THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
This past Monday as I write, the Tinahely Show exploded back following a break. I must be the only cleric in the Church of Ireland that has two shows in the parish. Carnew in July, Tinahely in August and the Ploughing Championships will happen in the Diocese in September. My cup runneth over. None of these events could take place without the goodwill of volunteers – over 400 in the case of Tinahely alone.
THE GOOD – PLOUGHING TENT – A WONDROUS PLACE TO BE
The Church of Ireland tent at the Ploughing is a wonderous place to be. We host a combination of the curious, the lost, the familiar and the seeker. I find myself constantly affirming that, no, I am not a nun and we are not the tent that gives out the free calendars – but a cup of tea and a rest is freely available. Conversations happen in this sanctuary from the madness that endorse the reason why our presence is so important. Some tell us of those they love that they have lost through death, emigration or family argument, some ask for prayers for loved ones or themselves. For some it is an opportunity to connect with the church after drifting away or being hurt by its members or policies. Some just want someone to talk to and for the younger ones that call in, it can be a safe space to express doubts about life, the future and indeed God. In all of these encounters God is ever present.
THE BAD – CHALLENGE TO GET VOLUNTEERS TO HELP
That’s the good. The bad is the challenge it is to get people to come to help out on the three days of the event. I appreciate that the traffic is bad and, the walk to the event is long, the crowds are ever present on the walkways and the challenge of finding your car afterwards horrendous (though I believe that dropping a “pin” in Google maps is very helpful). I know that it is possible to eat too many biscuits when making teas in the tent and that someone always complains about something even though they are getting something for free…. It is worth it though, please let me know your availability soon (email@example.com) I hope my “in box” runneth over.
The ugly? The amount of random freebies that I collect and things that I will buy that I shouldn’t and will wonder about when I get home. Why do I need leaflets about diseases in sheep, inoculating cows or new ways to judge the moisture content in corn? I am a “divil” for giveaway sweets, biros and post it pads etc and also wonder why I avail of the special offer cheesecakes when I am supposed to be minding what I eat. They often go out of date a couple of days later and I find myself panicking. Do I eat them and feel sick or try to give them away? Please tell me to back away if you see me teetering in indecision near them. My rucksack runneth over!
THE VERY GOOD NEWS
However, the very good news:
The Consecration of our Bishop, Adrian Wilkinson will take place on October 30th in Christchurch Cathedral. It will take a little time for him to settle in but I know that he is looking forward to being with us going forward. We will need to give space for Bishop Adrian to get to grip with our diocese and not frighten him too much in the first few months.
WELCOME – AND ALSO A GOODBYE
As we welcome The Reverend Norman Mc Causland and his family to Wexford and Kilscoran Union we must also say thank you and au revoir to The Reverend David White. May God bless them in their changed ministries.