Helen Jesty: September 2015
A true story about the mess and muddle that often makes up our lives.
Recently our usual pattern for weekly Holy Communion at a local Care Home had to be changed to a different week day.
So Plan A became Plan B.
I arrived and made the trolley ready for coffee and biscuits after the service as usual.
The residents were all assembled in the chapel, some coming on foot, others brought by the staff in their wheel chairs. Just before we started a care home volunteer rushed in, very anxious, as students from the College were soon to gather in the dining room to show their art to the residents at exactly the time the service was to begin. Another school was due to arrive with a choir and a drama group who came ready to entertain the residents. There was no one in the audience. Most of the residents who would be interested were in the chapel!
Neither of us knew there was a clash. So I suggested that it might work to have a much shortened service, missing out the two hymns, chosen by the residents, and the talk I had prepared that morning to fit in with the Gospel reading. Then the residents could enjoy both.
So Plan B became Plan C.
We started more promptly than usual. All this change was hard to cope with for those who were in chapel but everyone rallied and we started our prayers and responses.
A resident with hearing problems opened the door, very surprised the service had begun promptly, something we rarely achieved. Jenny filled him in on what was happening, gave him the service book and we resumed where we had left off. A few minutes later the door burst open again as unexpectedly a carer brought in a very elderly resident in her wheel chair who hardly ever comes down to the chapel.
We moved some furniture out of the way to make room for her wheel chair so she felt welcome and part of our circle. We provided her with the books she needed. On we went.
For a third time the door opened by the volunteer with the question ' how much longer will you be?' We asked for just a few minutes to share bread and wine.
Often when I ask for any prayer requests, or things for which we can give praise, everyone feels tongue tied. Today there were lots of requests including prayers for a beloved dog belonging to a Carer that was very unwell. There were many more requests than usual but we managed to fit them all in, keeping our prayers very brief.
We sensed God's presence and love, as we always do, even although the Service we had was different from usual.
When we had finished we quickly decamped into the dining room and changed from being a congregation to an audience.
So plan C became Plan D
Our refreshment trolley wasn't needed in the end but out of the mess and muddle the morning was incredibly rich.
Looking back, we were all so glad that Plan A had become Plan D!
Helen Jesty and Jenny Thompson
PS Helen adds: A few days ago the boot was on the other foot. A church member emailed me to say I had failed to turn up when I was expected. I was very upset that I had let others down by muddling up the dates. When I rang to apologise the people involved were so kind and forgiving. I will forever be thankful for what they showed me of God's grace and long-suffering towards us.