I was a young curate, fresh out of training college, full of ideas and energy, and I loved visiting, so my first weeks of ordained ministry were very special. Being a curate gave me a freedom to focus on meeting and supporting people in their homes and in nursing homes/hospitals. I remember visiting one lovely couple in their home where the husband was entering a difficult phase of Alzheimer’s and the family were facing the tough decision about putting him in care. Even then there was little response from him, always a smile but no response.
In time the move to nursing home care was completed and I went to visit him in his new home. The smile was less certain, and my conversation with him became quite stilted. His wife would have previously filled this gap with general chit-chat, but now he was sitting in a large comfortable armchair in a large room filled with 19 others in similar circumstances. Finally I said I had to go, and as usual, said a prayer with him followed by the Lord’s Prayer. After the first two lines my reverently closed eyes shot open, as every single person in that room joined in the wonderfully familiar Our Father.
It was a strange silence in the room after our prayer but one that had taught me a profound lesson. It was more than a reflex action, more than a mindless recitation; it was a remembered shared experience.
November is our ‘remembering’ month; whether it’s the All Saints remembering of loved ones who have died in recent days, weeks, months and years or the marking of the centenary of the start of the horror of World War One. For families who have loved ones now living on the far side of the world, it is also the month of remembering to send their parcels, gifts and cards in plenty of time for Christmas. It is so important for us individually and collectively to remember together, to share each other’s pain, to comfort one another in our grief, and to stand in the gap for those who need our support in this month of remembering.
All Saints: On Sunday, 2nd November at our 11am Communion Service we will have our annual procession of candles remembering our loved ones who have died. This is
an important service for us to give thanks and support.
Congratulations: to John Marks on his 80th birthday; the parish hockey team who won the Archbishop’s cup and to Roisin Hiney, a member of the Bray Guide Company, who achieved the top award given.