Since I last wrote we have had Easter. The message of the empty tomb is still as powerful today as 2000 years ago. Then in May I lost of one my curates. Like George Herbert, I have had the joy of having two curates for the last couple of years, but Andy has now moved on to Bristol to be a missioner for a parish there. It's been great fun training him up and I hope they send me a replacement soon. My other curate, Susan, continues to be a huge boon to us all, and without the team of her, Gillian and the Churchwardens I would soon go under.
Summer brings the visitors to St. Andrews, and it is always a joy to show guests round. For them it is maybe a once in a lifetime encounter - coming from the USA, or Japan. Their enthusiasm and wonder remind us that we are stewards of a precious jewel, and forbid us from taking it all for granted. We also learn a lot from them, as many of the visitors have specialised knowledge of Herbert. I was amazed to discover that there is an exact copy of St. Andrew’s built in New York somewhere. Some of the congregation felt they had to come and see the original, and now I feel the need to see theirs!
Such travel across continents would have been marvel to Mr Herbert. What he would have made of our recent South African visitors I cannot imagine. We have a link, through the local church secondary school (Salisbury High School) with a township outside Cape Town. Thobile Mhlongo started taking in orphans during the civil unrest in the 90’s. After Mandela’s election the children changed to those with Aids or HIV - many orphans, many struggling, and this brave woman relies on charity and generosity.
Wonderfully, the Trussell Trust has agreed to provide bedding and clothes regularly to the hospice, and the employees of one of our congregation has agreed to pay for a monthly shipment. God moves in wonderful ways, sometimes we get to glimpse it.
That’s Ned about to jump in the paddling pool, not me! He has had a fantastic time recently, going to lots of events during the Salisbury Festival. He made willow sculptures of fish, went inside an enormous inflatable cathedral, and has spent quite a long time playing pirates. He adores his little sister Bunty, who is finally sleeping through the night after 10 months of leading us a merry dance. A friend told us that it was better to have a happy baby and siblings who love one another than a good night's sleep. I’m sure they’re right, but it didn’t always feel that way in the last year. Finally we can catch up on sleep again.
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