Ascension – A chapter closes

(Gather 2 volunteers from each year group present. Divide them into teams to do a relay race. I did year 7 & 9 at the east end of the aisle and year 8 & 10 at the west end. They used a tie for a baton)

We’re going to start with a relay race.

Starting with the year 7s their going to run up the aisle, and pass these batons onto the year 8s who will run down and pass them to the year 9s and so on.

3,2,1 GO!

Well done. Thank you.

 

Today is ascension day, and Ascension means to go up.  It can also describe when someone gets more power or more responsibility.  Kings and queens ascend to the thrown when they are crowned. And today we hear of Jesus’ ascension. It’s been 40 days since Easter, and after the resurrection, Jesus continues to work with his disciples and makes sure they are ready for this point.

Because when Jesus ascends, he passes on something very important to the disciples.

St Luke tells us that Jesus ‘opened their minds to understand the scriptures.’ If you remember, one of the titles Jesus had was Rabbi, teacher, and this is what he had been doing with the disciples, right until the end. They have all their teachings, learnt their lessons and Jesus gave them the power and blessing they needed to do what they had been prepared to do.

A little like the baton that was passed between our races, the disciples are given a baton from Jesus to continue the work he started. It’s over to them.

And so when Jesus leaves the disciples, he hands over the responsibility of what happens next to them.

And so today is an odd mix of endings and beginnings, as one chapter closes and another one opens.

And we can understand how the disciples felt.

Because we all go through a similar transition. All of you will be moving soon. Moving into a new year, moving to new classes, moving into GCSE or A-level years, moving away to college or university or moving from school to work.

Especially for our upper sixth and some of our year 11s the end of this term will mark a dramatic change as their time at Townsend comes to an end, the teachers have taught all they can and it’s time for them to ascend take everything they know and to go out into the world and use it.

And these movement our often met with a mixture of excitement, fear, grief, anticipation, joy and dread. Just as the disciples would have felt on that Ascension day.

The disciples went out, and found their way to doing all sorts of works for God, from sharing all they knew about God and telling people the gospel of Jesus, to baptising, healing the sick and travelling all over the world.

And who knows where your journey will take you, but like the disciples, you will not be unprepared, and you will not be alone as you are send out with the blessing of God and the blessing of the school to go and do the work you have been prepared to do.

The Ascension is an odd mixture of endings and beginnings, as one chapter closes and another one opens and as the baton is passed to us. What are you going to do with it?

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Townsend Church of England School – Dedication Service

Readings: Job 28: 12-19 & 1 Corinthians 3: 16-23

Well, for those of you who might be new to the cathedral, welcome and for those who have been here before, welcome back.

I don’t know about you lot but I’m having quite a good week. I hope you are as well. I’m getting excited about this Saturday because that’s when I officially, properly start working here in the cathedral, and officially, properly start working in other places, like with you in Townsend.
The beginning of the new academic year is a big event in the diary, and a place where there is so much potential.
Actually, It’s a new start for all of us. And big starts, and big changes bring with them all sorts of different things. Excitement, and happiness, challenges and test, and also possibly fear, and nerves.

And I’m sure that some of you would have gone through, or are going through some of these, whether you’ve:
Just started secondary school
Or joined the sixth form from another school
Or you’ve just come back from a life changing summer

Whether you’ve realised yet that moving up in school also means longer and harder work
Or you’ve taken up a new job in the school

A few weeks ago a moved to St Albans, and I’d never been here before going to the interview. I have a new job in a very, very, very big building (I mean, have you seen the size of this place?). New house, new area, new place to work, new job, new people to work with (and i don’t know if you’ve met them but some of them can be a little bit…..weird). And that’s all exciting, but its also a bit scary.

And that’s ok.

Because these moments in our lives bring with them possibilities. Right now we have the chance to be whoever we want to be this year. And the beginning of this term gives us the chance to re-invent ourselves or resolve to become a better person. You can become the person who tries hard, when maybe you didn’t before. You could be the person who isn’t afraid to ask questions any more. Or the person who isn’t scared of standing up for something you believe in.

But its up to us what we make of this opportunity. No one will sit through this year for you. No one will make your friends, or do your work, get involved in your groups for you. No one else can decide your attitude. Its up to you what you make of this moment, and this year.

If you were listening closely, you will remember that our first reading from the book of Job asked the question, where can wisdom be found?
Where is the ability to know what is right and true?
Where is the ability found, to make the right decisions?

And Job says that wisdom can’t be bought. It’s not something you can go to the shops for or order off Amazon. No amount of gold, or silver or jewels can buy wisdom, not even the rarest or finest of jewels. And nothing can make up for it.

Job says that wisdom is only found in the ways of God, that in following His ways, we can become wise. And we know from Jesus’ teachings, that involves loving God, ourselves and each other. And that when we move away from doing wrong and evil things, we show understanding.

Our actions display our understanding.

If you’re rude, and insulting, then it shows you have little understanding, and little wisdom.
But if you’re kind, accepting of others, and respectful, that shows that you not only understand the school policy about respecting all which Mr Wellbeloved will remind us of later, but you’re on the right path to gain true wisdom.

Paul reminds us however not to go in the other direction. In our second reading from one of his letters to the Corinthians he reminds us not to deceive ourselves, that we’re not perfect and that we ALL, and I do mean ALL, you, me, everyone sat up here, your teachers and your parents, ALL of us have things to learn.

And its good to be reminded of this.

This is your year.
Decide what you want from it.
Whatever you want to do with your year, know that you have your teachers, friends, parents, and all of us here in the cathedral to support and pray for you. And I look forward to getting to know you, and finding out what you do with this year.

 

Open the Book – The Storm on the Lake

Open the Book - The Storm on the Lake

We did the story of the storm on the lake this week in Ysgol Llanbedr, and Ysgol Dyffryn. From my point of view it was the best story we’ve done ever! We got the kids to sit in the shape of a boat, one of our team had made a cool mast, and I got to play the sea and squirt the kids with water pistols when the sea got rough. Who said the Bible was boring????

Ysgol Dyffryn visit Llanenddwyn Church

Ysgol Dyffryn came to visit Llanenddwyn church last Tuesday as part of a project they have been doing about churches and chapels. Before they came they sent me a questionnaire to fill in, here are some of the questions they sent

Questionnaire
Ydy eich gwaith yn bwysig? Pam?
Is your work important? Why?

I think my work is very important, because I think everyone needs to have the opportunity to hear about God and all the wonderful things he has done for us.
The church is here to continue to do the work that Jesus started. When Jesus was here he helped lots of people, he healed people, he talked to people and taught them that God loves them. Most importantly he told us that we should love each other.
My job is to help the church to do all the things that Jesus did, and all the things we think Jesus would like us to do. I work with lots of different people in our community.
Some of the different things we do are, putting on services for people to worship God, telling stories in school, Arch Noa baby and tots group, running an after school club, visiting sick people at home or in hospital, organising social activities for those who live alone or struggle to get out of the house. We also help people when they want to have their baby Christened, when two people want to get married, and helping families when people die.

Beth ydych chi’n ei fwynhau fwyaf?
What part of your work do you enjoy most?

I love lots of the things I do, and it’s too hard to pick out one thing. I love that I can spend each day with lots of different people.
I love talking about Jesus to people, and helping people to get to know Jesus themselves and finding out what they believe.

Pam fod pobol yn eich galw yn ficer?
Why do people call you a vicar?

‘Vicar’ is a title which the church uses to called someone who is a priest and is in charge for a church or many churches. There are lots of different titles that the church uses.

I am not a vicar, because I am not responsible for the churches, I work with the vicar (Rev’d Beth Bailey). My title in the church is ‘curate’, but these titles can get confusing to remember.

Oes adeg o’r flwyddyn sydd yn bwysig yn yr eglwys?
What are the most important times of the year in the church?

There are many important times that the church celebrates, and we have different ways of celebrating each time. Some of the important times are:
Advent – the four weeks before Christmas.
Christmas – when we celebrate Jesus being born
Lent – six weeks before Easter.
Holy Week – the week before Easter and we hear all the things that Jesus went through – the last meal with his friends, his death and being put in a tomb.
Easter – when we celebrate Jesus raising from the dead
Pentecost – when the Holy Spirit was given to God’s people to help support and guide them when Jesus went to heaven.
There are also lots of saint’s days through the year when we remember Christians who did special things.

Oes gennych chi ddillad arbennig?
Do you wear special clothes?

There are some special clothes I wear everyday, you have all seen the black shirt and white collar I wear, this is like a uniform, and there are some special clothes I just wear for Sundays and other services I take. I’ll bring them with me to show you when you come and visit the church but some of the names of them are:
Cassock
Alb
Stole
Chasuble
(someone please remind me when you come)

Pam oeddech chi eisiau bod yn ficer?
Why did you want to be a vicar?

I knew I wanted to work for God and to help the church continue the work that Jesus started.
When I knew I wanted to work for God, I went to my own vicar who spoke to me, and gave me books to read and let me do a little bit of work in the church, he helped me to think about becoming a vicar.

Beth sy’n gwneud ficer da?
What makes a good vicar?

There are lots of things you need to be a good vicar. It’s important to be caring, understanding and a good listener. You have to be able to see lots of different points of view.
You need lots of energy to do lots of different things in a day, and not mind getting up very early some days and going to bed very late some nights.
You need to know a lot about yourself and be able to figure out what is important.
Being able to talk to lots of people is important, public speaking and teaching. Also talking one-to-one with people.
Most importantly, a good vicar is someone who is close to God, who prays often, and knows the bible and the stories about Jesus and who wants to tell other people about God.

Easter Roadshow

Easter Roadshow

Last Christmas a number of clergy from Ardudwy Deanery and Llŷn & Eifionydd Deanary got together to organise and run a Christmas roadshow which went around different churches, inviting schools to bring their children for a half day of activities, films and drama which helped tell the Christmas story.

This year it is just the clergy from Ardudwy Deanery, but over the three weeks leading to the school half term, they will tell around 450 children the events of the first Holy Week and the first Easter using film, games, craft and drama.

Is been really exciting to be part of the organising team this time, last Christmas I only helped with the technical side, but it’s been really interesting to see things from the other side and how easy the organisation has been. In reality it would be very difficult to put on an event like this on your own, but because we work in a team it has made it all possible. It’s great to bounce ideas around and develop something that will both engage the kids and explain to them the story and importance of Christ’s death and resurrection.

We pray for the children we meet, their families and teachers, that they will find new joy in the easter season, and come to a new and deeper relationship with Christ.

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