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THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF ST ANDREW, KYRENIA
In The Diocese Of Cyprus And The Gulf
“I’m putting away my winter wardrobe,” we may be saying as we see a sunny morning.
Ne’er cast a clout ’til May be out—my Mother liked to quote.
(I’ve read that the MAY in question refers to the blossom of the May Tree which would keep the month of May still merry!)
The introduction of a Comments page in last month’s e-magazine has got off to a slow start. A few comments were left for which I am extremely grateful. It makes it so much more interesting to hear from each other. Did you go back and take a look?
Let us try and share with one another the more mundane happenings of everyday life, or maybe something interesting you’ve read, everyone of us are spending time differently. I look forward to hearing from you, no matter how brief.
Here is Dr Rima Nasrallah’s third talk to the Diocesan Synod.
Rev’d Dr Rima Nasrallah
Guest Speaker at the 2020 Synod of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf
Session 3: Lent – The Wilderness
(Although this session covered Dr Rima’s thoughts on Lent much of what she says can relate to our circumstances now)
Lebanon has been witnessing a revolution for the past 3 months plus. The Lebanese were angry with the way things are going in the country and are dissatisfied with the leadership and the systems in place. My Church is located facing the Governmental Serail, and only a hundred meters away from the Parliament building, it was right at our doorstep that people were gathering to vent their frustrations and ask for justice.
They have been pointing at corruption and embezzlement, at clientalism and nepotism, at the government’s inability to provide basic needs such at electricity, water, reliable communication systems, transportation, education, health care, etc. But slowly the revolution square started attracting other concerns: women were rallying to voice their concern about inequality, their right to give their nationality to their children, unjust divorce and custody laws. The disabled were demonstrating on crutches, wheelchairs or white canes asking for more support. A great number of elderly people were lamenting lack of attention. Migrant workers were gathering asking for the abolition of the Kafala system and for better working conditions. Gay and transgender communities were expressing their frustrations. Cancer patients were asking for affordable treatments and the list goes on…
As we stubbornly gathered in my church Sunday after Sunday defying roadblocks and burning tires, the soundtrack of our worship was of unspeakable curses, screaming and banging of pots and pans outside our windows. Screams and curses often turned into sobs and tears. People had found in that square a place, not only to speak up against injustice, but also to lament.
To lament the unfairness of life. To lament their wounded lives. Broken marriages. Failing health. Loneliness.
The gathered crowd attracted all those who were hurting, those who needed to voice their pain and be acknowledged and be heard. I was often surprised to see individuals snatching the microphone of news reporters to tell their personal stories on TV – stories that are not directly related to the revolution theme. How her husband abandoned her and the court gave him custody of the children! How his wife is ill and he cannot be by her side since he has to work night and day to pay for the treatment! How her employers took away her passport and haven’t paid her a salary for a year.
These people needed to voice their pain! They wanted others to know that they were suffering. Luckily in the church year we do have a place and time for this: We call that: Lent and holy Week.
Lent is the time in the Christian Year to remember and lament woundedness without glorifying it, to confess and repent, and to seek healing and wholeness. It is a time to acknowledge that we live in a broken world and work for justice.
Many of us here carry wounds experienced by our ancestors and by our people. Colonial pasts that have oppressed our people and shattered our sense of identity, civil wars that eroded our basic trust in our neighbors, religious schisms and rivalries that have shaken our image of religions and religious groups, gender based violence that tainted our respect of the other sex or even our own.
We carry these wounds within us – deep in our bones- wherever we go and they define our relationships today even if we personally did not experience them first hand. Remembering is vital in our Christian tradition! In liturgical language we call that anamnesis. It is as we break the bread that we ‘do this in remembrance of Him’. We remember His broken body, we remember our broken bodies.
Last week, the world remembered 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and repeated once more: ‘Never Forget’. Every year on April 24 many of us remember with the Armenians, 1915, the Armenian Genocide. On 15 May we remember the Palestinian Nakba. On a personal level, we see couples remembering miscarriages, survivors remember heart attacks, and loved ones remembering separation.
Remembering painful past and expressing current sorrows before God, is laying down our brokenness before him. One of the most powerful utterances of the Lord in the Old Testament is:
Exodus 3:7 “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering”.
Most of Jesus’ ministry was taken up by listening to people lamenting. Lamenting sick children, dead relatives, and unjust living conditions. His compassion and love for the wounded extended beyond the borders of his own community to the Roman Centurion pleading for his servant and the Samaritan woman living in shame.
Walking alongside Jesus, the disciples had little patience for people’s stories. It took them a while to develop this kind of compassion themselves.
2. To confess our lack of concern and our complicity (Truth Telling)
Accepting Lent gives us a time to confess. To confess that most of the time, the suffering of others does not ‘concern’ us. How many times do we read in scripture the disciples dismissing the crowds: ‘Noticing that they are hungry, they wanted to send them away!’ When Bartimaeus, or the two blind men, were calling for mercy ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!” many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. At other point they were shooing people off and sending pleading mothers away.
Unfortunately, the world we live in today is also desensitized to misery. We see so much of it on social media and the news that it has become normal. ‘Ah!’ We say ‘terrible fires in Australia. Look at the cute Koala”. We share the image and add a sad emoji.
Then we watch a video about an unbelievable car crash, boats drowning in the Mediterranean, followed by skating dogs and latest Keto diet recipe.
We think we care about the world if we like and share bad news, but in truth we do not! We do ‘walk on’ as if we have nothing to do with these unjust systems past or present. We go on minding our own business, practicing our daily quiet time and doing our prayers and good deeds. Famous Psychoanalyst, Donald Winnicott defined concern saying: ‘Concern refers to the fact that the individual cares or minds and both feels and accepts responsibility’.
I come from a part of the world where we can only see ourselves as victims. It is always the fault of others: Imperialism, Religious extremism, Sectarianism, the Oligarchs, the government, but never us!
In the demonstrations I mentioned, the demonstrators pointed to all sorts of unethical practices on the side of the leadership; but none admitted that we are all responsible for perpetuating this system. We have bribed, we have unashamedly polluted sea and air, we have asked for special favors, we have cheaply hired house maids, we have participated in a free capitalist economy that knows no accountability, and we have elected representatives based on their religious affiliation or lineage rather than agendas for the public good.
In our past and current world systems, if we think hard enough we will discover that we all are or have been implicated in the woundedness of the world and of others – one way or the other.
Why would a Bangladeshi man accept to share an overcrowded room on a construction site in Qatar? Why would a Philippina lady leave her children for 8 years to work illegally in the slums of Beirut! And how can I explain the plight of an Assyrian- Iraqi family in few sentences? In a world where simplified facts are preferred and black and white categories are the norm, rare are those who have the patience to explore the tangled reality of our combined sins. Some world leader or an extremist sect can be blamed for all ills and later be sanctioned to satisfy our sense of justice.
We like to feel that we have nothing to do with all these issues and that as we come to God in prayer, it is enough to own up to our private sins. The truth is we are all implicated one way or another in the global and structural injustices that cause much of the woundedness we witness today. Our colonial past and thirst for oil and power still bear repercussions today. Deals made by world powers with opportunist local leaders drew artificial maps here in this region, displaced some communities and grouped others forcefully on the same land. Continuous foreign interference in the internal affairs of smaller countries polarizes the already unstable communities and contribute to erecting more walls and borders.
Add to this the massive effects of our economic practices. From global economic systems to local consumer patterns, our unexamined lifestyles contribute a great deal to inequalities that fuel anger or feed despair. Those same irresponsible consumer patterns, in turn, bring about ecological pains that engender more human misery. Why am I mentioning this in the context of discipleship?
Because discipleship is not about my small little self in isolation from the world. It requires telling the truth and confessing that as citizens of this world- we are also implicated one way or another in the chains of injustice. Whatever we do in our earnestness to minister to the other remains wanting.
Developing the capacity for concern (as Winnicott defines it) is a necessity for discipleship.
Living Lent gives us the chance to repent and change both personally and collectively. To repent from ‘wounding our lives, the lives of others and the lives of the world’ (Iona Liturgy).
But many of us are not given the chance to repent and to change in daily life. We live in places and structures that fixate our roles and place. We are elements in the big machines of our organizations and structures and of our families and cultures! We often need a space and a time to come to ourselves before God and examine our lives.
In both the old and the new testament, the wilderness is the image used for that place and time.
It is interesting that the Lord did not Zap his people from one place to the other. From slavery to freedom! Though geographically it does not really need 40 years to make this move. They needed time in between. They needed to take distance and to take time to think, to grow, and to become.
They needed to reflect on what has happened to them. On their history in Egypt, the experience of slavery, and how that compared to other experiences. They needed to realize how complex it was and how they were also accomplices in the systems that oppressed them and to which they strangely and perversely longed for: “We don’t have any meat! They complained, “In Egypt we could eat all the fish we wanted, and there were cucumbers, melons, onions, and garlic. “But we’re starving out here”.
They needed distance to reorganize their life together and negotiate with God the best systems to organize a community, now that the systems they knew were no longer there! What law should be implemented? How does God want them to live?
They needed this time in between!
Many people I know who live and work in the Gulf – correct me if I am wrong – express their time in this region as time in-between. It is not the home from which they come, and it can never be the final destination as they will never become citizens. This transient aspect of many members of the diocese can be frustrating but it can also be a blessing. It is ‘a wilderness’ of some sort where one can be given a chance to deal with one’s tempter. To look back at one’s home culture and evaluate it from a distance and evaluate one’s relationship with it. It can be a time to figure out what is important in life? Is it all about ‘Fish, cucumber, melon and onion’? To rethink how a community can function and under whose laws? And what it feels like to live as a minority, as guests?
Change, maturity and growth are possible in the wilderness where one realizes how dependent one is on God and his providence. Embracing the image of the wilderness – despite the fact that this doesn’t look like a wilderness – can help us as we explore our Christian life and relationships but also as we minister to others particularly those who have no compass to guide them in this wilderness.
In this wilderness, creating a home becomes important, even if it is a portable tent. A space, a home, where one can find besides compassion, a compass in this changing and shifting world. In this home one should find compassion which remembers and confesses but also a compass that guides and orients.
I like the image of the compass way more than the GPS. A compass gives direction and not instructions! Many are longing for direction in our confusing and stressful lives. Sometimes we tend to treat scripture and Christian instruction in a way that looks more like a GPS; giving detailed explanations and letting people rely too much on us and our opinion/interpretations. If we approach scripture as a GPS we sometimes get people even more lost; since 2000 years roads have changed and there are new roundabouts….A compass on the other hand always points north and can assist us to get ‘there’ no matter how different the road might have become or whatever faces us on the way. In our wilderness, we need that compass and the fellowship of disciples can provide one.
Please remember to inform one of the Wardens if you know of someone who is unwell or in hospital. We often hear people say ‘I thought you knew’. It is better that they hear several times rather than not at all.
Cartoon by Adrian Raeside
For a time of anxiety
One challenge of lockdown is under-standing exactly what’s happening out there in the big wide world. So I was grateful for the recently published Office of National Statistics survey results on the UK’s reaction to coronavirus.
Two things struck me. First, over 4 in 5 adults in Great Britain said they were ‘very worried or somewhat worried’ about the effect that the coronavirus is having on their life right now. Second, nearly half of adults (46.9%) reported ‘high levels of anxiety’.
My first thought about this is that it’s not unreasonable to be anxious at the moment. After all, we face an invisible, persistent and lethal enemy about which even the experts seem to know little, and we are all increasingly hearing of those close to us who have caught the virus and of those who have died. And there are other, but no less significant, worries: when will this end? Will my job survive? One of many major differences with the Blitz of 1940 and now is that then everybody was kept so busy on ‘the war effort’ that they had too little time to worry; now we have too much.
We would be very foolish to live our life without having some concern for the future but anxiety is more than concern; it’s a worm that gnaws away in our mind, a shadow that hangs over everything which never seems to go away. In fact, anxiety feeds on itself; it’s easy to become anxious about our level of anxiety.
Anxiety is bad news in so many ways. Medically, it’s a stress that, over the long term, harms the body. Psychologically, anxiety turns difficulties into insurmountable obstacles and makes sensible people do unwise things. Anxiety erodes away at the good things in our lives: it’s difficult to be generous when you are worried about paying the bills in six months’ time and it’s hard to be kind if anxiety clouds your vision. Anxiety poisons life: in a phrase, it’s hard to be cheerful when you’re fearful.
So how do we defeat anxiety? Some people trust in statistics and decide that because they are fit, young, isolated, the probability of a serious infection is low. Others put their faith in luck: they cross their fingers or stroke their rabbit’s paw. Others appeal to fatalism: if I’m going to get it, I’m going to get it. Still others put their faith in positive thinking and endlessly repeat, ‘I’ve survived so far, I will survive!’ Personally, I don’t find any of these much comfort; to me they all look like a form of Russian roulette!
Speaking personally, I do get anxious for myself and my loved ones but I try to make sure anxiety is a visitor not a resident in my mind. My response is based on my faith in a God to whom I have access through Jesus. In fact, it’s Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount that help me most.
There, Jesus says, ‘What is the price of two sparrows – one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows’ (Matthew 10:29–31 NLT).
I hang onto two things from this. The first is that in this mention of two biological processes – the death of sparrows and baldness – God is telling me that he is in control of even the smallest things and that includes viruses. So, in this present pandemic, God does not sit in the heavens frowning in frustration that someone, somewhere ate a badly cooked bat (if that is indeed what happened). He knew about it and, for his own reasons, allowed it. Yes, I need to take precautions and apply common sense. As the psalm writer says, ‘My future is in your hands’ (Psalm 31:15 NLT).
That powerful if somewhat cool view of an all-powerful God in supreme control of everything is balanced by the second truth in this passage: God can be known as someone who is our loving Father; as the one who views and values us as having greater value than sparrows.
God is in charge, and he loves his children. I know that leaves all sorts of issues open. Given the number of Christians in the caring profession I don’t doubt that this dreadful epidemic has taken many of them directly into the comfort of his presence. Yet it says that ultimately anxiety is unnecessary. God our Lord is in control and God our Father cares for us. And that is what I believe and trust.
As a summary remedy for anxiety let me offer you a quote from John Newton, the eighteenth-century sailor and slave trader who, after his remarkable conversion, became a much-loved clergyman and social reformer. Drawing on a life in which he had experienced more than his fair share of anxiety, he wrote this in one of his hymns:
How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,
In a believer’s ear!
It soothes their sorrows, heals their wounds,
And drives away their fear.
That’s a remedy that worked for him and I have to say it works for me. Every time. May it work for you too!
21st May 2020
Very odd for those disciples
talking thus with one another
suddenly to have there Jesus
in the flesh – their friend and brother;
he whom they had just abandoned,
he whom they had left behind
each betraying him who came there
to redeem all humankind.
Yet he died for them – so lonely,
visited with every shame –
they had left their Lord and Master,
bearer of God’s holy name.
Still, he came to stand among them,
showing them his hands and feet
bearing marks of crucifixion –
came once more entire, complete.
Could this be their risen Saviour –
could his prophesy be true –
that he’d rise and vanquish death, so
saving them? They hardly knew.
What on earth can they have thought then –
if on earth’s the proper phrase –
was the Judgement Day upon them;}
was this day the End of Days?
Would they now be justly punished
for their pusillanimous retreat,
for their failure to accept that
this was vict’ry – not defeat?
Not just bread did he break for them
but the Scriptures also; so
that they might finally believe him –
murdered thus but risen so.
Then he told them of their mission –
how they must leave all they knew,
face all perils in the knowledge
that to him they must be true.
Devils, serpents, curing sickness,
speaking tongues they’d never known?
How could all this come to people
who had left him all alone?
While they puzzled, out he led them,
off to Bethany nearby,
blessed them – just as into heaven
he was taken from their eye.
Now they worshipped him in earnest,
now they knew what they must do –
preach the Gospel of their Saviour,
keeping faith and staying true.
Risking wrath of those who shunned them,
facing danger every day,
nonetheless they’d serve their Master,
fearing nothing, come what may.
They, the very last to see him –
man among us, here on earth –
handed down to us the message
of the one whose humble birth …
gave no hint of later greatness –
tender baby in a manger –
yet who conquered death for ever,
for us facing every danger.
Gone from sight from the disciples,
thus ascending to his throne,
yet he is with us for ever –
never shall we be alone.
Glory be to God the Father
and the Spirit and the Son;
this Ascensiontide we praise thee,
one in three and three in one. Amen.
(Based on Mark 16:14-end and Luke 24:44-53.)
Title: The Ascension Artist: Unknown
Culture: German. Date: probably 1170s
Place Created: Hildesheim, Germany
In the center of the miniature, Christ ascends into heaven forty days after his Resurrection. Gently floating aloft in a dance-like pose, he looks down tenderly at the Virgin Mary and reaches out his hand in blessing. The apostles stand to either side, their hands raised in gestures of amazement. Directly below Christ, King David points up toward the ascending figure. In the corners, four figures from the Old Testament–Elijah, Ezekiel, Enoch, and Moses–represent stories and prophesies from Jewish scripture.
The Ascension of Christ (1304-06), by Giotto (c.1267-1337).
Forty days after his resurrection, Christ, shrouded in clouds, ascends to Heaven. The climactic event of his time on Earth is witnessed by 11 of his 12 Disciples: Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ for 30 pieces of silver, had hanged himself in shame. Various accounts claim that St Paul the Apostle was also present, as well as the Virgin Mary, depicted by Giotto in blue, an expensive pigment worthy of the Mother of God. Christ is accompanied on his ascent by two angels who, according to the New Testament Book of Acts, promise that: ‘This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into Heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into Heaven.’
In an extraordinarily concise passage, St Mark’s Gospel summarises the Ascension in two sentences: ‘So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached elsewhere.’ Christ’s return to Heaven was the ultimate symbol of his divinity.
Giotto’s delicate fresco, part of a cycle, in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua portrays Christ in profile, as if climbing. The painter, arguably the most significant artist of the early Renaissance, may have been influenced by a verse in medieval Ascension liturgies: ‘The Lord leads captivity captive, climbing on high to his holy place on Sinai.’ Christ’s hands pierce the frame of the image, a device employed for centuries in iconography. Artists within the orbit of Venice were often influenced by such Byzantine traditions.
Well Hello Everybody.
I hope you are all well and have come through the “Lockdown” safely so far and will continue to do so. The good news from Northern Cyprus is that we haven’t had any new cases for about 17 days and hopefully this will continue. We have been very fortunate that we have only had 4 deaths so far but as far as we are concerned is of course 4 too many.
We are still not allowed to go walking or for exercise. We had all been hoping these restrictions would have been eased from the 4th of May but we are going to have to wait a while longer, so keep fingers crossed. We are not allowed to visit anyone’s home either and we certainly do miss the cups of coffee not to mention the odd chocolate biscuit.
Lots more shops have re-opened this week under very strict rules such as no entry without a mask and your temperature being taken. Gloves have to be worn as well. Every supermarket has some one at the door ensuring this happens.
As I have said before my gardening now consists of pots and their numbers are growing just like Topsy! I have even managed to have a second stem flowering on the Amaryllis (given to me by the lady next door earlier in the year). I know that is not the correct name for it but it’s the one most know it by. The Freesia have gone over now and my Anemones as well, but they put on a lovely show in spite of a couple of really nasty rain storms that stripped some stems bare. So now I’ve got Dianthus and Gazaniias waiting to go into pots when there’s some room and the leaves have died back a bit.
I have started growing Herbs as they seem to do well in pots so I’ve got Thyme and Basil and I’m adding Lemon Grass and Sage from my old home, then I’ll see what else I can get. Mint will be a cert.
The telephone companies here must be on a winner as it’s the easiest way to reach a friend or at least it is for me as instead of using WhatsApp. I still reach for my old “Doro shell phone” (it fits in the pocket easier).
I’ve been making marmalade and jam ready for the church shop opening again but then the jars need storing and I’m convinced my cupboards are shrinking. Does it ever happen to you as well?
Our weather this week has not been good to say the least. We have had 2 days of rain with yesterday’s rain being really heavy, with thunder, lightening, the lot. One of my pots of Basil seedlings got left out by mistake and took a real battering, I do hope they pick up again.
A few weeks ago I decided to go to Richard Dobb’s for some lemons (they had given me permission before they went to the UK). It had rained a couple of days before I went but I thought it would have dried. Driving across the field track I felt the car start slipping and I finished up in a puddle of squelch! I couldn’t move the car at all. Luckily for me a man was coming to feed his dogs. He took one look at the car, went away and came back complete with friend and friend’s tractor. Together they proceeded to drag my car out. They made sure I could drive away OK and then they left after brushing off my thanks. Just imagine 2 men doing all that for someone they didn’t know. It just shows how kind people really are.
I think that’s all for now
Much Love from Cyprus.
Thursday Morning e-Praise Service
Until we are able to hold services at St Andrew’s Thursday Morning Praise is going to continue as an E-service. That means regular attendees at that service will be emailed a full service text including Scripture readings, a (short) talk and prayer suggestions.
The intention is that at 10am each Thursday we can still join in corporate worship: participants are encouraged to read aloud the usual responses, read the Scriptures and talk, add their own prayers and hence continue to be part of our worshipping community.
The service will be emailed out a day or so in advance. If you would like to be included in this weekly email, please contact us at email@example.com
Yours in Christ
Steve & Sally
Friends and people of St Andrew’s Church Kyrenia
These are difficult days and for so many very sad days. We pray for all those who are serving communities in the many countries around the world where the Corona virus is striking people down, and for family and friends of people undergoing treatment. We remember all those who have died and especially front line workers who have put themselves in danger. May they rest in Peace.
Spring is a beautiful time in Cyprus and at Easter the people of St Andrew’s look forward to welcoming friends, regular visitors and first time tourists to Easter services and fellowship. Sadly this year this has not been possible and the Church is now locked with North Cyprus under similar isolation regulations to those currently being applied around the world. The deepest wish of us all, is that the day will soon be here when we can come together in our beautiful church once again to worship our Lord.
Of course, the closure of Church and the absence of visitors has left St Andrew’s without the normal collections. If you wish to make an donation from wherever you are to support the work of the Church, full details are available on the giving page of the website. Details of how to make payments to the Church UK Charity Bank account by cheque or bank transfer are listed. Regular monthly Standing Order donations enable budgeting of church finances.
We have recently introduced a new simple method of SMS donation to St Andrew’s for UK mobile phone users, similar to that used for appeals on TV in UK.
Text KYRENIA to 70085 to donate £10 to St Andrews
With a UK mobile phone in the UK or anywhere you are able to roam with your UK mobile, including when you are in North Cyprus, Text KYRENIA to 70085 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message. The charge will appear on your telephone bill. Repeat donations are possible to a maximum of £30 per day by texting up to three messages in one day of KYRENIA to 70085.
SMS donations can be Gift Aided. A reply message acknowledging and thanking you for the donation will be received inviting you, if appropriate and you are able, to send us your Gift Aid details to enable St Andrew’s to make the GA application on your behalf.
Thank you so much for your support.
THINGS HAPPENING ELSEWHERE IN CYPRUS
‘ For I was hungry and you gave me food…’ Matthew 25:35
In any crisis, it is those who are vulnerable and on the margins of society who are most deeply affected. During this time of COVID-19, asylum seekers and refugees are among those in greatest need – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Many NGOs and agencies on whom they have relied for essential provisions, advice, training and psycho-social support have needed to close their doors, as of course, have churches and other centres of worship. But where those in need are unable to come to us, we, while honouring the necessary government restrictions on movement, are going out to them.
Existing initiatives such as weekly distribution of food and essential items by Christchurch, Ayia Napa have been able to continue, as has the meal provided on a regular basis by volunteers from St. Paul’s Cathedral for those in need. And from St. Helena’s, Larnaca, a small group of volunteers is distributing gifts of food to individuals on a regular basis through the Oasis Project.
The Anglican Alliance has included our work in Cyprus in their examples of how churches across the Anglican Communion are supporting those in need during COVID-19. See Providing food to vulnerable and marginalised people in Cyprus – by Joel Kelling, Anglican Alliance Facilitator for the Middle East.
As these social concern initiatives continue, it is a particular joy that interfaith and secular partnerships are being forged and strengthened, so that, together, we can more effectively provide food for the hungry in our midst.
If you feel able to offer practical help – during the pandemic and beyond – please contact me. And please do continue to pray for all those in our communities who are most deeply affected by COVID-19 and its ramifications.
Food packages in St. Paul’s Cathedral,Nicosia
Crucified and risen Lord,
you know the strangeness of these times,
and the isolation we share.
In these lock-downed days,
we open our hearts to you;
that, amidst the suffering of our world,
we may be carriers of hope,
transmitters of joy,
givers of life,
and people of Easter hope. Amen
Archdeaconry Social Concern Officer
IT’S the little acts of kindness that count. The notes under the door offering shopping runs to the supermarket or chemist.
The calls, texts and emails from old friends and close family, but more touchingly — the unsolicited inquiries from colleagues and even passers-by asking if I’m OK.
MORE MUSINGS FROM KENT…………
I cannot believe that the weeks are passing by just as quickly even though I’m not going anywhere, infact I’m discovering more and more interesting things to do.
One of the things I have watched this month that really gripped me was the film “The Two Popes” starring Anthony Hopkins and Johnathan Pryce. Inspired by true events, the movie centers around Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce), the soon-to-be elected Pope Francis, and the aging Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins). The film offers a fascinating window into the debates between two ideologically opposed religious leaders. They debate issues like celibacy among priests and the role of women in the Church. During these debates we watch their friendship develop despite everything.
The Two Popes ends on a comedy note, with Francis and Benedict XVI as buddies eating pizza as they watch the World Cup, as the former has tried to convince the latter of the pleasures of watching the sport. Very much poetic licence (?) but a nice ending nevertheless.
Over Easter I streamed various services from many sources, infact by Easter Monday I felt as though I had almost overdosed! Something I really enjoyed watching over Holy Week and Easter was the daily streaming from Bishop Michael. He is always interesting to listen to and his thoughts each day were quite challenging. To me, having no physical contact with anyone, it was also good to see a familiar face. I felt very blessed.
I don’t have any outside space or balcony to be able to exchange greetings with passers-by here at my flat in Kent, but I decided I would show my connection to the community around me by making some rainbows to put in my windows. I’ve had a few thumbs up as people walk past and of course, the Thursday clapping for Heroes continues with varying degrees of enthusiasm each week.
My son lives just outside Salisbury so there has been a lot of video calls between us. He has quite large gardens and he sometimes takes me for a walk around with his phone on video, showing me what’s coming into blossom and how the residents of the nesting boxes are doing. He even positioned me behind the wickets one day when he was playing cricket with his two boys! Here they are practicing their golf stokes..
In the UK we have been blessed again with another month of extremely good weather, especially in the south of England. There has been very little rain at all, which makes the ‘not going out or not going far’ all the more frustrating. Though one does hear on the news that not everyone has stayed at home, in parts of the country the police have had a particularly tough time with some of the ‘erks!
On one of the occasions when I was whiling time away on the computer, I came across a travel article that led me to taking a virtual tour of Gdansk in Poland. What a beautiful city I discovered. I always thought of it as somewhere that was all docks, industry and very grey. Far from it, the center was full of beautiful medieval buildings, street markets and lovely walking areas. Definitely somewhere that I hope to visit one day. Meanwhile you can visit Gdansk as I did by clicking onto this website: http://www.holoit.com/gdansk/en/ While on the same trip I came across another site which gave me the opportunity to watch, in live-time, Ospreys sitting on their nest 30+ meters high in a forest in Estonia. Amazing! If you check in on them towards the end of May there will be an opportunity to see the eggs hatch (they have a 36-42 day incubation) and the fledglings will be feeding. However, on checking the website for you today I discovered the camera was off-line but there was an opportunity to go to several other live nesting sites, which are equally stunning. https://www.geocam.ru/en/online/tit/
A few days back I celebrated my 75th birthday. Although I made myself a nice meal and raised a glass to myself it was not my usual way of doing things. My daughter and 3 of her boys came around in the morning bringing me lots of lovely flowers, they stood at one end of the room and I stood at the other and we all tried really hard not to hug each other, there was an overwhelming urge to do so. Once we get the ‘all clear’ there will be no stopping all of us. Human affection is so very tactile.
I’ve become somewhat obsessed by food – no comment. This is because I received a letter this month from the NHS advising me that I am classified as vulnerable – it’s an age, hypertension and over-weight issue – so I should not go out shopping etc. Well I still go for my little wanders around the estate but ok I mustn’t go to the shops. Trying to get online for supermarket shopping is now impossible so what should I do? I don’t want to burden Debi with my shopping list, she has enough to do keeping 3 boys fed! It’s ok asking her to pick up the odd thing. So I found a website called HelloFresh who supply the ingredients and recipes for 3, 5 or 7 meals per order straight to the door. There are lots of lovely choices and they work out at approximately a fiver for each meal including delivery, so I signed up for 3 meals and as there are sufficient ingredients for 2 people with each meal it should serve me for the best part of a week. So I chose: Meatballs and Bacon in Onion Gravy; One Pan Asian Chicken and
Creamy Steak and Mushroom Stroganoff.
My first delivery came this week and I am very impressed. Everything I need for each meal is there including little pots of herbs and spices. The meat and dairy products were of good quality and delivered chilled, the ice packs were still frozen.
So until such time as I am able to go back to doing my own shopping this is the way I’m going. It’s like “Meals on Wheels” for those who still want to cook.
A nice series began recently on ITV called The Village. It documents a year in the life of Portmeirion and the people who work there. The village was created by Welsh architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976. It is one of Wales’ premier visitor attractions, located on the North Wales coast near Snowdonia and was home to ITV’s 1960s cult series, The Prisoner starring Patrick McGoohan and that strange huge bouncing white ball. Infact everything about the series was strange! Do you remember it? They occasionally include pictures of Patrick in the programme as fans of the series come to the village each year for a Prisoner festival. Which made me think that there is more than a passing likeness between Patrick McGoohan and Bishop Michael?
When you the chance to have a friend around for a cup of tea and a natter you’ll need a cake that’s quick and easy to bake but one which you would want to keep coming back to and cut another slice. Here is a recipe which if you don’t already have in your collection will bring back memories of calling on Grandma on baking day and enjoying a slice. Some say it’s a recipe originating in Yorkshire? This cake pleases on all levels. It’s a sturdy cake and tastes better with each day that passes.
CUT AND COME AGAIN CAKE
1. Line and grease and 8 inch/21cm cake tin with baking paper. Pre-heat oven 180c/Gas Mark 4.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, mix spice and nutmeg and mix them together well.
3. Rub in the cold butter so it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4. Add the sugar and dried fruits and mix well until all the fruits have been covered by the mixture.
5. Add the beaten eggs and milk and stir well with a wooden spoon, so everything is combined and picked up from the bottom of the mixing bowl.
6. Spoon the cake mixture into the prepared cake tin and level the top of the cake with a spatula.
7. Bake your cake in the middle of the oven for around one hour, until golden brown in colour and a skewer comes out cleanly.
8. Once baked, allow the cake to stand in the tin for five minutes, before transferring onto a cooling wire.
We have done our best to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of VE Day. Captain Tom has put us all to shame with his charitable efforts but let’s hope it is not too long before all this is part of our history.
Please remember people from our congregation in your prayers and with their permission, tell the wardens of anyone in particular who needs our prayers