This morning, it was unusually cloudy and overcast. There was no sight of the sun peeking through clouds until early evening. It was a bit humid but not unpleasantly warm, something of a change. It threatened to rain, but there was only the briefest of showers, which deposited more find Saharan sand on the car than it did water, so it needed a wash.
The chaplaincy council convened at the Vicarage. I provided drinks, and listened to proceedings. Apart from a few months of having a permanent priest in 2013, they've coped with locum chaplains for the past five years. It's been difficult but they've held together, despite being three congregations spread over a fifty mile length of coast. It's impressive to see their steadfast commitment with no prospect of an appointment any time soon. They have even survived months at a time without a visiting priest, and that speaks volumes about the steadfastness of the faithful.
Having said that, after the next two month summer locum priest, someone is coming for six months, whom they know and has been before. This will be an encouragement to church members, certainly one they deserve. There are people here with all kinds of Christian background, and it must be hard for those who feel the need of sacramental ministry and rely on priests.
Amazingly though, people adapt to less frequent Eucharistic celebrations, and accept the ministry of Readers and lay worship leaders, and stick together for the most part, as belonging is so important to all, as members of expatriate communities. There are I'm sure lessons to be learned and examples to be followed here, on the part of parishes back in Wales, now having to cope with clergy cut-backs and the demise of once ubiquitous parochial pastoral cover.