say time passes more and more quickly the older we become, but I still can’t
believe it’s two whole years since we were able to make more than a fleeting
visit to our beloved north coast of Scotland. But the calendar doesn’t lie and
two years it is. Thankfully the drought is about to break and on Thursday we
shall finally be heading north again. So while the washing machine is churning
with a final load, I’m taking a break from making lists and packing to bring
back to our brief trip early last year it’s hard to believe how much has
happened since. Back then the referendum on EU membership was still in the future
and the US presidential election was just moving into the primary contest
season. I could never have imagined how strongly my attention would become monopolised
by the unfolding drama that is politics on the other side of the Atlantic and here
at home the unfolding disaster that is Brexit. Add to all this the huge amount of work involved in the clearing and sale of the old house and it's no wonder my poor blogging muse
now spring is here, summer time has begun and it’s time to hit the road to the
Highlands once again. The very small campervan is now distinctly ageing and has
been retired from such long journeys, so it will be the very small car which
will somehow absorb all the things we need for a month’s stay inone of the most beautiful places on earth. So it’s hey ho for the open road and I’ll see you in bonnie Scotland.
years ago today, I wrote a blog-post to mark the fifteenth anniversary
of my ordination to the priesthood. I was still pretty new to blogging and this seemed
to me a good opportunity to capture some of the memories of that eventful and
historic time and tell a story which deserves to be remembered.
year the Church in Wales decided to mark the twentieth anniversary of these
first ordinations with simultaneous services in all six Welsh cathedrals. We live at the very southern tip of Bangor
Diocese, so on Saturday morning DH and I set off bright and early to drive the
85 miles to our cathedral. Normally we would have revelled in the glorious
scenery through which we were travelling, but sadly that morning it was almost
completely shrouded in thick Welsh mist. Nevertheless we arrived in good time
and at 11am the service began.
the original nine ordained in Bangor all those years ago, only I and three
others were able to be there. One had died, one was ill, and two had moved out
of the diocese, while the last was unavoidably absent. However we were strongly
supported by the presence of many of the women ordained in the diocese since
that momentous first ordination and we rejoiced in the fact that the new Dean of
the cathedral, who presided at the Eucharist, was one of the original nine
ordained in 1997.
bishop relinquished his normal position to act as deacon to the women who led
the service and our preacher was an old friend from the campaigning days of the
mid 1990s, who gave us a sermon by turns thoughtful, inspiring and amusing. The cathedral
choir sang sublimely as always and the proceedings were filmed by BBC Wales who
had also covered the service twenty years ago. As we met up with old friends
after the service and exchanged reminiscences, it was hard to believe so many
years had passed.
following day I led the service at the
same church where I had celebrated Holy Communion for the first time 20 years
before and, thankfully, still with many of the same faces in the congregation. Now,
as I reflect on the past weekend and the twenty years since the events it
commemorated, I am filled with gratitude for the people I have known, the work
I have been enabled to do and the deep enjoyment and satisfaction it has given
me. And as I look forward to the consecration next week of the first woman to
be elected bishop in the Church in Wales, I am filled with hope and
encouragement for the future. Gratitude and hope – who could wish for more?
A memory of 20 years ago
Being welcomed by the Dean - one of us
Listening intently to the sermon
Celebrating the Eucharist together, led by the Dean - and yes, it's still the Christmas season.
The final procession - cathedrals love processions!
In this darkest part of the winter, at the end of what has been an extraordinarily turbulent and threatening year, I can’t think of anything we and our world need more than peace this Christmas. So this is what I wish you all, with gratitude for your friendship and the deep pleasure your blogs give me.
Here in our corner of Mid-Wales the baking is finished, the presents are wrapped, and the suitcase is packed, ready for an early start tomorrow, as we head off to spend Christmas with DS and his family. Wherever you may be spending your Christmas, may it be full of joy and peace.
Image: Nativity by Duccio di Buoninsegna (c1255/60–c1318/19 Siena, Italy)