Saturday, 1 March 2003

A Seaside Blessing

May the salt of the spray cleanse you;
The glistening of the waves lighten your heart;
The touch of the breeze refresh you;
The fire of the sunset calm your fears.
And may the
ocean of God’s love
carry you gently till you reach
His haven of peace and rest forever.
© Blackpool Parish Church
Time flies and it’s a couple of weeks already since I got back from the Diocesan Conference – 3 days in sunny Blackpool.  The conference was not without its moments – not surprisingly maybe, given the challenging times the Church faces for various reasons.  But it had its highlights as well.  The North-Pier-and-sea view from my (otherwise basic) room at the Grand Metropole, being one of them, and another being the Tuesday evening Speaker John Bell.  He is the genius behind much of the Iona Community worship material, which I often use especially on Thursday evenings.  He is also a Scot who bears a passing resemblance to Billy Connolly, in humour as much as in looks.
Amongst many other things, he spoke about the early Celtic Christians on Iona.  The beautiful abbey wasn’t built until many years later.  At first they built simple little cells and the faith they communicated was lived very much in the midst of everyday life – not within the confines of a religious building.  Our heritage can easily obscure our faith if we are not careful.
In the Parish statistics last month I forgot to mention one new initiative that has been very encouraging – the monthly service in the community room at Maltas Court.  We were there yesterday with 26 attending and 18 receiving communion.
Another example of the Church moving beyond its walls was at Christmas when the choir went carolling round the pubs.  Not a new idea by any means but a good one nevertheless and part of the kind of approach we should take more often.
Incidentally, in a similar vein it has been mentioned that we should get a trip up later in the year to see the lights at Blackpool – watch this space.

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