Messages from around the Benefice

Lyndon’s message 3-4-2020 Now that I am under house arrest, I have more time to reflect on past events in my life as parish priest. Some exciting, some sad and some very funny. It was one of the latter that came to my mind. Some years ago, I was walking past a small building site, where about half a dozen builders, including one teenage apprentice were working. I noticed the youngster grinning at me and after I had walked a short distance down the road, the young man shouted “Hey vicar, you got any easy job, you only work on Sundays” I decided to have some fun. I walked back to the young man and told him that he was correct. I explained that vicars work a flat rate of pay for six days for doing nothing, then we get double time for Sundays, and we also get a nice house. All of his colleagues stopped working, to listen to our conversation. The lad shouted to his friends “See, I was right”. I pulled out from my pocket a book and pen, and asked for his name and address. “You seem interested in being a priest, I’ll have a word with my bishop to see if I can get you a job”. I asked his friends if they thought he would make a good vicar, his friends all shouted “yes”. By now all the builders, save the one, were laughing. “I don’t want to be a vicar” he shouted. “Well take some time and think about” I replied. The builders still laughing went back to work, including one bemused youngster.

There are people who believe that being a priest is something of a doddle. However, having been an office worker for many years, spending some years underground as a miner, most days going through the coalface, then years in my own business as a photographer, I can tell you that the most exhausting, most exhilarating, most emotional, most rewarding time of my life has been being a parish priest. Taking people through the joys of their life, weddings and baptisms etc. being with them at their saddest, sharing in their hopes, their dreams, their fears, their uncertainties, their sadness, their loneliness. Yet always knowing that you are doing this in God’s strength, under God’s guidance, and of course under God’s calling.

In this extraordinary time that we are going through, when priests are frustrated at having closed churches, not being able to show the full pastoral care which they feel bound to do, trying to bring God’s love to His people, in the most innovative and unusual ways, I pray for them. You see, my fellow parish priests are also key workers in the battle that we all face. They have no rule book, no definitive works plan, no clocking off time, for God Himself doesn’t clock off from work. Please keep on praying and be safe. God Bless.

“So then, my dear friends, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless”.1 Corinthians 15:58

I have found great comfort in your daily thoughts and have given me food for thought in these trying times. Thank you.🙏Heini Skinner