Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Mothering Sunday in Alvechurch

By Belinda

It was Mothering Sunday in England (March 17,) and the skies were gray and as I set out to walk to Rectory Cottage. The bed and breakfast where Susan was staying is a brisk 10 minute walk from Tanyard Close and a fine but determined drizzle dampened my hair, face and clothes as I strode along.

I could see Susan waiting in the enclosed front porch, looking out for me and she opened the door so that I could come in. 

Celia Hitch, the proprietress, also welcomed me in, along with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, named Diesel, if my memory serves me correctly. 

Celia suggested that we take the short cut to the village down a newly finished walking path and acrossThe Meadows playing fields. She rummaged around in an umbrella rack and pulled out two collapsible umbrella's for us to borrow, one of them slightly wonky, but usable, and left behind by past guests.  We gratefully hoisted them aloft against the rain and set out down the muddy path for Alvechurch Baptist Church, or ABC as it is known.

Due to renovations the sanctuary of the church is unusable at present, so we made our way to the back where the small congregation was gathering in the church hall.

Fiona, the minister, was away, and there was a young guest speaker from Saltmine Ministries who happened to have a Canadian wife. We found out after the service that she was from Halifax N.S.

The minister started the service by asking for some children to volunteer to help him as he wanted to teach us all how the Queen's socks are folded. He handed three children pairs of socks so that they could show us how they folded socks first. The diversity of methods was very interesting--and one of them looked like mine in which the socks end up in a roll shape. But that's not how the Queen's socks are folded--and since finding out how, I have been doing it "right." :) "First you hold the socks together side by side. Think in thirds," the minister said. You fold one third over the middle third and then the last third over. Then you fold the cuff over, tucking them inside. They end up in a neat, flat package! Very cool.

"That's how I fold mine," whispered Susan. I couldn't help thinking that Mum would have found this a cool thing too. She, like Susan, always found good ways to do things. I tend to just do things without necessarily looking for the good way to do them!

After the sock story the children ran off with their teachers to Sunday School and the minister opened his Bible to the text for the day:John 2:1-11, the first of the signs by which Jesus revealed his glory. As he got to verse 5: His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you, ” Susan and I looked at one another with a smile because it felt like a small sign to me that God knew I was there, silly though that sounds now that I'm writing it! :) The name of this blog is based on that verse. It was a fitting text for Mothering Sunday, since it is about Jesus's mother prompting him to rescue the hosts of a wedding from disaster.

The service ended with the hymn, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, written by Charles Wesley, and sung to the tune in the video clip below. The small congregation sang it with all their hearts, the men and women taking their parts as in this version. 

As we sang, the children ran back into the hall from their Sunday School class with arms full of bunches of daffodils, and went down each row handing a bunch to each woman there. Mothering Sunday in Alvechurch, not just survived, but celebrated, with gratitude for one of the best mums anyone ever had.

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