“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, 22 May 2016

A Warm Welcome

Part of my role as District Minister for the Midland Unitarian Association, is to do two services a month "around the District", either covering for ministers' holidays, or for congregations who don't have a minister at present. It is a part of the job I really enjoy, meeting all the different congregations, and catching up with their news.

This morning, I travelled down to Cheltenham, to do a service at Bayshill Unitarian Church, and got a warmer welcome than I had anticipated ...

image by Cressida Pryor
I had decided to give them a nice, peaceful, reflective service entitled The Tree of Faith, and we were half way through the Time of Stillness and Reflection, when a series of what sounded like small explosions came from outside. One of the congregation went to look, and came back in and said, very matter-of-factly, "The building next door is on fire; I think we'd better get out."

So we gathered our things together, and left. Sure enough, there were smoke and flames pouring from the roof of the adjacent building, and there was some concern that it could spread to the church. But the fire brigade soon arrived, cordoned off the area, and put it out.

In the meantime, we adjourned to the Bayshill pub, where. over cups of coffee, I delivered the address and benediction. It was certainly one for the diary.

Monday, 16 May 2016

"Just Pop Your Card In There, Dear"

This morning, I went into town with the Chair of my congregation, who is 70, but looks younger, to see the borough council about organising waste collections for our new building.

It has also been in my mind that we need to set up a Twitter account for Northampton Unitarians (watch this space) so as I don't know much about Twitter, I decided to buy a simple book about it. The one I found is called Social Networking for the Older Generation.

We went to the till to pay for it, and I became, for the first time, the victim of age dsicrimination. The woman on the till could not have been much younger than me, but I don't think she actually looked at me once. She saw the title of the book, and the whole tone of the transaction was set by it. She adopted a sing-song, cooing tone of voice, and said to me: "Just pop your card in there, dear."

I was so taken aback that instead of challenging her, I meekly did what I was told, completed the transaction, and then lingered to see whether her tone to the person next in the queue (a young man) would be the same.

Needless to say, it wasn't. She was much brisker and normal with him.

It left me thinking about how I treat elderly people. I *hope* that I am not as patronising as that woman - I certainly don't adopt a "special" tone of voice when talking to older people. But it was a real lesson in What Not To Do.