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Differences, Revd Ginni Dear

How do you know when you’re old?  Is it when policemen suddenly start to look far too young?  Or when you catch yourself saying ‘they didn’t have those in my day’?  Perhaps it’s when your 21 year old daughter looks blank when you ask her if she has checked the oil in her car recently or shakes her head and leaves the room when you and your best friend start singing the theme tunes to your favourite childhood TV programmes?  

I’ve definitely passed all those milestones - and several more too - but I think I have noticed my age more since the arrival of my first grandson, Edward.  It isn’t that having a grandchild makes me feel older per se, but more that my reactions to the trappings of modern parenthood have me shaking my head in the same way that I remember my grandparents did when I first had my own children.

For starters, there’s the ‘pram’ - I mean, have you seen them these days?!!!  They are like something out of Star Wars!  Gone are the days when it took you half an hour to simply get the pram through the front door because it was so big and bulky.  These new-fangled things swivel on a sixpence (not that we have THEM anymore!), can easily be packed into the car boot, have more accessories than you could possibly use and require a mortgage just to buy one!! Mind you, I did provide some entertainment in the car park the other day when it took me twenty minutes and no end of muttering to actually get the flaming thing assembled!

Then there are the other things that the modern baby could not possibly survive without - disposable nappies (ok, definitely better than terries!), dummies that are attached to their bibs (which incidentally are now often triangular), baby swings which rock automatically, swaddle blankets, electric bottle warmers (haven’t they heard of Pyrex jugs and hot water!), baby bean bags (what’s wrong with a pillow!), sleep monitors.....and so on and so on!

But the one thing that actually had me open-mouthed in disbelief was the.....‘eating device’!  This is a small plastic handle with a mesh bag on the end.  Apparently, the idea is that you put a piece of apple in the mesh bag and the baby can chew on the apple without the risk of bits breaking off and choking him!!  I honestly don’t know whether this is a genius idea or whether the world has gone mad!!

Old or not, I am definitely enjoying being a grandma.  Seeing little Edward’s face light up when he sees me makes me realise afresh that it is the simple things in life that are often the most important, something that is all too easy to forget when I allow myself to get worked up over trivial things.

I’m looking forward to watching Edward grow and explore this wonderful world that we live in and I am sure that he will show me many more things that I have forgotten about in my busy-ness, simple pleasures that no amount of money can buy.

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter.

       With love, Ginni xx

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the Third Sunday in Lent, 4th March 2018

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UNCONDITIONAL LOVE - A thought from Revd. Ginni


My grandmother always used to tell me to make the most of being young because time went by faster the older you got.  Like many teenagers faced with the unfathomable sayings of the older generation, I smiled indulgently, pretended I knew what she meant and secretly wondered if she was really from this planet!!  This memory came back to me as I sat down to write this article and realised that despite it seeming like we had only just finished with our Christmas celebrations, it was almost Lent………where did the time go………and does the speed at which this year seems to have gone by now mean that I am officially part of that unfathomable older generation and, in my own words, am I really from this planet!! 

It’s funny isn’t it how sometimes the things people say to you only make sense years later.  I wonder now what else went through my grandmother’s mind as she watched her grandchildren charging around her garden, carefree and untroubled by the practicalities of life, confident that they would be fed when they were hungry, comforted if they fell and wrapped up in loving arms if anything should spoil their day.  I never questioned the love my grandmother had for me, I accepted it, relied upon it and trusted that she would find a way to help me through whatever fix I had got myself into.  So if I could accept the unconditional love my grandmother had for me, surely trusting in God’s unconditional love for me would be a breeze…………wouldn’t it?!!

Maybe that’s what my grandmother meant about making the most of being young, of having the innocence and ability to accept the gift of love freely given without question, not for a second stopping to wonder if I deserved it nor question the generosity of the giver.  Yet now that I’m older I seem to have lost the ability to accept a gift unquestioningly, to wonder what I have done to deserve it and worse, even wonder what I might have to do in return should I accept it.  It’s this realisation that has brought me back into the present, to the approaching season of Lent, a time when we take stock of where we are at, a time for reflection and change and a refocussing on Christ and his ultimate sacrifice for us all.

Traditionally the forty days in Lent were marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance.  The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

However, in modern times, observers give up an action of theirs considered to be a vice, add something that is considered to be able to bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.

So, what does this Lent hold for you?  Will you be giving up chocolate maybe?  Or alcohol or coffee?  Perhaps putting aside the money you would have spent on these luxuries and donating it to charity?  I can’t help but think that the recollection of the memory of my grandmother at this particular


time wasn’t simply a coincidence, rather a ‘God-incidence’, a prompting of what God would like me to reflect on this Lenten period.  To think again about the time when I freely accepted the gift of love from another with the innocence of a child, of when I allowed myself to be fed, comforted and consoled without wondering if I deserved it.  This is, after all, precisely what our Lord offers to each one of us, his children, day after day, week after week, year after year.

Whatever discipline you choose to give up or take up this Lent, my prayer for all of us is that we find the time to build on our relationship with God, to come before him with child-like openness and a willingness to accept his unconditional love, to be fed when we are hungry, to be consoled when we are hurt and to be guided through the storms of life, trusting that even when we are unsure of the path ahead, he knows the way and will bring us to a place of safety and peace.

With love - Ginni

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the Second Sunday in Lent, 25th February 2018

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Weekly Pew Sheet, the First Sunday in Lent, 18th February 2018

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