Monday, 30 September 2013

Pat's first Celebration of the Eucharist

And then on Sunday we capped it all off!

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What a wonderful day we had on Saturday 28th September, as Revd Pat Smith was ordained priest in St Augustine's! A full church, two bishops, a music group in fine fettle, and lots of clergy from all over the Diocese. It will be long remembered!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Pain in the Neck

It's been a strange week! On Saturday night I slipped on the top step in the house, trying to carry six things at once, and ended up tumbling down our stairway, bumping my back on each of the fourteen stairs. After a very painful night I struggled through the 9am service on Sunday.

However, the RW drew the line and I was carted off eventually to the RAH in Paisley for multiple x-rays. By this time I was in complete agony and it was feared at one point that I may have broken or chipped a bone in my neck. Thankfully, this proved not to be the case.

Having been told by the doctor the week before to take some rest, I found myself with another few days of having to stay in the house and swallow painkillers like they were going out of fashion.

It's been an enlightening fortnight! Being forced to take time out, good quality thinking time, has enabled me to think through a lot of issues and worries, and gain a bit more perspective. Things WILL get done on time, I CAN cope with my workload, and with my Higher Power partner, nothing is insurmountable.

For those who have supported and helped this past fortnight, 'thank you'! (You know who you are)

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Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Food Bank

I really didn't want to have much to do with it, as our parish resources were stretched already, and I certainly wasn't going to have any truck with coupons or vouchers, but when West Dunbartonshire Foodshare was born, I was persuaded that St Aug's could be used to provide basic groceries to those whose benefit had been cut or stopped, and who found themselves hungry with hungry children.

At first it was hard going, trying to fix times and commitments, helping people feel safe, and managing to separate those who were really in need from those who were on the 'con', but things have settled down and we are running a worthy wee Food Bank which doesn't use vouchers or letters from your doctor/social worker or anyone else.

The fact that the Benefits Office are turning people away and then sending them to us speaks volumes. CAB and Social Work are constantly referring, and there's a lot of need and poverty outside our door. Benefits are being slashed and ordinary folk are finding themselves in untenable positions. The Bedroom Tax doesn't help, but folk are having to choose between food and electricity, between clothes and rent arrears, with threats of eviction and all the rest. I think we may have saved one or two lives in the process.

I'm appalled by the amount of poverty we are now unearthing in Dumbarton and the Vale, as more and more folk come in tears, with nothing and leave in tears of gratitude with a bagful of groceries sometimes costing less than a fiver. Single mums and dads with kids, and sometimes even wage earners, whose jobs pay less than what is acceptable, and have no way of topping that up.

I hear there was a big Political Forum in Dumbarton last night, talking about poverty and how we tackle the mess we are in. It was nice to hear St Augustine's being praised to the highest heavens for the little we do from MSPs and all in Authority, but why have we come to this, that a struggling wee church which can't afford to pay stipend is being asked to bridge the gap. Is this how the Big Society works out, that you leave the poor to feed the poor? That's what it looks like!