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Canon Pam writes ...      

One of many highlights of Bishop Jonathan's recent visit was the Tuesday morning prayer walk from St. Andrew's to St. James' via the Foodbank, where we met a group from St. James School. The Foodbank now fills the very large upper hall at St.  George's, and the sheer quantity of goods received and distributed every week should concern us all. The children were soon set to work checking sell-by dates on new donations, and began to make connections with their harvest gifts and the Feed and Need basket in our church, while I made a note to put long life orange juice on my shopping list.

That wasn't the first prayer walk I've undertaken this year. Good Friday you may remember was rather wet. Still missing the traditional Walk of Witness I decided to walk prayerfully to Pokesdown, and here's what happened:

 

  • Queens Park Hotel. My local, though I've never been inside. On match days they display a notice "Home fans only". How sad that so many football supporters can't express rivalry without resorting to violence.

 

  • There's a Nail Loungeon the right. My hairdresser used to have her salon there until the rent went up beyond her means. She now works in a care home.

 

  • Our girls both went to Kings Park School when we came to Bournemouth in 1974. It's now an Academy. Why is it that so many of us want to call it by the name we know?

 

  • An ambulance rushes past, blue light flashing. An arrow prayer for the paramedics aboard, and the situation in which they are - or will be- involved.

 

  • The British Legion Headquarters is up for sale. I think of many inspiring stories I've head while selling poppies, and pray for the people who shared them.

 

  • The land south of the railway line was for two months an encampment for homeless people. Coloured ribbons decorated the wire fencing and the gate bore an invitation - "Ring the bell and come in to see us". Yes, I know they were trespassing, and maybe some of them were activists who had homes to go to, but surely no-one would stay there for long in the rain and snow if they had an alternative.Today the site is locked and empty. Where did they go?

 

  • On the pavement at the corner of North Road was a pair of adult size white trainers-upright, as if the owner had been lifted out of them, making me think of the Ascension. Who did they belong to? (The next day they had disappeared).

 

  • By the time I reached Christchurch Road the rain had set in, so I  got on a bus. At Pokesdown station I was queuing to get off behind two young men, when who should walk past but John Pares carrying the Churches Together cross ready for the midday service on the Green."There's a guy with a blooming cross" - or words to that effect, one exclaimed. To which I gently responded "well, it is Good Friday". As we got off I was able to tell them about the service we were going to hold, and they told me they were going fishing. We agreed that all three of us were going to get very wet.

 

If you haven't ever done any prayer walking, I encourage you to give it a try, either alone, or with a friend or in a small group. And please tell me if you know the story behind those trainers.

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Pam