No longer lay, but collared

I realise that those of you who have followed my rambling over the years know that I am no longer lay but ordained.  None the less, the liturgists among you will realise that my primary calling as a Christian is baptismal, and I have decided that that will have to be sufficient justification for remaining ‘lay liturgist’!  Put up with it, pedants :-)

Now that I am wearing a dog collar, people keep asking me how it feels.  When I said it felt a bit tight the other day, a friend commented that yes, of course, because it keeps me leashed to the church!  Usually it just seems to illicit funny looks (especially when I’m driving our sporty little two seater…)

Today, though, it resulted in a very special encounter.  A crowd of kids at the pedestrian crossing acknowledged a woman coming in the opposite direction with such obvious enthusiasm that I asked her if she was a teacher.

She was, and then she bought me lunch, and told me that she had just got engaged to her partner of 20 years.  I offered to pray for them, and she asked for my details.  I don’t think we would have had that conversation if I hadn’t been wearing a dog collar, and now I’ve met my first person in the parish who isn’t a Christian, and I have my first people to pray for.  I’m so excited….

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  1. Elizabeth Hanna’s avatar

    Yes, the dog collar brings some very special encounters and makes it easier to engage in meaningful conversations.

  2. Gerald Field’s avatar

    Also random moments of trust. Walking through a shopping centre a couple of years ago a gentleman I’d never seen before took me by the arm as he passed by and asked, “Please pray for my dad, who’s having a life saving operation tomorrow. Thank you”…..and walked on before I could talk to him further. I did as he asked, never saw him again, and don’t know the outcome, but it was one of those moments when one realizes how unique our calling and our ministry is….both to us and to others. Enjoy…..it just gets better!

  3. ian’s avatar

    Reminds me of a story I heard recently from a friend – only your’s didn’t have a rabbit Joke – This is his post…

    Don’t you just love it when you meet new people?

    I just had a chance encounter with a guy called “John Michael Barratt”. An elderly and retired electrician from South East London who was trying to find his way to Kingsthorpe.

    Between swigs of his 300ml bottle of Poland’s finest purified Vodka, carefully stored in his back pocket, he told me he used to be in the army and was recruited for the S.A.S after harsh training as a flight squad commander. He said he fought “Real wars, not the jester wars they fight today.”. He then went on to speak of his empathy for the families of soldiers who have died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq “…for no go0d reason.”.

    He stopped for a moment and asked me to hold his bottle of milk. Rolled a cigarette and said “You’re a go0d man. A Man who holds a stranger’s milk whilst they roll out a cigarette is a man you can trust.” He rolled his cigarette and offered me one, I declined of course and said “You shouldn’t smoke.”. He told me “Yeah, and I shouldn’t work in a Nuclear Power Station. I shouldn’t eat burgers and I shouldn’t drink cola… What a load of nonsense.”. He took out his vodka, offered me some showing no lo0k of astonishment at my decline, I smiled and we continued walking.

    He told a joke:

    “My Granddaughter, tiny little thing she is, she said to me “Grandpa will you buy me a rabbit?”. “Of course I will darling, when?” I said. “Now Grandpa, let’s go to the pet shop now.”. “Alright my lovely, let’s go now.” And off we went. We got the the pet shop and she told the owner she wanted a rabbit. He walked us over to the hutches and opened them up, she lo0ked so excited. The pet shop owner said “What colour do you want? Brown? Black? White?. Then my Granddaughter turns to me and says “Daddy says the Anaconda won’t care what colour it is.”.

    The man asked what my name was, and I told him. He told me there was a Swiss place called Marly which is keen on planets and astronomy. I asked his name and he held out his hand and said said “John Michael Barratt, Guvna’.”.

    We came to the end of the street and were to head separate ways. He to0k one last swig of his vodka and told me something which was both upsetting and ironic.

    “I’ve just been told I’ve got something. I’m an old man. I’m dying. Cancer my friend.”.
    He spat on his hand, sho0k mine once again and walked away.

  4. Damian Boddy’s avatar

    KIndness says that may pedantry should be kept under leash, but I can’t resist the lure of “illicit funny looks”. Sounds the sort of thing I used urged to take to the confessional, where it would elicit tutting noises!

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