a special love …

20429624_10154784638772543_5760356242749648249_nYesterday was a special day.
I day when I saw these two beautiful people commit their lives to each other.
It was a very special moment and I don’t think I have been to a wedding ever before where there were tears, good tears, from every speech.
I think looking around the tables many others had tears of joy as well.
As ‘Uncle Rob’ I feel an incredible sense of pride to have been able to see how my eldest neice has grown in to the amazing woman that she is.
I have no right, have done nothing to deserve that feeling, but feel it just the same.

I do not really know Esgrid but his devotion to his new wife, and his sense of loyalty and love to his new family was very obvious. It was, again, something quite special to see and experience.

It’s clear these two have something special.
Something very special that is to be cherished and nurtured.
Rachel and Esgrid …. I pray that God continues to bless you both, to reassure you both, and that you will always be conscious of God walking and encouraging and loving and accepting you both.

We were asked to write blessings or comments and place them in that lovely red letterbox. I had something but failed to bring it with me … so I include this blessing here from John O’Donohue’s Book of Blessings

As spring unfolds the dream of the earth,
May you bring each other’s hearts to birth.

As the ocean finds calm in view of land,
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.

As the wind arises free and wild,
May nothing negative control your lives.

As kindly as moonlight might search the dark,
So gentle may you be when light grows scarce.

As surprised as the silence that music opens,
May your words for each other be touched with reverence.

As warmly as the air draws in the light,
May you welcome each other’s every gift.

As elegant as dream absorbing the night,
May sleep find you clear of anger and hurt.

As twilight harvests all the day’s colour,
May love bring you home to each other.

Bless you both
Uncle R

the creative beauty of Seattle

DSC_0028The time in Seattle was awesome …. maybe an overused and overrated word … but it describes the 7 days I had in this city perfectly.

Returning for a week after four years brought many things back to mind. I am not sure I can reflect on my week in one simple post. There may be a few posts over the next few days that develop from my reflecting

I guess one word that comes to mind when i think if Seattle is the word ‘beauty’. There is the beauty of the city as photos can and so show. There is, however, much more that struck me about the beauty of the people. People are polite. People speak on buses and trains. People ask if they can help. Coming from Gillingham, this was a healthy and welcome culture change. In traffic jams people in Seattle don’t even blow their horns!

I had forgotten how ‘chilled’ people seem to be in Seattle. There was a good fun DSC_0031atmosphere with people enjoying each other, food, drink, good coffee and of course the scenery on magnificent sunny days. People had space and time. I was reminded how people there seem to have a much better work life balance than we do in the UK. People seem to socialise more after having a definite end to the working day, whereas here we simply seem to work.

That brings me on to my next word … creative.

I met a load of creative people. It was good to meet up with Lacey again from COTA. The gathering has used some of Lacey’s music which is worth checking our either under her own website or via the worship stuff for COTA Seattle. It was good to experience COTA’s worship again. It was like coming home and I can’t put that feeling into words.

For creativity to happen it needs space. The people I have just spent a week with seem to get that. I seem to have forgotten that. I have been wondering why my creativity, my writing, my photographing, and so on has come to a halt. It’s due to lack of ‘space’ to create. Big ides need big spaces ….. i need to readdress the space issue.

the happy coupleBut back to beauty in Seattle. My first post cannot go without mentioning the whole overriding purpose of my visit. On Saturday 8th June at 430pm i had the honour, pleasure and privilege of officiating at the wedding ceremony of Meghan and Luke at Church of the Apostles in Seattle. That was an amazingly special time with a beautiful couple and some pretty amazing friends. The day was a joy, and there was loads of love flying around! They are clearly a couple that not only love many people, but are also loved by many.

As I said in my last post … once in a while some pretty amazing privileges pop up …. and this was one.

Thanks Meghan and Lucas for trusting me …
Thanks Jana and James for hosting me … you were amazing!
Thanks Lacey and April for just being the brilliant organised creatives that you are and guiding me
Thanks Rachel for the humour and the encouragement
Cheers Gary for the meet-up and the new bars
Thanks Eric and Ivar for the friendship
Thanks everyone for a great city!

a time to celebrate

Ruth Gledhill interviews Canon Giles Fraser here who outlines why he thinks the church should celebrate gay marriage.

It’s a good interview that’s worth listening to.

Personally it saddens me that we even need to be discussing this … this is about love and of course love is something to be celebrated!

The week has got off to a bit of a traditional start with being involved in part of the marriage prep course of the Rochester Deanery churches. We are offering the course as an option for all those couples being married in one of our churches in 2011. I Have heard of some places which make a marriage prep course ‘compulsory’ to having their wedding in the chosen church …. not only do I think this is immoral, but I think I am right in saying that the church has no right to make any such insistence as everyone has the ‘right’ to be married in their local church …. it’s part of the CofE being the established church.

I was involved in the first session on Monday night, which we are running at Rochester Coffee Co from 730pm and I will be leading next weeks session which looks at the marriage vows and what the word ‘commitment’ means within a marriage.

I must admit I have a slight aversion to the one size fits all approach of HTB stuff, but this marriage prep course does actually look quite good. The couples seem to enjoy the course as the discussions are always within the couples. This is not really a course that tells people what they should be doing, but rather gives opportunities to talk together about their thoughts. For example, next week the couples will have an opportunity to talk together about what the vows mean to them.

So … if you are looking for a marriage prep course … then consider this … although I do think spending time with the couple over coffee and chatting, although far more labour intensive, is a better option because then it really can be personalised towards the couple themselves.

my first wedding visit

Last night I got to do another first for myself which was visit a couple who I will be marrying in July in the cathedral. I thought it was a really good visit with really wonderful friendly people who clearly love each other and want to commit their lives to each other.

This is clearly all new to me and I find myself being quite surprised by how much I seem to enjoy the traditional parts of the role as well as the pioneering stuff that I do. I guess its all about serving others and, hopefully, helping and being a blessing to those I meet.

20 years!

On this day 20 years ago I felt nervous, bewildered, worried and excited.
Today we are celebrating 20 years of marriage!
The time has flown, but I’m still as excited as I was on 25 March 1989.
Thanks Sarah for a fantastic 20 years!

19 years

Today I have simply been considering how fortunate I am as today Sarah and I have been married for 19 years. This year is the first year we can say that we’ve been married longer than we’ve known each other (we met when we were 18).

Marriage, like any relationship, takes effort. My love for Sarah is not what it was 19 years ago; it goes deeper and it is more integral to who I am. Sometimes this deepness presents a risk of it becoming taken for granted. I can’t imagine life without Sarah and I can’t remember life before Sarah.

Relationship with God can be similar to marriage in that as time moves on we forget life before we were in relationship with God. The effervescence of the early relationship dies away and something deeper and more beautiful emerges. Some relationships fail at this stage as they interpret the change of feeling as as ‘falling out of love’. In fact the change of feeling is due to a deepening of love and to a growing understanding that love is about concern for the other persons feelings and not ones own emotions.

I guess the early effervescence needs to die away as maintaining that intensity would be all consuming and alow little time for anything else. Interestingly for me I’ve known God 8 months longer than I’ve known Sarah and so can reflect on the past 19 years with both my creator and soul mate.

19 years seemed to have zipped by – the joy, the pain, the annoyances (mostly caused by me)and the grace and forgiveness (shown most by Sarah)all seem to flow into one long interestimng journey … long may it continue!