week’s Karen’s Corner for that minor disaster!) I realised just how much I rely on keeping notes in the right order; with deadlines that are colour coded. Ministry involves so many different threads that it reminds me of a meme that made me laugh, ‘My mind is like my internet browser. 19 tabs are open, three of them are frozen and I don’t know where the music is coming from…’

I have found a system that works for me but like all things that are linked to a human, it’s not fool-proof. I have found a peace with that fact and that it is OK. I would never profess to be perfect, nobody can. That takes me back to our gospel reading for last week. Jesus asks Peter to look after his sheep, his flock. He knew that Peter had denied him and had run away the night before he was crucified. Despite this human reaction He felt that Peter was just the right man to look after his flock. He knew that Peter loved Him and that his heart was for Jesus’ followers. I take great comfort in that.

As a Vicar there is always lots of time spent doing paperwork, organising and ensuring that one is on top of everything that needs to be done. There is joy to be found by stepping away for a while and having a good catch up with parishioners over a coffee. If you would like to join me for a cup of something please do give me a ring. I am always just on the end of the phone if you would like a chat. If I am unavailable do leave a message and I’ll get back to you (07591 240 640). I am a bit of a Vicary cliche in that there can never be too much tea!

Whoever you are sharing your hospitality with this week I pray that it is a blessed one.

Revd Karen 

Karen's Latest Thoughts

The Best laid plans....

I had a plan for last week. I should know better by now that the best laid plans of mice and men etc etc....

My plan was to take a bit of time off after a busy Holy Week and Easter Day. However, things didn't quite pan out. Instead the week was busy, filled up with enquiries about weddings and memorial services, meetings and other things and before I knew it the weekend was upon me.

I did get some quiet time and finished reading a short novel, which is in itself a novelty for me. It was a real treat to sit down with a brew and to read for pleasure. I confess that it wasn't 'War and Peace' or anything highbrow but it was a ripping good story!

Amongst the busyness of the week God was doing His usual thing, he was moving in this place. Well I say place, I mean three places! Lots of people spoke to me about Holy Week and Easter Day and how they really felt that they had 'gone on a journey' through Holy Week with Jesus and the disciples. These conversations were a real answer to prayer and were a joy to have. There were plenty of other blessings as the week went on and there is so much that is positive happening in our three churches.

I conducted the funeral of the late Doug Angwin at St Piran's Church on Wednesday and the church was full of Doug and Sue's friends and family. Please do keep Sue in your prayers at this difficult time.

Thursday brought the monthly planning session for the Devoran Worship For All meeting. It's always good top join the team and to help plan the service and to chew over the lectionary.

At St Feock on Sunday it was lovely to have Bishop Philip and his family join us. +Philip baptised his great Nephew and we welcomed a new member into the family of Christ.

Last week also brought a bit of an organisational hiccup as Willow (our Pug) decided that she would go into my office and eat my Filofax! As some of you know, I am a quite a traditional kind of woman where it comes to keeping life and ministry in order. I like to see a page of notes and my diary, I always have. I use a fountain pen most of the time and my Filofax contains my life between it's covers. Whilst I was at the Coffee Stop in Perranwell she had committed this dastardly deed.

Willow had not only chewed it, she had scattered all of the many pages across the sitting room floor. My life literally flashed before my very eyes... No two pages were in order, some were eaten, others were torn into pieces. She looked at me, with a corner of a page sticking out of her mouth, caught mid chew. She has a way of looking at me with her big brown eyes which means that I can't stay cross with her.

The issue is resolved, life has returned to some paper order and Willow is none the worse for wear for her foray into filing. The first thing I did was to diarise some time off next Wednesday. On Monday, my usual day off I have a Zoom meeting with the College of evangelists at Lambeth palace to discuss our services on 19th June, when the Archbishop of Canterbury is visiting the Diocese. Keep an eye open for our plans on the website.

Have a blessed week

Revd Karen 

Karen’s Corner - ‘He is risen and the Vicar went down…’

I began Easter Day at a time that even the birds were only just clearing their throats in preparation for the dawn chorus.

I went into the garden to cut a wand of Rosemary for the sunrise service and tripped over our fire pit. I went down in a very undignified manner…

On Good Friday I had managed to trap my toes in the car door as Chris pulled away from Penpol. Thank goodness for the extra large bottle of Arnica gel for bruising that I keep at home!

Anywho… Christ is Risen, Alleluia Alleluia! Easter Day was celebrated in all three of our churches with a Holy Communion Service. All of the churches looked beautiful, dressed in their floral finery and adorned with the special lilies of remembrance. We had visiting family members as well as those who had not been to a service of worship before, which was a real blessing. Children and young people were amongst the full congregations, again another blessing to us.

The Easter Trail in Perranwell attracted families who joined us for our Easter Event in St Piran’s Church hall on Holy Saturday. Great fun was had by all as we checked trail answers, listened to the Easter Story and made Easter gardens.

God had certainly answered our prayers with regards to young people as we have now reinstated links with the schools, our Youth Church group is under way and our Easter Events and services attracted young families. We will now be working to build on this and finding out where God is leading us. We are all aware of just how important, on so many levels, that children and young families are to our churches.

The Walk of Witness on Good Friday was very well attended by folk from various churches. Again, young families joined us for part of the walk and it was a real joy to see children walking (or being carried aloft) along the route.

It was privilege to lead the walk as the co-ordinator for Churches Together Up The Creek. We were met at Penpol Chapel with a wonderful spread of food, which was delicious!

The folk who walked commented that they were glad of the shorter route this year due to their advancing years and I will keep this in mind for next year.

Please do check the website for more pictures of Holy Week.

My prayers and hopes for Holy Week in the three churches was that it would be a journey that we would take together. Rather than jumping straight from the triumphal entry in to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the celebration of Easter Day we would travel with Jesus, as his disciples through the whole week.

Services and events were planned to ensure that churches and communities had the opportunity to deepen their own discipleship in this holiest of weeks. How can we spread the God News of the Gospel if we don’t live it ourselves?

To enable this week to happen I would like to thank our fabulous group of volunteers who worked so hard throughout this week. Services and events were planned with love and care and everyone put so much energy into all that went on in our churches.

We started on Wednesday with a reflective and powerful Tenebrae Service, complete with the throwing of 30 pieces of silver.

St Piran’s held an Agape meal on Thursday evening with foot washing and Chris led our prayer by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic, the language which Jesus would have spoken.

All three churches were offered the opportunity to sit with Jesus at the foot of the cross on Good Friday and to reflect upon his crucifixion. Thank you to Jane and Janet for leading these moving services at Devoran and St Piran’s.

Holy Saturday brought our Easter Event at St Piran’s and David Harris lit us a wonderful Easter Fire. Were joined by families in church for a service of light afterwards.

Easter Sunday stared in the most wonderful way. Jane and I were joined by 27 folk on Devoran Quay for our Sunrise Service at 6am. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning; a full moon, a full tide, bird song and a clear sky. It was breath taking. Revd Canon Martin Boxall blessed us all and we returned to church for coffee and croissants.

New Paschal candles have been lit, we have witnessed the promise of the risen Christ who has overcome death and we have shouted our ‘Alleluias!’. We are an Easter people and ask that our God of glory to continue to fill our churches with faith and hope.

Right, I’m off to slather my bruises in Arnica gel and I wish you a blessed week.

Revd Karen 


An Easter message from Karen

Preparing for Holy Week

As Easter quickly approaches, our minds can be filled filled with ideas of what we need to do…. Preparing our homes to have our families visit us, the Sunday roast, the chocolate eggs for the children etc.

Whereas none of this is ultimately bad for us, do we really take time to consider the depth the week leading up to Easter holds?

May I encourage you to take a step back and journey through Holy Week together, with prepared hearts that draw us to the cross.

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter, starting on Palm Sunday. The point of this week is to provide each believer reflection on the events leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.

This is a week to celebrate, grieve, and rejoice in the different events that occurred as Jesus prepared for the biggest sacrifice anyone has ever made.

We can prepare our hearts for this week by learning about each day and what scripture has to say about each event that occurs.

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday begins our pilgrimage through Holy Week. This day celebrates when Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem the week before his crucifixion. John 12 describes people laying palm branches down in front of Jesus as he entered.

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!'” —John 12:12-13

To prepare our hearts for what scripture has to say, read the following:

• Matthew 21

• Mark 11

• Luke 19

• John 12

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday, or Holy Thursday is a day when people reflect on the Passover Meal or Last Supper. This is the day when Jesus called his disciples together for one last meal in preparation of the events that would proceed in the days to come.

"While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat; this is my body.' Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.' When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." — Matthew 26:26-30

Maundy is derived from the Latin word mandatum, meaning commandment. It refers to John 13:34 when Jesus says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

Here are scripture readings to prepare ourselves for this day:

• Matthew 26

• Mark 14

• Luke 22

• John 13

Good Friday

Good Friday is recognised as the day Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. Our Good Friday services will highlight and remember the blessed day when Jesus died for all our sins.

This day is a key day in the Christian faith. Meditating on this day and remembering the reality of Jesus dying on the cross to take away our sins is of utmost importance.

Here are a few Gospel references to prepare for and remember this day

• Matthew 27

• Mark 15

• Luke 23

• John 19

Holy Saturday

This day is the day between Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here are a couple of Gospel references to prepare your heart:

• Matthew 27: 62-66

• Luke 23:55-56

Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday is the day that we join together to celebrate the risen Christ. It is a day to celebrate and rejoice that our King has risen from grave and beat eternal death forever! To celebrate this day let’s read what God has for us in Scripture and rest in the fact that Jesus paid the ultimate price for each of us so we can dwell with God forever in his glory.

• Luke 24: 2-3

• John 11: 25-26

• Acts 4:33

• 1 Peter 1:3

• Mark 15: 46-47

• Luke 24: 6-7

• Acts 3:15

• 1 Corinthians 15:3-8

• Mark 16:5-7

• Matthew 27:65-66

• Luke 23: 46-47

• Romans 6:8-11

• Mark 15:32

• Romans 8:34

• Colossians 1:13-14

• Ephesians 1:20

• 2 Corinthians 5:17

• Philippians 2:8

Preparing our hearts and minds for Holy Week is important. Holy Week evokes a whole raft of emotions in us as we journey together from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his desperate plea in the garden of Gethsemene, to the sorrow of his crucifixion, the silence of Holy Saturday and the celebration of Easter Day.

It is a time that leave us feeling exposed and fragile as Christians as we are faced with the horror of the crucifixion, of our own frailties as Christians. There is something important for us in making the journey through the whole of Holy Week and we do this together in our worship, prayer and personal reflection.

It’s easy to jump straight from Palm Sunday to Easter Day and to miss out on the ‘messy bits’ of the denial, betrayal and crucifixion. There is no doubt that these events are uncomfortable as we are faced with human frailty.

The Good News is that by preparing ourselves to be open to what God wants to do in our lives during this coming week, He does with a huge love for us. He knows us, inside and out. He knows what’s on our hearts and what we struggle with. We journey together as The Waterside Churches to the foot of the cross, knowing that God loves us unconditionally, without boundaries.

However we travel through this week, God walks beside us in joy.

I hope that I will see you at our services throughout Holy Week and that we can share worship, prayer and our love for Jesus Christ our Servant King, together.

Have a blessed week

Revd Karen 


Karen's Latest blog

Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting on the ways that hope and despair have been seen butting up against each other. Joy in the midst of abject suffering; pain in the midst of real rejoicing.

In some strange way, hope and worry were also pictured in a meme I saw doing the rounds recently, featuring two doors: 'Exit Covid' and 'Enter War'. To see war in Europe after such a long period of peace and prosperity is shocking and heart breaking. And yet we have somehow become used to the experience of morning-to-evening footage of the same bad news, having just been through two years of it in the pandemic.

Last week we celebrated Mothering Sunday. The purest picture of the giving of life, and yet also one that captures real pain for the woman who is going through her labour. The bombing of a maternity hospital was surely the most devastating of the stories that came out of Ukraine in the last month; and the photos of some of those babies born safely, some of the most joyous and poignant.

During the last couple of weeks of some of the most dreadful escalation of the war, I must admit to tuning out of much of the news. I was feeling unwell with Covid and each news bulletin brought tears and the pictures from the news stories lingered in my mind.

And two weeks ago, a short interruption in the constant updates from Ukraine, with extraordinary news of an extraordinary mother being released from Iranian prison, reunited with her little girl after an ordeal of nearly six years. Even news reporters and diplomats were filmed weeping with joy.

In these turbulent times of war and injustice we can only remind ourselves during Lent that Jesus is with us on both sides of the cross and death – He is our resurrection hope. This doesn't deny the very real pain and suffering in the world – there is a reason why he is called both the Suffering Servant as well as the Prince of Peace, the lamb slain before the foundations of the world as well as the conquering Lion of Judah. But Christ is the Alpha and Omega, in whom everything is held together: death and life, human and divine, mourning and joy, time and eternity. We need to turn to him as our firm foundation, and remember the promise that despite the uncertainty of the world, there is nothing in all creation that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have a blessed week

Revd Karen 

LATEST BLOG FROM KAREN

I came across this piece of prose on Twitter this week. It was tweeted by The Bodmin Hermit. He lives in solitude in Cornwall along with his Greyhound Sophie. His tweets are often very beautiful in their simplicity.

This tweet was entitled,

'Where are you God?'

I am in the next seat.

My shoulder against yours.

You will not find me in the stupas,

nor shrine rooms,

nor synagogues,

nor cathedrals;

nor masses,

nor kirtans,

nor in eating nothing but vegetables.

When you really look for me,

I am the breath inside your body.

This reminded me of the time that a very experienced and incredibly wise Priest told me that God was always closer to me than my very own breath, closer to me than the pillow that I lay my head upon at night.

I think that it can be easy to forget that God is so close to us each and every day. In the busyness of our lives we just 'get on' with what we feel that we need to be doing each and every day. As Christians, God is the very air that we breathe. He is always there, even if we forget that He is at times.

Having had Covid-19 for the past week has made me slow down. The cough that feels as if it is registering on the Richter Scale brings one to an abrupt stop at times! Chris also had Covid at the same time and we sounded like a couple of barking seals. We would sit outside in the morning sunshine with a coffee and take it in turns, it seemed, to have a good cough in the fresh air. Not going out or being in the churches felt very odd. The quiet times that I spend in prayer in the churches was done at home.

It was good to think that God was with me, as the tweet says; at my shoulder, in the next chair. There was quiet time to be reminded that God is the air that I breathe. He is all round and ever present. When we feel unwell or are having a tough time it can be hard to find God in the messy parts of our life. I made a conscious decision to really look for God in all that was happening.

God was there in the small things of last week: having time to notice that the blossom was in bud on the trees in the garden, that there was a Robin teaching his offspring to use the bird feeders, that we could laugh at the absurdity of a joint coughing session, the glorious sunshine, the joy in reading a new book. There were also the lovely emails and phone calls from parishioners asking after our health. Thank you to all of you who got in touch, your messages were very much appreciated.

One sadness of last week was not being with Revd Jonathan and Hilary as they said Goodbye to the Waterside Churches. It has been good to have them both with us and we wish them every blessing upon their new ministry and in their new home. I know that they were given a wonderful send off and that they appreciated their gifts and cards.

I look forward to being back out and about later this week now that I have had two negative LFT. I do get 'itchy feet' if I don't get out and have a good walk. Now that the weather is warming up I'm also looking forward to getting back into the water and having a swim in the sea.

Have a blessed week, stay safe and well.

Revd Karen 

BLOG

Covid-19 cases are on the rise again in our area and some of our parishioners have contracted the virus over the last week. We have been in contact with them to ensure that they have all that they need and to 'check in' on them. They are all in my prayers and I wish them a very speedy recovery.

May I respectfully request that, if you do feel unwell and are showing symptoms of the virus please do not come to church or any of the events that are currently going on in our churches. Please do a LFT test and let myself or one of our Church Wardens know: we are here to support and help you as well as to pray for you. It is imperative that we keep each other safe and well as cases rise.

Chris has tested positive for the virus this week and has been feeling quite unwell. I appreciate that we are told that the Omicron variant of the virus is not as debilitating as the Delta variant. However, for those with underlying health conditions and our older parishioners it can still 'knock them for six'.

If you feel uncomfortable about mixing socially or coming to church because of the virus do let me know. I can keep in touch by phone or pay a visit (once Chris tests negative). I think that, at the moment, it is best if I keep my distance a little until Chris is well again. I do feel a weight of responsibility to ensure that you are all kept safe and well whilst still doing what I can to support you.

March 27th is Mothering Sunday and we will be marking this in our churches during our services of worship. Mothering Sunday can be difficult for some. For those whose Mums have died or who have had difficult relationships with their Mums it can be a 'crunchy' kind of day. If you find this day difficult do give me a call, I am very happy to pray for you and to have a chat. I too, find Mothering Sunday a bit 'crunchy'. My own Mum died four years ago and I have never had children of my own. It is a blessing to be able to conduct services of worship on Mothering Sunday and I love to see families gathered and Mother figures celebrated. However, I always ensure that I have some time during the day to reflect and to pray; for my own Mum and to just 'sit' with my own feelings in God's presence.

In order to sit and reflect and to pray I need time. As we all know, time can be difficult to find in our busy lives. We are all bombarded with news and we are still dealing with the pandemic and our own lives can be chock full of 'stuff'. It is important to take some time out, to spend some time allowing ourselves just to 'be'. Self care is vital and Lent calls us to be mindful of taking time to pray, to reflect, to read and to just 'be' in God's presence as we move towards Easter.

Our churches play an important part in this self care. They are places of tranquility, of peace and of comfort. St Feock, St John and St Petroc churches are open daily for private prayer and St Piran's is open each Wednesday morning. You are always very welcome to come in and just 'be'. Sometimes there are no words that need to be found, no prayers said, just silence. God is in that silence and hears you. He knows you better than you know yourself and knows what is on your heart and in your mind.

Please do stay well and safe. Take good care of yourselves and I am only at the end of the phone if you would like to talk. I am equally happy just to sit in silent companionship if that is what you need. My husband would say that I find silence difficult as I love to chat but I can do silence when needed!

Every blessing,

Revd Karen 

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BLOG 2

'The second week of my ministry in The Waterside Churches didn't end quite as I expected! I was 'pinged' by the NHS on Wednesday evening, which was unexpected. Chris wasn't 'pinged' and neither of us have any symptoms. We are testing very regularly and we are both 'negative', which is good. We are both extremely careful and still continue to wear masks, sanitise and don't go anywhere that is crowded. It has been a reminder that Covid-19 is still very much around and we all need to be very mindful about what we do.

I would like to thank all of the Church Wardens, Revd Jonathan and our team of volunteers who have been incredibly supportive and who stepped in at the last minute to lead and help at planned services.

Being in self isolation is not something that comes easily to me, I confess. I like to be out and about on foot and I had only just got into my stride with my rota of visiting churches and parishioners. I am an 'outdoors' person and find it difficult not to be able to just 'pop out' for a good walk. My trainers are looking a bit bereft in my wardrobe! Being at home has given me the opportunity to do some extra reading however.

By nature, I am an introvert and do enjoy times where I can sit quietly to pray and to read. Sitting in silence is something that I have grown to appreciate more since training as a Priest. I have always enjoyed reading and writing a journal as well as spending time in prayer and reflection. Working as a Priest allows time to plan into my working week times of prayer and for reading and study. Prior to Ordination my work in education meant an incredibly full diary and very often no breaks during the day, with lunch eaten on the hoof or at my desk. Finding a good life/work balance was difficult and one had to be incredibly resilient. I saw many a good teacher 'burn out' and give up teaching because of this. Over the years I learned many skills that enabled me to sustain this type of working life and continue to use those skills as a Priest.

Mondays are my rest day and I will return any calls or messages on a Tuesday, unless there is a dire emergency.

Chris and I are very sociable people and enjoy the company of others and I spend a lot of time as a Vicar with others, which is a joy and a blessing. I also recognise when I need to stop and have some quiet time too. Like many things in life, it is about finding a good balance.

Chris has been sent on an errand to collect some new 'work' shoes for me this morning as I am in isolation. The shoes that I chose come from a company called 'Heavenly Feet' which seemed quite appropriate. The style of shoes also have a name, 'Angel' which is something that made me chuckle and made Chris raise a wry eyebrow! I chose 'Heavenly Feet' because they are a company who provide vegan friendly footwear and have recyclable packaging with no plastic.

Since moving into our new house I have put up lots of bird feeders in the garden. I am sitting in my office with the doors open, looking at the increasing number of birds who have found the feeders. We have a family of blue tits, a newly fledged family of long tailed tits and a father blackbird who feeds his one fledgling at them. A newly fledged Robin also visits and he is gradually gaining his scarlet waistcoat. Squirrels race up and down the trees and try to help themselves from the peanut feeder. After reading the reports of how climate change is having such an impact upon our world it has led me to reflect upon how we can do more to protect God's beautiful creation in The Waterside Churches.

I look forward to getting out and about again and to meeting more of you once my period of isolation is over. Please do let me know if you would appreciate a pastoral visit or call.

Every blessing

Revd Karen 

IN THE PARISHES


KAREN WILL BE IN THE PARISHES AS FOLLOWS:


Tuesdays: Devoran. 9.00 for morning prayer - noon. Based in the church office. Includes BCP and coffee stop.

Wednesdays: St. Feock. 9.00 for morning prayer - noon. Based in the Vicar's Vestry.  

Thursdays:  Perranarworthal 9.00 - noon. Based in the Vicar's Vestry. Includes Coffee Stop in The Perranwell Centre