How nice, a Bank Holiday Monday, with nothing to do apart from a walk around Pontcanna Fields, and look for the Mallard family out and about on the Taff. Even better, another two Mallard families were to be seen out on the river. Apart from this, an unremarkable day.
Nothing to say about Tuesday either, except I made the effort to get to this week's Tai Chi class, despite having done little apart from occasional Chi Gung during the past few weeks, while nursing a shoulder complaining of mis-treatment after sleeping awkwardly. I came away feeling guilty of indolence, failing to memorise moves that I already knew.
Today's midweek Mass at St German's was in the quietness of the Lady Chapel. A late night email from Emma, head teacher of Tredegarville, advised us that the children were doing their SATS tests all day, so we contented ourselves with praying for kids, abused by governmental obsession with academic performance, manipulating the anxieties of parents as well as children into thinking that such results really matter in relation to eternity, let alone eventual adulthood.
Before the world gets to be run by artificial intelligence, children get to be turned into organic robots by an education system which puts faith in achieving performance above the development of the gifts of the whole person. It's awful that dedicated teachers are no longer trusted to educate children without this horrible intrusion, which so distorts the formative process, and doesn't readily enable children to develop in their own way and at their own pace. We'll be sorry in the long run.
After the Mass, I stayed in the hall long enough to drink a cup of coffee, then walked into the city centre to celebrate the Eucharist for a dozen worshippers a second time at St John's city Parish Church, at the request of Vicar, Sarah Rowland Jones, who's away this week, as is Rhian her part time curate. There were several in the congregation who were there when I was Vicar. It's always a pleasure to worship with them again. It was also a delight to meet Randa, a Lebanese Maronite Christian, who assisted at the altar. She came and made her home here in Cardiff as a refugee many years ago, and eventually she found St John's.
I met another Sarah too, an asylum seeker belonging to the Church of Pakistan, part of the Anglican Communion, who'd fled Pashawar because of hostility towards Christians there, and the indifference of the the state towards the implementation of its own secular constitution. It gave me such pleasure to find the church which gave so much to me in my eight years there as Vicar, still fulfilling its vocation as a community and a sacred place where all the world is warmly welcomed.
Before returning to St German's to get the car and drive home, I had lunch with Norma in the church tearoom, looking bright and spruce, and now returned to being run by a rota of church volunteers after a break of several years. I'm tempted to offer my services again as table clearer and dish washer, to help rebuild the volunteer team!