I must say a huge thank you to all of the volunteers and customers who have continued to support us even though, on some days it has been warmer outside than in! Thanks also to those of you on the PCC or friends of the church who have worked tirelessly trying to sort the heating out. No mean feat in a church that size. Lorraine, we have used the blankets you made lots during the extremely cold spell. Thank you for your generous gift of warmth.
As usual, so much goes on in the cafe over a month that it’s hard to know where to begin. So I’ll start with Mondays - which continue to be our busiest day. The volunteers work so hard and long. Sue, Jacquie, Kathy, and Jude, thank you, you’re all invaluable. As are all the volunteers and those involved in the running of the cafe. Suzanne, thanks to you too for stepping in and mixing up such a scrummy bread pudding - they all loved it, hot with custard!
Last Monday, a lovely lady called Maureen came to visit. She had read about the cafe in the magazine and wanted to donate things to the next sale at the church. Once we got talking, I found out that she was interested in canal boats and, in fact, had one for many years. We arranged for her to drop off her stuff on the following Monday and to perhaps stay for lunch. I was thinking of introducing her to all those lovely lot who have lunch with us every week but that didn’t happen because my friends, Graham and Sidonie, who do have a canal boat came over so Graham could share stories with her. Thanks Graham. I love that friends can be so useful, willing and supportive! A true blessing! Maureen enjoyed herself so much that she said she would come back again, and bring a friend! We are looking forward to seeing you soon.
Elsie, Sonia, Little Margaret (I hope to see you soon), Margaret, Victor (who’s rocking blue hair at the moment! He’s taken over from me!), June, Beryl, Barbara and Gwen - who are all regulars - have got three new members joining them – Doreen, Maurine and Pauline! Maureen and Pauline have moved into the area recently and Doreen invited them for coffee. Well done Doreen for having such a community spirit. Pauline enjoyed it so much, she’s now joined us as a volunteer! I’m constantly amazed and delighted by how things work out in this place! That expression “God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform” certainly rings true here!
The lovelies, Lesley and Trudi, help on Tuesdays with the occasional visit from June (Wednesdays) - stepping in when needed as always! I must just wish June well, as I’m sure you all would, as she’s been a bit poorly. We wish you a speedy recovery, June, and love to John. Don’t you be worrying about not being here – wait till you’re ready lovely. I’ll put you on light duties! Knowing June, she’ll probably be back by the time you’re reading this!
Thank you to the people of Swallowfield, who continue to support us on a Tuesday. It’s fantastic that you’re such a part of this community too. I’m not sure if everybody knows about “Coffee Corner,” your own coffee and cake stop on a Wednesday, 10.30am-12.30pm, in the Davies Room in Swallowfield Parish Hall. Go along and support them in supporting you. Plus, there’s cake - yummy yummy.
On Wednesdays anything can happen but what’s sure to happen is Martin will be in, making amazing froth for your cappuccino! David and Cekia are back and it’s fantastic to have them here again!
Thursday sees Ian and Jill open up and get everything ready for Carol, Ann and Georgina. Then I turn up with Franco and Patrick and all hell breaks loose. What was a well-oiled ship becomes more of an oil spill! Don’t let that put you off!
Georgina hasn’t been too good lately either but calls in when she can and is always a joy to be around. Get better soon Georgina - we miss you!
Friday is Priors Court day (well, couple of hours in the morning.) Peter and Rubin work so hard and quick at tasks including filling the fridge, putting the signs out and chopping cucumber. All the jobs that need doing, they do. It’s so humbling, it really is. There’s a great book called Adam by Henri Nouwen – I’ll say no more but, if you read it, come and talk to me about it - so amazing.
We also have Emily on a Friday and fantastic Pat, who has put up with so much since she started here - days swapping crazy busy with really quiet - and me. Thanks, Pat, for your amazing patience. We have Rebecca joining us this Friday. She and Emily are friends. So we will see how much work gets done!
The Saturday team, Janice, Ann, Jean and Nial, manage without me every other week now, when possible, bless them.
I feel very privileged to be able to work where I work and be surrounded by amazing people both behind the counter and in front of it. And when you have snow days like we did when everybody is everywhere, except up in the chancel area of course. Well, not unsupervised anyway... It’s just like one big family and you never know which relative is going to pop up next! Some we’ve never met before, like Maureen, who I hope enjoys joining us as much as we are going to enjoy seeing her!
I’d better stop… I’m going to be late again getting this to Amanda. There is so much more to say, now I’ve started. I need to tell you, before I do stop, that the cafe church service went down well. The service was followed by a celebration lunch in honour of David and Susan, who recently got married, and fun was had by all. The cafe service is a family-friendly service that includes drinks and craft activities on the first Sunday of the month.
There will be Lent courses and Easter services across the benefice so please join in any of those that you feel you might like to. Even if you’ve never done anything like that before, you will be warmly welcomed.
It’s such a wonderful privilege to listen to you when you come in to share your joys and your troubles. To all who are struggling at the moment, for one reason or another, we are always here. There is a great group of compassionate people on the pastoral care team who are willing to listen - benefice wide contact details are always available from Karen (see p75 Benefice Office.) Don’t be afraid to call.
Take care of each other and your neighbours. See you soon.
Debbie and the amazing volunteers