Canon Pam writes...
Nostalgia - is it as good as it used to be?
At the end
of April Brian and I went down memory lane on the Isle of Wight, where we lived from the 1940's until we married in 1960.
As some of you know, the ferry trip - per mile - is one of the most expensive in the world. In spite of many protests over
the years there are no reduced fares for Islanders or ex-pats like us. So we wanted to make the most of our day out. We were
able to visit several good friends who had helped my father Jack to stay in his flat for as long as possible. Brian enjoyed
lunch with his Best Man, and the main business for me was a School reunion where we ate lots and laughed even more. I'm
always surprised how chatting to very old friends sparks off memories I thought I'd forgotten.
mid afternoon, we went on a church crawl. First to All Saints, Ryde where we were married. Since then it's gone Forward
in Faith and back again, and a bonus for us was a local Chamber Choir rehearsing for a concert that evening. The standard
was far higher than I remembered from the music scene 60 years ago. Then off to two village churches where Brian remembers
playing the organ, and it was good to discover that they were open, well-kept and showing signs of active life.
My childhood home continues to delight me, and it was a joy to visit places that hadn't changed beyond recognition.
In one of the churches I picked up a Portsmouth Diocesan paper, the Pompey Chimes - even better than our own defunct Winchester
Way, before it was decided that we couldn't afford it. In this edition I found a feature on clergy who had served there
before moving on to higher office, and three of the seven photos I recognised; Peter Hancock began his ministry on the Island,
later becoming Bishop of Basingstoke and then Bath and Wells. Caroline Baston was ordained with me in 1994 and spent 6 years
as Archdeacon of the Island before moving to Swindon. And my good friend Jane Hedges, who left Fareham for Southampton as
a deaconess before we were priested. She was Vicar of Honiton, then Residentiary Canon of Westminster Abbey and is now
Dean of Norwich. And she still looks about 35!
Nostalgia for earlier Christian Aid
Can you remember the first time you went house-to-house? Mine was 1963
and I had an 8 week old daughter in her pram. Younger readers may be surprised to know that the experience wasn't much
different from today, except that afternoon visiting was the norm, when so many people were at home. I got the usual mix of
responses from the friendly through grudging to refusal - and the old chestnut; "The dog ate the envelope." "Would
you like another?" "No, he'd eat that as well". One lady heard signs of distress from the pram and
invited me in so that I could feed the baby while she found some money. And of course, that's the lady I remember more
than 50 years on.
I hope your experience of Christian Aid 2017 was a good one, whether you gave
or collected, sponsored-walked or counted. Now, as then, all at Christian Aid believe in Life before Death, and as this year's
poster reminded us, have been on the side of refugees since 1945. When have refugees needed us more than now?