I’ve been having a very quiet and peaceful time in the English midlands with my Mum and Dad, who live in the town of Oakham in Rutland.
My Dad is quite frail, having lived with Parkinson’s Disease now for about eleven years. Basic tasks of life take up the vast majority of each day for him, and my Mum spends most of her time caring for him. So we haven’t done a lot of tripping around as we might have done on visits a few years ago. We have, however, managed a little trip to a nearby garden centre for lunch, and we enjoyed a lovely visit with my Mum’s cousin Ruth on Friday. Each day I have walked down to All Saints’ Church to join the small group (from one to six people) who assemble each morning and evening to pray the Daily Office together. This has been the anchor for my prayer life on trips to Oakham for the last five years or so, and I’m thankful for it.
This past weekend my brother and his family came down from Manchester for a visit. I don’t get to see my brother Mike very often so it’s always a pleasure to have time with him. We went to church with my Mum and Dad Sunday morning (for reasons too complicated to go into, they don’t go to All Saints’ but to St. Mary’s in the nearby village of Ketton), and enjoyed a couple of meals out at one of the local hotels, the Whipper-Inn. Of course, this has also been the Queen’s Jubilee weekend, and this fact was marked during the service at St. Mary’s. I must say my feelings about that are very mixed. I’m a big fan of Her Majesty and pray she will continue healthy enough to serve her people as Queen long past her hundredth birthday! But I’m also enough of an Anabaptist to be uncomfortable with national flags and national anthems in church.
This coming week will see the ‘working’ part of my trip go into high gear. On Tuesday I’ll travel down to Rochester to spend some time with the Rev. Jean Kerr and the parish evangelists of the Diocese of Rochester, learning about the ministry of the evangelists, how they are trained and used and so on. On Thursday I’ll move over to the Diocese of Chelmsford where the Rev. Charlie Kosla will host me on a similar fact-finding mission. While in Chelmsford diocese I’ll be glad to stay with my old friends Kath and Ken Dunstan in the village of Southminster, where I lived as a teenager, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to play a gig in my old home church, St. Leonard’s, on Friday night (June 8th).
Here’s a photo of my Mum and Dad, my brother and his family taken Sunday afternoon at my Mum and Dad’s home in Oakham.
And that’s it from me from central England (which was lovely and sunny for a few days when I arrived but has now turned wet and cold!).