There comes a time in the life of a blogger when what happens is life...life to be lived...life to be organised and planned...a life in which one must be enjoined, one must participate. This explains the absence of Miss Eagle.
Highlights of the absence are:
- Establishing a support group for widows and widowers at St Thom's. The group has chosen to call itself Dawn of Life.
- Attending a conference in the Anglican Diocese of Ballarat - Rural Ministry in the 21st century.
- Taking the opportunity to play tourist before and after the conference.
- And, while all this was going on, Miss Eagle was also planning and working on a Pray Vigil held on Wednesday afternoon from 1pm-4pm at St Thom's.
St Thom's is a smaller parish - approximately 125 people attend two services in Upper Ferntree Gully each Sunday. We are, like so many Anglican congregations, ageing. In the last twelve months or so, though, aged diversity is creeping in the doors. Miss E is overjoyed. You see Miss Eagle does not agree with these aged specific Gen X, Gen Y churches. Miss E heard recently about a couple turning up at St Hilary's Kew, Melbournes largest Anglican church - Anglican of the evangelical variety. They were re-directed to the service for those over 40.
Now Miss E has the view that we are the Body of Christ, that God does deal with people in families. How does age-segregation help with communication between the generations? Miss Eagle is 63, she is widowed, she has no grandchildren. But she delights in the babies and toddlers in the church. There's Georgia who is somewhere between 11 and 13 who is making wonderful progress in the guitar. There has been a quiet pleasure in watching Callum and Nicholas - the children of Susanne and Jonathan, our ministering couple - grow up and start high school. There is Claire who has grown up in the church and is now at university. It is wonderful to be able to stay in touch with her life and ambitions and plans. And this is a two-way street. Young people learn about communicating with older people. Surely, this is the way God works things out. Surely, this sort of community can be a gift to a broader more individualistic society.
So, in this parish with a substational ageing demographic, there are quite a few widows and widowers. Needless to say, there are more widows than widowers. Two of us were widowed at a young age: Miss E at 45, but Madelin even earlier, in her thirties with young children. Most are recently widowed. So, at our first meeting, we had only one man. The others were busy - so time will tell whether the others come along. If they don't, we may lose our one man and become an all female group.
We have made a good beginning. We are not a lonely hearts club and we are likely to carry on a range of activities: social, first person, speakers. Miss E wants to also guide people in to looking at the role of the widowed in the church - then and now.
...to be continued