Hands on the rail

Today was the first day of the new term. Along with the hour and a half Methodist covenant service which normally accompanies the beginning of the spring term, there was a really good insightful sermon by the newly licensed member of staff, ending with the words from the Iona community’s morning prayer:

‘We will not offer to god, offerings that cost us nothing.’

However, it was not that, that struck me the most today.

Whilst on the rural ministry project, one of the incumbents said that during the distribution of communion he rarely met peoples eyes, but looked at their hands. Far from the thoughts of not dropping the host, he was concerned with the story the hands of those at the communion rail told

I suspect ours today, mine included, would be a little too well manicured and clean to be at home in many churches he ministered to.

Perhaps though, it is the clean and well manicured hands that are the dirtiest of all.

Last day in rural life!

The performance of ‘Jesus in the boot’ went down so well at Gladestry that we get a second engagement at Garth Primary School this school is larger and has a dedicated hall for assembly and lunch. The children were evidently overawed by our presence as they sat quietly through the song ‘Amarillo’, but enjoyed the performance of ‘Jesus in the boot’

After this we visited a project which was helped in its initiation by PAVO, Llanwrtyd and district Community Transport project. The project has been funded by the National lottery, Welsh Assembly Government and Powys County Council, but the funding for community transport schemes for the whole of Wales has recently been cut in half to £45,000. The project is only able to continue to run by getting contracts from the council and others business users. Arriva Trains has used this service to carry stranded passengers at short notice to their destination.

Transport it seems, is one of the most emotive issues for rural life, it can be the difference between life and death.

Across the road from the garage is the local community centre. An old church hall renovated for use by all of the community is home once a week to Cilmery Community Support Group. This group caters solely for the housebound and / or disabled. The morning is spent catching up with news of friends over tea and biscuits follwed by lunch cooked and delivered by the local school

After a good lunch in a local pub mulling over the week, we move to our final engagement, with a horse and its shelter.

Well it needed a new roof, and we had a spare hour, although as I was clambering about the top of this rickety shelter, I almost fell of as the cry came from below, ‘don’t fall through… I’m picking up pooh!’ There is nothing like a practical project and a good helping of horse shit to finish off a week in rural life.

Last Wednesday

Recycling.

specifically relative recycling.

Relative to what? Well no not that sort of relative, your granny, and old dear of some description. Yes we were somehow discussing these issues, I think it began when we tried to out wierd the local vicar

You may think that we have spoken of this before, and you would be right, but this time it went all the way, right up to discussion of whether or not anyone would guess when discussing the issue

What we actually did today, (that was of some benefit, not just the faffing about!) was to discuss the ways in which a big organisation which raises funds and gets funding from various bodies, drags all the funding towards itself, uses the money in strange and wonderful schemes, some of which work, some not, then help out all the other charities and small organisations to get funding, but wait it’s all gone – to where?!!!

The afternoon was very pleasant, two villages one dead one alive, one with a dodgy graveyard, one with a million bookshops, (39 actually) oh and a rather nice deli, a number of posh boutiques and a rather good coffee shop!

The other village had pubs of strange reputation and was on a lorry route, due for a by-pass, but still on its last legs.

Such is rural life

The evening was spent rather pleasantly with our hosts, fine food, good wine and the best of company!