Hot Off The Press: InSpire Summer 2015 – 31 May 2015
Published today, the latest edition of InSpire, the church magazine of St Luke’s, Maidenhead.
This is the penultimate edition I shall edit before university beckons in September. The hope, therefore, had been for me to work closely on this issue with my successors, James and Louisa Ellins, whom Revd Sally has helpfully lined up to take over the editorship when I go.
For various reasons, this didn’t happen. Sally moved the material deadline back, so I was unable to start any work on it before I went away for my week in the Czech Republic. Almost immediately after my return, the Ellins then themselves went away — all contributing to the frankly undesirable situation of nobody doing anything towards it.
Desperate to see what I could crack on with, I opened up the InSpire email inbox and, to my horror, realised we were woefully short of content. This was partly my fault: because I haven’t been in church much lately, I wasn’t able to cajole parishioners to contribute something in advance of deadline day.
As I sat wondering what I was going to do, an email from Sally dropped into my inbox with ‘How are we doing?’ as its subject line. Unsurprisingly, she was anxious to check I hadn’t forgotten about the Summer 2015 edition altogether.
I sketched out a plan for the magazine’s pageflow, based on what little material I had received. Sally’s pictures from the recent Holy Land pilgrimage could fill four pages (at a push), along with text-commentaries on them, describing them as landmarks on Christ’s journey through Holy Week. Roger Clarke’s words and photographs from his latest walking weekend could take a double-page spread, and we’d have two half-pages in the shape of a book-review and the usual From The Registers entries.
But that was still only ten pages filled, including Sally’s column. I needed more.
Looking back through my Lightroom catalogue, there weren’t even that many pictures we could run, but I was reminded of the great evening ceilidh held in January, which would fill at least a couple of pages. Photos from Director-of-Music John Cotterill’s retirement lunch could run with a note about the upcoming Music Festival, as long as I could get him to send me some words about his time in the post. Despite a cheery phone-call, he seemed very reluctant to do this, pointing me instead in the direction of his report in the Annual Parish Bulletin. “See what you can do with that”, he told me. It wasn’t ideal – the piece was mainly written as a review of the year – but I was able to reformat and adapt it to use with the pictures I had.
Other space-fillers: a short prose-poem by Noami Shihab Nye; a postcard from our new curate, Nicola (arriving at St Luke’s on 5 July); and a great piece about the popular hymn Lord, for the years. Dad’s contributed a nice article about the recent work on the church bell, and, in my column, I discuss the importance of listening to others (a viewpoint that’s all the more relevant after a somewhat fraught open-PCC meeting yesterday).
So, then, here it is: the Summer 2015 edition of InSpire.
A Note From The Editor
InSpire Editorial Column by Andrew Burdett
I begin with a confession. In generations past, there’d have been no need: zealous priests would have already noted the fact of it, and my name would probably have been blackmarked in a nondescript book, secretly kept safely under lock and key.
But now that we worship as congregants of a generally more relaxed Church, I can put it out there without great fear of reproach.
So here goes: I’ve been skiving Sunday mornings.
Not deliberately. Not through any conscious choice. It’s just the way it’s been. Weekend shifts at work have prevented me from participating in some Eucharists, while other services I’ve missed through a range of clashing commitments.
And you realise, when you’ve been away, how easy it is to fall ‘out of the loop’.
You miss out on thought-provoking readings and stimulating sermons; rousing hymns and uplifting anthems.
The thing is, though, that you can get all that off the wireless. If you wake up too late for Sunday Worship on Radio 4, there’s always the three o’clock repeat of Choral Evensong on Radio 3. Tuning in, with the newspapers on your lap and a pot of tea on the side, is a thoroughly relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
But perfect as that all seems, you find yourself still yearning for something more. More than anything, you miss the people. For me, that’s what going to church is pretty much all about.
Its people are what add body to a building: in turn, what transforms a congregation into a community and a fold into a family.
How can we expect to call ourselves Christians if we show no interest in those around us? We must listen – listen and laugh, comfort and cry – as we shake hands during the Peace and sip coffee in the Parish Centre afterwards. All the while, we are sharing in the lives of our fellow parishioners.
In our ever-busy existences, with omnipresent pressures and distractions, we are foolish if we forsake the time and space to talk.