Today’s reflection is another great personal story as we learn more about Astrid Clarke, member (and recently retired organist) of St. Benedict’s Gyffin.
But before we do, a couple of notices!
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Astrid mentions Christian Aid Week below – and we have wonderful news. Our local appeal has reached £1,185 thanks to your great generosity. The link to the appeal is at the bottom of this page. If you haven’t had the chance to give, then please do as we will shortly be transferring the much-needed funds. Thank you 🙂
with the Bishop of Owerri at our son’s Christening
Y mae’r ddaear yn llawn o ffyddlondeb yr Arglwydd.
Salm 33: 5
The earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
Psalm 33: 5
Astrid Clarke writes:
Trying to put pen to paper is hard especially when my eyesight is now so bad, but I feel I have to say a big ‘thank you’ for the Daily Reflections which I look forward to every morning as I can now stay in bed longer and to read them before I get up!
Heather’s message about Christian Aid last week reminded me when I was young. As our Church’s Missionary Secretary, I walked miles to collect 3d each week. That seemed a lot in those days. At that time, little did I know that after I married I would travel to Nigeria with my husband to work for the CMS (Church Missionary Society). We travelled by ship from Liverpool to Lagos which took 13 days and found a wonderful welcome at Blaize Memorial Trade Centre: Abeokuta, Western Region.
We had a fulfilling life there and the highlight of our stay was teaching the young men how to sing ‘I Vow to Thee my Country’. They loved it and I loved playing it on their organ. We didn’t really want to leave but the Bishop of Owerri, Eastern Region wanted to start a Trade Centre for the World Council of Churches in Aba. We went for an interview and were accepted. My husband built the Delta Trade Centre with the help of the first 12 intakes and when we had to leave because of the Biafran Civil War we had over 300 students. We lost everything at that time but we had our lives.
We spent 19 years in Lagos but were glad when we decided to move to North Nigeria to farm in Jos, Plateau State which was wonderful. Lovely scenery and ideal weather as it’s 4,000 feet above sea level. At last we could have a better life, less traffic and of course no humidity. Also we could join a Church. We were able to join St. Piran’s Church (St. Piran being Patron Saint of Miners). What a difference Church is over there! Always full, with no space for the congregation to sit so chairs were arranged outside with a loud speaker bellowing out the service. I was a member of their choir and one Sunday service was asked to play the organ but found it quite difficult when they couldn’t keep up with my timing!
I spent 42 years in Nigeria and miss it still. We did go through some terrifying times but because of living in Nigeria, it has made me more tolerant of others. I feel a great pity that things in the UK have changed a lot over the years and people, perhaps because they have too much now, do not discover the warmth and friendship found in our churches. I think sometimes that people focus more on themselves yet many rally around with generosity for charity events and get behind good causes – like Captain Tom’s NHS appeal. A greater sense of community through this frightening pandemic shows me there really is good in our world. When this is all over I pray that our churches will be full again. For there will always be the same welcome we had all those years ago from our steadfast, loving God and His people.
Gweddi dros Genhadaeth y Byd
datgelaist dy gariad
trwy ddanfon dy unig Fab i’r byd
fel y gall pawb fyw trwyddo ef:
caniatâ i’th Eglwys drwy nerth yr Ysbryd
ufuddhau i’th orchymyn
i wneud disgyblion o’r holl genhedloedd;
trwy Iesu Grist ein Harglwydd. Amen.
A prayer for World Mission
you revealed your love
by sending your only Son into the world
that all might live through him:
grant that by the power of the Spirit
your Church may obey his command
to make disciples of all nations;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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