Last week is over and in some ways I am glad. I actually started to write this post on saturday morning but found I was tol drained to think and so it has sat half written for the best part of three days.
As far as the week goes in some ways I wish I had achieved more. It’s been a fairly normal week with disappointments and joys, misreading of situations, expectations not materialising, and missed opportunities.
There have been some surreal moments too. On one occasion last week I was sat in a cafe only to find everyone in the cafe apart from me talking about God. There was a great in-depth conversation going on around me with talk of respect for each other, respect for beliefs, the ‘obviousness of God’… it was fascinating to listen to.
The prison continues to be emotionally draining. There is so much need in that place and I feel so inadequate to help … even more inadequate that I usually do and sometimes I wonder if I am helping at all.
In the High Street people have started to notice this ‘priest figure’ around and started to engage. I was asked to bless a baby and was taken aback as this couple shared their story on the High Street with all to hear.
I believe I have seen positive signs of the Kingdom of God present in the community of Gillingham. It is easy to knock the place, and it is very different to Rochester, but in my observing I have noticed …
in a cafe a young man rushing out of his seat in a cafe to open the door for an old lady who was struggling to open it herself
a young woman waiting patiently with a smile by the car door as her 3 year old daughter screamed at her for a full 10 minutes (if you frequent Gillingham you will understand why I draw attention to this as being ‘out of the norm’)
a person running down the High Street with a wallet in their hand to give to someone who had dropped it on the floor of a shop
these are encouraging signs of a community that does have compassiona and care for each other.
Real positives of the week were baptising three people yesterday. I baptised 2 children and one adult, who was the parent of one of the children baptised … so that qualifies as my first adult baptism. It was a delight to work with both sets of guests, one at 12 and the others at 2pm who were both very different ‘parties’ but both very spiritual in their outlook. I pray that I may come across some of these people again.
the gathering also met and went well and Nick got us thinking, and challenged us, about our role in caring for the world or making the world a better place … which was one of our original passions or desires as the gathering.
A mixed but interesting week and one in which I can start to sense some form of way forward … even if it’s only a little step!