#375: April showers, May deluges

(Photo of the temporary building which our glass panel came from, at the 1953 Coronation)

My dearest friends,

It is all ok, you will be pleased to know- I am back so you don’t need to listen to the Rector’s ramblings any longer. I have returned to take up my rightful place at the keyboard of culture, wearing the waistcoat of wisdom and sitting on the stool of sensibility- you see, I was watching the Coronation so I know how all of this works. thank you all of my friends who offered me sanctuary over the weekend so I wasn’t caught up in the dreadful husnting of mices, and to those who brought me expensive and tasty (but short-lived) brie de meaux back from France to cheer me up, and to those who told me that the mouse hunt actually had as its star- me!- which makes it all somehow suddenly strangely ok. You were all talking about me. You all missed me. My very good friends. My old friends. My friendly friends. I thank you. I am back where I belong, at the word processor of wit and in the bosom of my family. Here is, I am thrilled to say, the news…

Coming Soon

This Sunday sees services at 8, 9.30, 10 and 11, and the St Nick’s AGM at midday and then the Churches Together AGM on Sunday evening at the Baptist Church at about 6.50pm following on from the Christian Aid Service which starts at 6pm. We will also be commissioning the new PCC at 9.30 and 11.

A Note from Andy Clark about helping in the Churchyard this Saturday:

This is your chance to do the Big Help Out volunteering that accompanied the King’s Coronation last weekend. Given we had a fortnightly schedule if was not sensible to change to a bank Holiday Monday so this is your opportunity to come and support your local community and enjoy communing with fellow Churchyard Volunteers.  As usual there will be refreshments at 11 and 1. 

We hope to have the Payback group with us again this time and really work hard to cut the grass and leave areas for wildlife to forage and wildflowers to grow. There will be lots of mowing, strimming, chipping, re-laying of paths, trimming trees, cutting the hedges to do so whatever you would like to volunteer to do – it can be done.

I look forward to seeing you again on Saturday.

There will be an Ascension Day Service at St Paul’s at 8pm on Thursday the 18th of May, which happens to be- would you believe it- Ascension Day! It will be Livestreamed and everyone is welcome.

Do support the Christian Aid Coffee Morning on the 20th of May from 10.45 to 12.45, in the Parish Rooms, which we are organising- and do encourage others to come along as well, whether they pop in on the way to town or try to take on the “Try every cake” challenge…

Teri adds this, re the Coffee Morning…

There will be a Christian Aid Coffee Morning on Saturday 20th May, 10.45am, in the Parish Rooms.  There will be stalls selling various items and tea/coffee and cake.

Please collect your spare books and jigsaws and either leave in the Parish Office with Lousie on Tuesday 16th, Thursday 18th or Friday 19th May from – 9.30am – 12.00 noon,  pass to Lynne Paine, or bring on the day.

Tombola prizes to Liz Gallagher or leave in the office on the above dates.

Plants to Teri Austen, preferably on the day in the Parish Rooms but, if necessary, may be delivered to Teri’s home a couple of days before.  

Please put the date in your diary and come along and support Christian Aid. 

The next in our Series of Evensong Sermons is on the 21st of May at 6.15pm- Ian MacDonald, the Diocesan Youth Officer, will be preaching on the Syrophoenician woman. Do please come along- he is always well worth hearing.

Other Notices and Ideas

Thank to everyone who helped to make the Coronation Afternoon such fun and so successful-

Winners of the Coronation Raffle prizes:

(In order of number chosen)

Henny Hargreaves

Louise Turner

Chris Cassidy

John Smith

Tina Selwyn-Smith

Bertie received this email from Lionel Voke:

Thank you to you and all your team for two most inspiring and uplifting services on Coronation Sunday they will live long in the memory. God Save the King. With Best Wishes  Lionel 

This note has come from Crowthorne too: There is going to be a concert at St John’s on 13 May at 7.30 to start our 150 years celebration. The Hart Male Voice choir are singing as well as a wonderful soprano from church – it will be a great concert. I was wondering if you could spread the word – I can deliver a poster if that would help. Tickets are £12.00 from me, I can deliver them. My telephone no is 01344 771302.

People are still meeting regularly to pray on a Wednesday morning in the usual places- Teri’s usually, and Liz’s on the last Wed of the month- but the service will usually be Morning Prayer for the time being, with a Mass usually on the Wed. Do check Pews News each week for the venue- you would be very welcome to come along, pray and drink coffee.

The Deanery Green Event which had to be postponed in Jan is back on, for the 25th of June, for people aged 11 to 16- do please book in and do, everyone, pray for its success. Thanks.

Peter has sent this: I have added a brief explanation of the pane of glass, on the website – Our Coronation Window – St Paul’s Parish (

The latest update from Madagascar is here:

St Cecilia’s School is hosting a Summer Fair on the 10th of June- would anyone from the local
community like to help organise it? and does anyone have a stall they would
like to run, like painting faces or doing a raffle or games? Please contact the
School if so.

And finally- from Nadia Bolz-Weber on always being you…

Hello good people.

I am in NYC attending the Mockingbird Conference and speaking at the Freedom Rising Conference and I just had to share with you something that the brilliant David Zahl shared with us last night: a quote from Freddie deBoer’s Substack, in which he speaks about young people’s seeming preference to live their lives “on-line” than in person.

What would a healthy culture and caring parents do for those kids? They would be pulled aside and told: you are you, and you will always be you; we live here, on this planet, in this culture, as this species; you live in the times you live in, and you will never live anywhere else. There’s no escape, for any of us. The world gets better and it gets worse. Your life gets easier and it gets harder. Progress happens. Happiness is possible. But the world is an irredeemably broken place, tragedy is the endowment of our bodies and our gods and our world, and you will always, always, always be you. You can hide in your room, but you’ll still be you. And you’ll still be you when you head off to college and make brand new friends, and you’ll still be you after you come out to your parents, and you’ll still be you after you get that job or that promotion or that raise, and you’ll still be you after you lose those last 10 pounds, and you’ll still be you after you fall in love, and you’ll still be you after the AI revolution or the socialist revolution or the love revolution or any other revolution. The only sensible path forward is to learn to accept the brokenness of human life, to develop resilience in the face of its petty cruelties, and to learn to live with yourself.

(here’s the full post:)

Freddie deBoer

You Are You. We Live Here. This is Now.

As I get older, explicitly political questions interest me less and less, and I’m motivated more and more to write about human conditions that are, in a sense, pre-political. I feel that intensely when it comes to the various conversations that we’re having about the role of digital technology in our lives…

Read more

a month ago · 776 likes · 190 comments · Freddie deBoer

I am new to deBoer so cannot speak about his work, only that this blew me away. Maybe because I have spent the last few days reading a excellent memoir about walking the Camino and I feel like the combination of this quote and turning 54 and that book have made me fall face first into the truth of something I’d really rather avoid, thank you very much. Meaning this: a year and a half ago, I walked that Camino – a 500 miles pilgrimage across Spain. And I would love to sit here in this NYC hotel room and type words that indicated that I transcendently floated above the road in some kind of sainted goodness for every one of those 500 miles, but I did not.

When I was preparing for the experience I read many accounts on-line about how amazing and open-hearted the connections are with those you band together with along the way. Being part of a community is the thing I have most longed for in life, instead finding myself creating it for others more often than discovering it for myself. So when I learned that one forms a “Camino family” on pilgrimage it sounded idyllic and lovely and just the thing I’d always wanted; maybe because I forgot that, as deBoer might put it, I would still be me on the Camino.

I am ashamed to say this, but on the train into St Jean (where the Camino begins) – the very first pilgrim I met…THE FIRST ONE, I mentally dubbed The Canadian Mansplainer. He was an expert in everything, which seemed wonderful for him, but was, in fact, miserable for me (and many of the women I met along the way). And reader, like some cosmic joke – I could not escape the guy for WEEKS. First person I’d see in the the trail each morning. First person I’d see in every cafe I entered along the way. No matter how quick or slow my pace…there he was. Like a homing beacon for my character defects. I mean, the self-created aggravation of it. Ridiculous.

The point is: Even on a spiritual pilgrimage, I was me. Good and bad. (I also managed to meet many people who were lovely companions with whom I shared many hours and meals and lodgings).

When I became a mother? still me.

When I became a pastor? still me.

When I got divorced? still me.

I was me when I was young and foolish but had great abs.

I am me in Menopause. As my heart and my body soften into something new.

I will still be me as I continue to age.

After any self-improvement scheme I fall for, I will still be me.

After any new failure.

After any wished-for success.

Still me.

Three weeks into the Camino, I did the very spiritually admirable thing of finally just hopping in a cab and skipping forward a day’s walk to get away from the people I had seen every day for weeks – both the ones I liked and the ones I did not.

On that first day walking entirely alone, I stopped in my tracks and was laughing so hard at myself that I had to grab my knees. If anyone was watching they surely would have thought I’d lost my mind.

I was laughing at the folly of having assumed I’d be a different person on the Camino. I mean, how many times am I going to fall for that??

But then my self-deprecation stopped and was replaced with what I can only describe as a self-appreciation. Not arrogance or pride (I hope), just a compassionate acceptance.

I stood there thinking,

Nadia. You are a very keen observer of yourself and other people. This is exactly what allows you to be the kind of writer you are, which (somehow) has proved helpful for others. But maybe it is also the very thing that precludes you from ever happily being part of a group. Nobody gets to have everything. Would you trade one for the other?

No. No I would not.

I am still me. And in middle age I can finally say that, for the most part, I am ok with it. Sure there are some jagged edges that continue to snag on the fabric of my life. There is a down side to nearly every good thing about me. But no one escapes this place without carrying a whole load of contradictions about themselves. It’s kind of the only thing that makes us interesting enough to have stories to tell.


And be gentle with your contradictory selves.


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