Monday, February 02, 2009

Shine a light!

So...that was the morning.
Yesterday afternoon was no less full of excitement, as it saw the launch in our diocese of "Children for a Change", our focus for the Year of the Child.
I would guess that something like 1000 people crammed into Tewkesbury Abbey for a festival service, so that the afternoon became a wonderful opportunity to glimpse friends from all over the diocese.The banner that my beloved Koinonia had made during a sleep-over 2 years ago now was carried in procession alongside banners from churches and schools from right across Gloucester diocese. The small contingent from Church/School in the Valley carried their banner with aplomb, and when the time came collected the special "Year of the Child" candle.We are commissioned to light this in as many different places as we can find children in the months ahead, as we pray a special prayer written for the occasion. I took it into school this morning and invited the children to help me think of creative places to take the candle over the next few months...was specially pleased that one little girl suggested it might go with her to visit her brother in hospital, "because then I could pray with him there".
We had a year of the child a while ago (maybe a decade - apparently this is the 30th anniversary of the UN Internation Year of the Child), with lots of excitements across the diocese and a real sense that the church was recognising the need to include and affirm the children in their midst. So it was very sad indeed that yesterday, when the vicar of Tewkesbury suggested that, as there was such a huge congregation the adults present might move from the chairs in the nave to enable the children to both sit and see what was going on, nobody moved. Not one. Of course the children were creative, crowing into the aisle, standing on parents' shoulders, making the most of the situation...but yet again, when invited to make them literally central, at a service created with children as the focus, the adults in the pews refused to give an inch. Said alot, I fear.
Still, let's not be bleak. The contingent from the Valley made me feel very smiley and the prayer for the year is emphatically one of hope.

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Jesus, Child of Mary, light from God,
help us in the Year of the Child
to share the gifts of children,
to recognise that every child matters,
and to bring hope to children in need,
so that every man, woman and child
may know your blessing
and shine as lights in the world
to the glory of God. Amen.

1 comment:

marcella said...

Bless them - they seem to be wearing their school uniforms on a Sunday - that's real commitment.