October 2019

Dear friends


We are surrounded by people suffering adversity, and you probably have suffered some kind of adversity yourself. I find being a vicar to be an interesting experience, for a lot of reasons which are irrelevant here, except for this, that we often connect with people who are suffering some kind of adversity. We do get to accompany people through times of joy and triumph, weddings, baptisms, birthdays, the excitement of new jobs and opportunities. But one of the privileges of being a vicar is that we are let into very intimate spaces in people’s lives, times of grieving and loss, of sickness and pain.

To be honest, a good policy they say, I am often at a loss for words in the face of adversity, I feel a deep need to help make people feel better, but I know that there is little I can do. I can’t sooth the wrenching pain of grief, I can’t remove the desperation and hopelessness of a chronic illness, my words of encouragement into the dark well of depression and anxiety seems to do nothing except echo what sounds like platitudes. What about our own adversity? How do we treat ourselves when we are confronted with our own illness, grief or depression? I am not sure I have a neatly packaged answer, or even one near completeness, but here are three attitudes I bring which I hope are helpful to people I minister to:

Respect – we need to respect where people are in their lives. Diminishing or ignoring how people are feeling, offering neatly packaged answers (‘Everything happens for a reason’ is one of those, sometimes there is no reason, nor will there every be) or telling them that it will all go away sometime in the future don’t help. When people are battling they can’t see beyond what’s in front of them. This is why I never tell people I know how they are feeling, even when I have had a very similar experience, because I don’t know how they are feeling. Rather than offering thoughts which are more about making us feel better in the face of another’s pain make space for people to share their experience with you. For yourself, respect what you are feeling. Don’t criticise yourself, don’t diminish your experience, let yourself feel and process what’s going on and don’t shut yourself down.

Presence – find ways to simply be with people. A card, flowers, an email are all ways we can make our presence felt if we don’t want to intrude in someone’s space. Sometimes simply being with someone without talking or focussing on their issues can be a lovely ministry to them. If you are unsure what would be helpful just ask. Going for a walk or a coffee, that kind of thing, can be a way of helping people to know they are not alone. For yourself – if you are going through a difficult time reach out to someone you know won’t judge or diminish you. Remember that your clergy are always happy come round for a coffee (tea in Rev Dave’s case).

Kindness – be kind to people who are battling. We may not understand why someone is feeling or reacting in the way they are, but we don’t know what has come together in their lives to bring them to that point. If you can’t be kind better to remain quiet. For yourself – be kind to yourself, no amount of self-criticism and judgment will move you on from where you are. Move yourself forward with achievable steps, find people who will be kind to you. You may have made mistakes, you may have a well-documented list of failures and ‘could have dones’, but it’s where you go from here that’s important. Remember that you are deeply loved by God and infinitely valuable to Him.

Rev Stephen Harrison

The Rectory, Church Lane Leonard Stanley, Stonehouse GL10 3NP

Tel: 07466 858975

Email: rectorstroudwater@gmail.com

  • Recent News & Announcements

    • Stroudwater Lent course

      Saturday 29th February 8.30 am Course launch.

      St. Peter’s Framilode( breakfast provided) (click for further details)

    • Lent in the Stroudwater team

      Click for times and places for this Lent course.
      Something wrong here! Try second version.

    • Stroudwater Team Administrator

      Stroudwater Team Ministry have appointed Katie Moore as Team Administrator. Please note changed times of working (click for contact details)

    • Safeguarding

      If you need advice with a safeguarding concern regarding children or adults, contact https://www.gloucester.anglican.org/about-us/safeguarding/

    • New Churchyard Regulations

      A new set of Churchyard Regulations have just been published. Please click for full details

    • Discoveries!

      When pews in the North aisle of the church and the platform they were on were removed we were very surprised to discover 16th century tombs;

  • Whats On

    • Riverside Retreats

      Please click for details.

    • Ladies Lunch, March 13th

      Speaker Becca Faal- “Modern Slavery – hidden in plain sight” NEW VENUE Frocester George. click for details

    • Bible Study

      We continue to meet fortnightly on Mondays 14:00, Lavender Cottage, The Street, for more information contact Judy Halliday, 01452 742195 (not Bank Holidays) . . . click for dates.

    • Men’s Breakfast

      Next Breakfast: Saturday 14th March 2020. . . . .(more) TO BOOK _  please contact – Ned Bowron 01452 740322 or ebowron@btinternet.com (No later than Wednesday the week before please)

    • Breakfast Prayers

      Next breakfast prayers 7th March 2020-   Contact Penny Lidstone 741410
      for more information.

    • Holy, holey, wholly knitters

      A group of ladies meet every Wednesday from 2-4pm at Ann Greaves’ house.
      Please ring Ann on 740622 for further details.

  • Services

    • 23rd February

      6pm Evening service with Commisioning of new deputy area dean, Liz Palin

    • 1st March

      8am Holy communion – traditional language.

    • 8th March

      9.30am Celebrate Sunday at Cadbury Hall.

      Breakfast from 9am.

      An informal service of songs, discussion and prayer.

    • 8th March

      6pm Holy Communion modern language

    • 15th March

      11.15am Family communion. A service for people of all ages

    • 22nd March, Mothering Sunday

      11.15am  Cluster Mothering Sunday service  at Framilode Followed by giving out flowers to the community

    • 29th March

      10am Team communion service @ St Nicolas, Standish