Our Minister, Rev’d Alma Fritchley, sends the following Message for the month of March 2019 ….
The work I do in my Care Home certainly has its moments! And this week, which of course included Valentine’s Day has been no exception.
We began the week with a Songs of Praise style Service and the piano playing and singing was provided by the sister of one of the Residents. Betty has a beautiful alto voice which she uses to wonderful effect in various Methodist Church choirs. She told me she wanted to do more for Laurel Court, the Home where I work as Chaplain, ‘to pay something back’. She explained that she had seen her sister get exemplary care from staff and as God had given them both the gift of musical ability, well, that was the one thing she could put to good use. Sadly, her sister is too poorly now to play or even sing.
So she sang for us and accompanied herself on our slightly clapped out piano. Residents joined in each to their own ability. I shared a story of my experience here at Castle Community Church and this congregation was included in the prayers.
We sang old favourites; The Lord’s my Shepherd, O Jesus I have promised and Abide with me amongst others. She even persuaded me to sing a solo and I gave my best shot at Finlandia (a first for me and possibly a last!!) which got a polite round of applause.
We finished with a prayer and a blessing, tea and cakes. What made it all the more extraordinary was that Betty had driven from Burnley that morning to deliver the concert and visit her beloved sister, despite hail and torrential rain. ‘A bit of weather won’t stop me’ she said in her broad Lancashire accent. It reminded me of the sometimes, blustery journey we take to get here when ‘there is a bit of weather’!
The following day we witnessed the sudden death of a gentleman who had only been in the Home a week or so. His family and friends were obviously devastated by this news. Yet they have shown such love towards his widow who continues to live there. Despite their own grief they have rallied around this lady with complete selflessness.
The next day, as though to balance this sad time, a staff member confided that, as it was a leap year, she was going to ’pop the question’ to her long-standing boyfriend. She told me she had a good feeling that he would say yes. She also wanted me to bless the ring that she had bought him.
So we along with her colleagues and the manager had a short ceremony of prayers, Bible reading and a blessing. Photos were taken for our ‘Staff Matters’ magazine.
Many fingers and toes are crossed because we won’t know the outcome until Tuesday!!
The reading taken for this lovely occasion was from 1 Corinthians 13.
It sums up the very real love that was exposed in all its rawness on both of these events. The love held between two people who had lived many years together and the optimistic love and bravery shown by a woman who wanted to pledge herself to the one she loves. Here is a little of what we shared;
‘Love is patient, love is kind, love is not boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. . . . . And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love’.
And that resonates for me with my friends here at Castle Community Church. Somehow through God’s wonderful grace we have found ourselves on this journey together.
In sharing this journey that we here have undertaken, even though for me it has been such a short time, I have every faith that we will continue to be blessed by the love we share through Jesus Christ. And in knowing that, I believe that our work together will continue to carry us forward into even greater understanding with faith, hope and love.
May God bless and keep you