The day of the Gibson Street Gala just has to be my favourite day of ministry of the year. That's for all sorts of reasons - the amazing team that makes it happen, both in the community and from St Silas; the wonderful variety of people we get to meet, serve and pray with; the family-friendly nature of the whole event. I think people are surprised that we offer free hospitality - the vision is one of "The Generosity of God". Our hope is that people will be intrigued enough to come back and find out some more.
I'd been in Prestwick taking the service in the morning, so was a bit late in arriving (sorry to all those who missed me leading from the front - to explain: the bishop has asked me to care for the good people down there while they seek a new rector. Last Sunday was the only Sunday I could make it this month. I've had a long and fruitful friendship with the church and feel a little responsible for them!). However, when I did arrive, I managed to get wet at the "Sponge the Vicar" stall. The queue for this seemed endless, but I was heartened that none of the adult members of St Silas' took shots at me. I loved that our friends from Ruchill took over at the end of the day and relished getting absolutely soaked. I enjoyed much conversation with many people throughout the day, and marvelled at the number of people (several thousand!) in the building.
Well done and thank you to the team who welcomed, served, listened, fetched, carried, prayed, painted faces, played music, baked and loved! You are all stars. If you weren't there, dare I suggest you missed out on something special?
Exciting times - I'm off to the General Synod of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the morning and there are various live feeds of proceedings available this year. If you are at all interested check it all out here.
First came my preaching trip to Sweden. Having been used to several such trips overseas every year, since 2008 I've been resolute in staying at home. I was a little nervous at this trip, but I was returning to somewhere I knew and among friends - all was well in the end. The highlights for me were the prayer ministry times, when many people came and shared their requests.
Last Wednesday, I had the joy of going down to a meeting at St Ninian's, Prestwick where I am interim priest, following the retiral of my friend and mentor, Philip Noble. He and his wife Ros will be sorely missed after their twenty eight year ministry there. It was lovely to enter the building I know so well and see the people listening and talking to the Lord about their hopes for the future ministry there.
Last weekend brought a return visit by the young people of Tranemo, Sweden. A finer group of young people you couldn't hope to meet. I particularly enjoyed the game of 'Samurai' we played in church after the service on Sunday night. Sunday also brought our Gift Day, when we seek to give thanks to God by giving again. St Silas' people have given so sacrificially over the last few years in order that our new building be realised - it's tough going back to them to ask for more. Yet we did just that, trusting that the Lord of the cattle on a thousand hills will supply our needs. The slight variation this time is our need to replace the church boilers - I've been rector sixteen years this month and I saw the present boilers being installed in 1996! This is getting a little scary....
The rectory is up for sale and this evening I had a couple viewing. Turns out the wife is expecting her baby today - I was prepared to deliver if necessary. Much of today was spent tidying, cleaning decluttering. Maybe they'll be the ones who buy?
Thursday means me representing the diocese at General Synod until Saturday, then on Sunday it's down to St Ninian's, Prestwick for their Pentecost service, followed by me spending much of the afternoon getting wet at the 'Sponge The Vicar' stall outside St Silas' (part of our contribution to the Gibson Street Gala). I love the variety my 'job' offers!
I've just celebated the Swedish National Day with the group from Tranemo that's been residing in the hall over the weekend. Much hand-over-heart singing and flag waving. They also gave me a Swedish/English New Testament so that next time I visit, my Swedish is improved. Knowing "fika" and "tack" is not enough apparently......
I still think Billy Connolly's suggestion of a national anthem to the tune of "The Archer's" is an excellent one.