Friday, 30 September 2016
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
The benefit of such an early flight was arriving home just after ten, and having the whole day ahead of me to read mail, update computers, unpack, and catch up with Clare. In the afternoon I accompanied her to an appointment with her eye consultant at the UHW Opthalmology department for an expert briefing before her next operation, three days after I return to Spain for my next tour of duty. It's unfortunate that we knew nothing of this prospect when my arrangements were made. Thankfully Owain is able to come over and support her
Sunday, 25 September 2016
This was followed by coffee, a beer and a chat with several church members in the neighbouring bar. One Brit, who'd lived in Germany as well as Spain was lamenting the Brexit vote, as a rejection of all that's been worked for since the end of World War II, also the withdrawal of the franchise from non-resident passport holders with no UK address over the past fifteen years - hundreds of thousands of citizens whose votes could have made a difference to the referendum outcome.
We discussed the Book of Common Prayer a subject of affectionate regard for many brought up on it, even if they concede the need for more contemporary language, and accept this is nowadays the norm. When working with seminarians, I made a point of explaining why it is such a seminal social, cultural and spiritual document, to be taken seriously by all, whether or not they ever use it.
It's a text for a society with Christian roots, respecting the need for a stable orderly framework for hearing scripture systematically and celebrating the sacraments of the universal church. It describes what's most needed for spiritual development. Its theology is a hybrid of traditional and reformed teaching not to everyone's liking, but its life gives witness to an understanding that interpretation of scripture and debate about the meaning of the sacraments isn't closed.
Elizabeth I imposed the use of the BCP by law. Not a good idea, by our standards, but its use survived political upheavals and remained accepted by the majority of British citizens by Act of Parliament. In practice it was adapted and tinkered with, according to local custom and interpretation, but continued nevertheless to be used. Given its political origins as an accepted core text, its survival, and popular affection, is unique.
New insight into the BCP has emerged for me from being with the Malaga Chaplaincy, reading about its origins. The English Cemetery in Malaga was the fruit of decades of diplomatic activity by British Consul William Mark (1824-36). He wasn't ordained, but as a Crown official, took authority to read the Burial Office over protestant citizens who died hereabouts. His pastoral concern for the dead and bereaved led him to a campaign to acquire rights to burial land for non-catholics. He succeeded in 1831. Only in 1846 did the newly appointed first Bishop of Gibraltar come to Malaga to consecrate the cemetery. During that fifteen years, Mark read Sunday Matins and Evensong with Homily for a congregation at the Consulate. No Chaplain was appointed until 1850.
For a quarter of a century Anglican pastoral life here relied entirely on lay ministry, not authorised by the Church Established, but by the Crown and by means of the BCP, with which British citizens could identify, around which they would gather. It's the vehicle of Anglican compromise that matters here more than translatable content. As Anglicans, we seek a form of service to identify with, even if it call for an effort. No matter who bothers to offer a service to start with. Is it recognisable, part of our experience? This makes Prayer Book liturgy, in all its incarnations and translations, a church gathering resource, with or without a minister in charge. All that's needed is someone with pastoral heart and sense of mission to get things started, willing to do what the BCP and its modern interpretations allow.
Having started the train of thought expressed here, I returned to Rincon. Perhaps due to the weekend fiesta, streets and car parks were unusually full for a Sunday. I was relieved to find the last free space in my usual parking area.
Tuna steaks for lunch today, cooked with black olives, cherry tomatoes, loads of garlic and lemon. A small treat to mark my final Sunday duty. Now I have to set my mind to cleaning and tidying up, and packing my bags. I have a 4.30am start on Tuesday morning. Best to be well prepared a day ahead for such an early lift off.
Saturday, 24 September 2016
Friday, 23 September 2016
Thursday, 22 September 2016
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Monday, 19 September 2016
Sunday, 18 September 2016
I slept quite well despite waking several times with discomfort from my swollen finger. After my usual breakfast at eight thirty my heart rate and blood pressure, which I've been monitoring for my GP back home, shot up, plus my nose began to stream profusely. A kind of shock reaction? Unusual for me, so I rang church warden Rosella to tell her what was happening, then headed down the main street to the Urgencias (A&E) of the local medical centre.
The duty receptionist took my details from my EHIC card, and then took me to see a nurse to explain by problem, and then to a doctor. It was quite a challenge this time explaining in Spanish, but both has a little English for cross checking purposes. I was given a shot of cortizone to tackle the swelling, or whatever, and then they proposed to remove the ring. My knuckle was far too swollen for the traditional ring removal technique, using a strong piece of thread wounds around the finger and the ring. Glad they tried however, as now I know how it's do-able. They cut off the ring with an ingenious purpose made device, and it was such a relief!
Within minutes after profuse expressions of gratitude on my part, I was on my way, then shortly after, was picked up by Rosella and taken to St George's, with enough time to prepare for worship. My vital signs seemed to have normalised, and I found I had my usual level of energy and enthusiasm for worship, except for the runny nose, which persisted for another four hours. I still have no idea what caused that reaction. But, to have survived without disrupting everyone else's Sunday was everything to me.
Doreen popped in after the service with her son, in between other errands, and we had a brief chat. Thee was time for me to upload Fridays batch of photos before Rosella drove me home.
My ring finger doesn't hurt, although It's still swollen. It feels as if I am still wearing a ring. A phantom sensation? The broken ring is in my wallet to await repair, where I would have put it in the first place, had I known how long it would take for the impact of the sting to reveal itself.
Ah well, we live and learn. Unless we die of ignorance first.
Saturday, 17 September 2016
Friday, 16 September 2016
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
Monday, 12 September 2016
Sunday, 11 September 2016
Saturday, 10 September 2016
Friday, 9 September 2016
Thursday, 8 September 2016
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Tuesday, 6 September 2016
Monday, 5 September 2016
The trial of Helen on the Archers is a tense affair, stressful to listen to, I find, slow yet compelling. I have so far resisted the temptation to find out what the commentariat has to say about the proceedings, or follow the the debate threads on Twitter. Partly because of internet restrictions, but al least that's some time I'll not be wasting on-line.
Another hot day today, but not humid, so the weather was bearable. In the morning, I prepared and sent out the documents for the next BCRP Board meeting. It took me more time than usual as accessing what I needed in our on-line file system took longer than usual. Fortunately the documents needed were also attached to findable emails, so I had a work around solution when needed.
I went out food shopping before lunch and went through recent photos and stored them off-camera ready for uploading on my next office visit. Just as was nodding off for a siesta a phone call came in about officiating at a funeral this Saturday, in Fuengirola Crematorium. I was happy to agree to this, as it's familiar territory from two years ago. As it's a September Saturday, I imagine the Costa del Sol Chaplains are busy with wedding blessings. There are few of these in Malaga. Funerals, sure, but also Christenings of African infants from a constituency for which Christian tradition and custom is still alive. It makes a refreshing change.
Before supper I walked the promenade westwards as far as the first tunnel, to investigate an area under the cliff at the end of the footpath, covered by a canopy, visible from afar. What I discovered was a shrine set into the rock, with a long line of benches set against the rock decorated in blue and white tessera and facing out to the sea shore. At the entry to the domain was a linear fountain, below a rock garden above which was the legend: Nuestra Señora del Carmen. This area is dedicated to those who have lost their lives at sea.
There was a notice in front of the shrine asking people not deposit votive candles there. Instead, people brought fresh flowers, and there were lots of them, tidily arranged. I watched an old man praying from his mobility buggy, a young girl in a swimming costume bringing a single glower, and a young man bringing a bunch of white carnations.
That canopy, partly sailcloth, partly netting is to protect visitors from rock fragments falling from crumbly cliff faces above.
I returned via the main street, but curiosity distracted me up a side road which led up a steep hill to Rincon's cemetery, with its maze of burial walls, mostly full, each niche decorated with fading artificial flowers. Only for All Souls and maybe Easter do these tend to get replaced by cut flowers. I noticed a new almost empty wall of burial niches, half the size of others, probably destined for cremated remains, now that this has become more widespread in the past half century.
As I was about to leave, Clare skyped me, and we talked while I strolled home, right up to the time of the Archers, and the attempted murder trial of Helen née Archer. Compelling listening this!
Sunday, 4 September 2016
It's eleven years to the day since I first started blogging about ministry, at that time, under the title 'Edge of the Centre', which continued until I retired and started this one. It was the day Brother Roger of Taize's murder was headline news. Like Bishop David Jenkins, his line and ministry was an inspiration to me from early days.
What a lot of thoughts and words have flowed from me into cyberspace since then!