Uganda has a great deal to offer the world and my wish is that the world would listen to the Ugandan melodies. Melodies of culture, courtesy,medicine, courage.Generosity, patience (but not fast enough) hope,love and faith. And the rarer irritants that go deep deep deep, metamorphose to training tools and transform.
The church of England offers training for lay ministry and time for reflection outside the usual.Uganda is a few thousand miles outside the usual but I owe huge thanks to my mentors of vision whose gaze reaches beyond a diocese in order to help the diocese. A reader in the church doesn’t just read and the Christian gospel is not geographically bound.
The church I am attached to knows how to praise, it knows how to suffer and it knows how to fight with the gentleness of Christ. It is hard to know each tiny drop that makes the flood, but each plays it’s part. It is humbling and empowering
to visit the papyrus reed churches,the church meeting under a tree and the new churches starting.
And the opportunity is great to meet and talk with all the variety of humankind that is offered. From being given the pulpit on International Women’s Day, to the counselling of children,from the pulpit on Ugandan TV to helping the sick children and their parents privilege is too small a word.
So sharing belief is a great unifier of values and desires, direction and understanding. Ugandan fellow followers of Christ teaching me and shining as bright stars with his love in this world.
And so we arrived in Uganda. My luggage and I. The beautiful bicycle all in the box.A big thank you to KLM for waiving the fee as a charitable gift. And to the packer.
(Just for the record re the “dwellers all in time and space ” post, my plane neighbour was upgraded and left me to enjoy a seat for two.Not complaining that his penchant for a violent film didn’t distract my reading)
Uganda is a place of warmth. Not just the equatorial sunshine, but the kindness of her people. So many people give such heartfelt greetings and
” Welcome ” is their word. It’s hard not to take a step back and feel undeserving of their words,smile and kindness.
Some have invited me into their houses in the few days I have been here and whatever the home style, the welcome has been humbling. “Welcome” tumbles off the lips of strangers as I struggle with quelling a sense of intrusion into their privacy.The visits are deeply appreciated as the pastor of the church his team and I call in on neighbours in the community just saying what a church is about. And they have a lot on offer.Caring, feeding educating, healing,medicines,support and salvation. Whatever the worldview of the folks we have seen there has never not been an active “Welcome “. Europe. Let’s learn.
Pomfret, Pomfret! O thou bloody prison,
Fatal and ominous to noble peers!
Within the guilty closure of thy walls
Richard the second here was hack’d to death;
Pontefract Castle lies in ruins,apparently the locals welcoming its destruction by Parliamentarians in the civil war .And yet it still belongs to the Queen . High up on a rock surrounded by traffic and suburbia it lies at peace .The residents are now rid of the fighting it attracted for centuries. A place of conflict,royal murder, intrigue and politics it was destroyed 100 years after the sacking of the havens of peace that were the monasteries.
Pontefract Castle is reported to be the place of Catherine Howard’s adultery which led to her beheading Perhaps it does have something to do with the sacking of the monasteries .A king with six wives was not going to please the church in Rome . But the monasteries enraged him by paying their tithes to Rome and not to the home coffers . Here in Pontefract there is no sign of the Cluniac Priory surrendered to King Henry VIII on 23 November 1540 . It had stood for 450 years , small but a place for up to 40 monks and a Christian presence next to the bustling castle .Stop to think awhile and hear the history in the station name Pontefract Monkhill .If this monastery had been founded the day it surrendered and lasted as long ,it would have closed just three years ago .It was here for a long long time .
I work near here and had wanted to see the site and remember. And in betwen the driving around also remember Nostell Priory. A name in National Trust ownership and a Robert Adam house paid for by coal deposits beneath .The priory gone but held in the sub conscience.
Both priories too ruined to be on my bike trip, I have mixed sentiments of amazement that the history is so close , but an anger that suburbia squeezes around and the priories are obliterated .Such influence and importance reduced to an A road and a Shell garage with Costa .Peace is now offered by the low walls of a once bloody and very important castle.The wall of Pontefract’s Saxon Church a nod to a much longer Christian heritage on the site (photo) />