Message from our Pastoral Assistant

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Karen Booker

Thank you and farewell

Over 600 visits, 22 church family funerals, residential care homes' security codes ...... mere numbers within my 4 year role as Pastoral Assistant.

It has been one of the best and the lowest paid jobs I have had in my lifetime — are the two related?!

In looking back, I can see much that went before, may have brought me to this role: studying Theology; teaching Religious Education; facing cancer & undergoing chemotherapy; working at a school for the disabled & those with life-limiting conditions; losing my parents — my closest family.

Mine is a life journey similar to your's and others', but God could use it, even when I couldn't see the plan .....

How does one sum up such a job?

- the anxiety of stepping into the unknown

  • the privilege of listening
  • crushing sorrow
  • refreshing springs of laughter
  • the "thin places" where God's breath seems next to one's cheek
  • the bond of sharing in another's life journey.

    Thank you in particular to my mentors: Muriel Thomas, Bob Weighton, Keith Underhill, Helen Jesty, and to my Support Group: Judy Nicholls, Delia Thomas, Jennie Marlow and Marion Allan.

    There have been stinging challenges: I hope to have learned from them. There has been much love — I hope to have given as much away as I was enfolded by.

    The post of Pastoral Assistant at AMC will cease on 31 August and that email address deleted. Thereafter I'm retreating for an indeterminate period to discern the next chapter.....

    The role of Church Family Visitor will be even more crucial as we face a time of waiting for another church leader and minister to each other, but there is much to be learned from this. I close with A Blessing For Listeners:

    My child, listen to your heart.
    You will find there all the emotions and all the experiences
    you need to meet with this other soul.
    Trust your own heart, and now, forget it.
    Your heart will guide you in response without you worrying about it.

    Listen to me. I am your Lord, and in seeing this person you please me.
    I will guide and uphold you in all you say and do.
    Trust me; you have made my heart glad and I will not fail you.
    Now forget about me. I will be with you without you thinking about me.

    Listen to this other person. I am in them
    whether they acknowledge it or you see it.
    But more even than discovering me in them, just discover them;
    This other human soul in need of a heart into which to pour their troubles,
    For their own heart is soaked through with pain and can hold no more.

    Listen,
    And bring refreshment to a heart that cries to speak its story. Amen."

    Thank you and farewell.

    Karen L Booker (Pastoral Assistant)

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