St Dunstan's, Cranbrook

Letter from the Vicar

September 2017

Wishing our time away?????????????????????

September has come around so quickly, I do hope you have all enjoyed the summer and have had some time to rest and refresh yourself for all that will be going on this autumn.

The mornings are already fresher, with cobwebs glistening in the lawns and the robins starting to mark out their territory, sing their autumn song. Apples weighing heavy on my two old trees here in the vicarage garden and the nights are drawing in!

Have you purchased your first Christmas card yet? I have already received some catalogues, it seems we all have an urge to wish our time away and yet … let’s just savour the moment shall we, and be thankful.

On my window sill in my study I have some nick-nacks that make me call to mind moments I have savoured and I am thankful for each one of them.

From left to right, a dish containing some polished stones, a wooden carving spelling ‘rejoice in the Lord’ a model of a child being held in the palm of a hand, the icon of the trinity, a scallop shell a picture of my brother and I and a bottle of bubble bath! Quite a collection of meaningless objects, it might seem, but all tell stories of moments I have savoured. Let me explain.

The polished stones – an Ash Wednesday idea of mine one year to carry a stone in my pocket each day in Lent, remembering my sins have been forgiven.

Rejoice in the Lord – a wooden carving I purchased in Singapore Cathedral while travelling to sing at my friend’s ordination in Dunedin Cathedral in 2003.

The baby in the hand, given to me as I began my journey to ordination, a special moment, some 17 years ago now.

The icon of the trinity – always in my sight as I sit at my desk, constant moments with God to savour, even if deadlines of sermons and articles for magazines draw close!

The scallop shell – the symbol of baptism and pilgrimage, and I have done a few.

The photo of my brother and me – on graduation day, proud brother and his ‘sis’

And the bubble bath? Well, it was used one day at a service as a visual aid – maybe again sometime soon?

Bubbles are fragile, momentary, and show the colours of the rainbow if the light is right. You just have to savour the moment yet how we love to pop them, be honest we have all done it, for we are all children at heart. 

This autumn as we see children go off to new schools let us not wish their time away, for they have years ahead of them to grow up into responsible adults - like their Vicar perhaps? (who has just spent several moments savouring stones, shells and bubble bath!) All in good time as they say, for time is a gift from God so let’s not wish it away. 

With Love and Bubbles

Revd Ann

July 2017

What a lot has happened since I last wrote ‘page two’ for St Dunstan's parish magazine; two terrorist attacks in this country, a general election and a tragic fire of a high-rise block in London. 

Within the life of St Dunstan’s church, your Vicar has returned to work after an absence of nine weeks recovering from an operation, (I am much better thank-you but still not quite 100% fit – or as fit as I was!), we enjoyed Bishop Trevor’s visit for the Deanery confirmation service, where we witnessed 11 people be confirmed. Three youngsters have been baptised, Messy Church has happened as normal with 20 children and 28 adults enjoying a service exploring the call of God to Samuel and lots of people climbed to the top of the tower during the bank holiday fun in May.

And so, we remember good times and bad times, locally and nationally, things that managed to reach the front pages of the newspapers and occasions that didn’t make the news at all.

How are we to deal with all this? What we mustn’t do is over-burden ourselves with other people’s problems, that’s God’s job. Yes, we need to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep, but as a wise Archdeacon once told us clergy as we looked at the parable of the lost sheep, and wondering, with the declining number of congregations in church, if we were the one sheep who was lost and the 99 were those outside the church, the archdeacon said, ‘always remember you can only carry one sheep at a time!’ therefore - take it steady.

July and August are months when many people have holidays. Schools breakup, factories shut down for a fortnight and sometimes we all enjoy lovely weather! These months then become time to rest and relax, to barbecue and bathe, to visit new places and perhaps even attend a different church on a Sunday. If you are having a holiday away from Cranbrook please do take one of St Dunstan’s parish magazines with you and send our best wishes to the congregation there. Bring back one of their magazines, it’s a way of learning and sharing new ideas and realising that we are one big family.

That for me has been the striking thing that has occurred as a result of the terrible occurrences in Manchester and London, and as a result of seeing young and old come forward for baptism and confirmation, we are one big family and when one hurts, we hurt and when one rejoices, we rejoice. 

There has been a noticeable outpouring of love across the nation and might that just be the Grace of God in action? that will help us deal with all this?

Whether we stay at home or go away, let’s enjoy these Holy Days given to us when we are on holidays, and thank God for bearing the burdens of our big family.

With love from your sister and mother in Christ

Revd Ann