Mothering Sunday 2022

Mothering Sunday 2022

I remember my lovely Mum today, with sadness, but with happy memories. My Mum died when my son John was just a year old, she’d been ill with cancer, on and off for quite a few years, an illness she bore with grace and courage, always thinking of  Dad, my two sisters, and me, before her own needs. She was a woman of great faith, love, compassion and loyalty and taught me so much, showed me so much, encouraged me so much. I would hope that some of her character lives on through me. The picture I shared on social media is of me with her, in the garden of the manse at St John in Jersey, and I’m not quite sure what was happening with the hats, but you can see the love and the happiness we enjoyed. So many of my happy memories of my Mum were from growing up in Jersey, perhaps why I have always been drawn back to the Channel Islands, and am now so blessed to live and minister in the most beautiful of them all, on Sark.


But I am aware that, for some, Mothering Sunday is not so easy. I wrote this on my social media posts today, and it is a prayer for all today. “There are so many emotions today for so many, for those with happy memories and those whose memories are more difficult, for those who know the pain of loss, or the pain of what might have been, or are waiting for what might be. For those who wait in anticipation, for those who know the heartache of what cannot be. For those whose choice is different from others, for those who struggle with motherhood, for those who cannot find enough food for their children, for those who have had to give up children. For those sheltering children from abuse or war or prejudice. And many, many more. For all, may you know the true mothering love of God”


For the second time in three years, we have had to, sadly, cancel our Mothering Sunday service on Sark. In 2020, it was the first Sunday of our first lockdown, and this year, having been one of the places with the lowest incidence of Covid, we became possibly the highest, per capita, two weeks ago with more than 10% of our population affected. We need to protect our vulnerable, and so, have stopped in-person services and meetings for a couple of weeks for that purpose and to “break the chain”. On such a small island, where everyone sees everyone else, it has proved invaluable before, and hopefully, will allow a return to “normality” soon.


But I want to turn to something else. A little insight into the last week, when I spent some time in Salisbury with Anglican colleagues from Guernsey, Alderney and Jersey. Not quite a retreat, but a time I have treasured. A time when we learnt more about our new Diocese, met the Bishop elect and others from the Diocese, studied, debated, and opened our minds to rich thinking around such topics as leadership and a sense of place, in how we consider parishes and other areas. We worshipped together in the little chapel at Sarum, we shared the Eucharist together, and we worshipped in the Cathedral, notably a beautiful sung Evensong. We were blessed to guided tours of the cathedral and venturing up the 320 steps of the tower, to the base of the spire, with some astounding views over a city which grew up around the cathedral. We marveled at the ingenuity, engineering and building skills that created such a place to glorify God, 800 years ago, before all the technology and machinery we have today was even thought of. And the beauty of the new font. Some shared long walks together ( and long evenings in the bar!). And there was time to read, sitting in the glorious sunshine on the cathedral green, unencumbered by the pressures of time often encountered in ministry, quite a luxury. The Girl from Aleppo and a book on Silence providing some contrasting reading for me.

But, apart from the worship together, the greatest joy was sharing time with colleagues, a rare luxury when in lone ministry in Sark. I always find it incredible (though I shouldn’t), that those who have such a deep shared love for Christ and passion for ministry have a natural bond, where that shared love for Christ spills over into our humanity. I have, in that short week, made some lovely new friends, and found a closeness that comes through sharing in that mysterious way. Yes, we shared stories of our triumphs and failures in ministry, our struggles and our attempts to find solutions. And we shared something of ourselves too, but the richness of relationship, centred in our mutual ministries, coloured all our conversations and allowed us to be comfortable both with our vulnerabilities and our joys. I was also surprised and delighted to share stories with Bev, vicar at St John’s in Jersey, where I grew up, where that picture with my Mum was taken and where my Father was the Congregational Minister. It was good to hear how God’s love is touching that community now.  These loving colleagueships will continue to enrich all of our ministries, and more so, for when we met Bishop elect Stephen Lake, all of that spilled from him too, a sense of his compassion, his faith and his down-to-earth approach to ministry which we all warmed to. As clergy from the Channel Islands, we felt blessed to really feel included in our time in Salisbury, a rich part of the Diocese, yet with our own individuality and gifts, itself part of the larger Anglican communion. I was also the only Methodist there, yet I also felt very welcomed, and it was interesting to reflect, with my insights from the Methodist point of view, on how both denominations are travelling side by side down similar roads- and I hope  that perhaps as relationships grow together, then sharing of resources, problems and successes would greatly enrich and further the mission of God, which surely, is what we all are here for. Stephen Laken said, as he met us, that his overriding passion is to share the Good News. The good news of Christ and all that entails, and the good news of the love of God for all the world, not just the church. I hope you have enjoyed hearing how all this good news has touched my life this week.

God bless you all.