By Martin Gibson: Contact: mrtngibs@aol.com

Services, Sunday 25th July: 9:30am Holy Communion with Rev Ann Lloyd; 6pm Evening Prayer – Paul Harrod or Janet McBride

BIG NEWS – we can SING again!!! So on Sunday Dr David Shaw will lead the choir at the morning service.

Last Friday 23 juniors from Year 5 of Olveston Primary school came to St Mary’s. They came to see the new stone pinnacle residing there and listen to a talk by the stonemason, Mark Hancock. There was so much information and so many intelligent questions answered that the event lasted 1 and a quarter hours. Thanks to the school and Mark.

The Ark Bus which visited Olveston last Saturday wasn’t quite what was expected. There were visions of a bright red double decker bus full of play toys. In fact it was more or less a large van with 2 very active helpers who laid out various crafts and games with an environmental message. The sun shone brightly and quite a crowd turned up. Thanks to everyone, Methodist & C of E (Maggie, Sue & Sandy in particular) who made it such an enjoyable day.

Last week I talked about the different style of worship one would find in St Nicholas in Bristol City centre. On Saturday, with the Ark Bus in Dawes yard and many people – predominantly young mums and their children – turning up to enjoy the various arts and crafts served with a lightly applied dash of Christianity, made me realise this was yet another way of worshipping. And even after an hour and a half everyone was still interested and actively participating.

My point is; there are many different types of worship. The older generation likes to attend a traditional church building; those in their twenties enjoy a semi-evangelical service; and young children are excited about meeting their peers anywhere, so long as it isn’t a church building.

When I recently asked a Mum in her 40s why we couldn’t get children in the parish she replied “There isn’t a sufficient critical mass of parents willing to get it started.” She might just as well have added, we would need a meeting room and gather on a Friday evening. I get it.

So let’s stop trying to bring children into St Mary’s on a Sunday morning. It’s never going to work. What we need to do is find the willing parents – at least a dozen and there would need to be over 12 children too – find them a place to meet and help them to gently pass on our Christian values.

Having said that, of course, the Paul & Natasha Harrod led REFRESH group, fulfilled most of those requirements above – and even used St Mary’s itself. REFRESH is going to start again shortly

Whilst on the subject of St Mary’s, the building belongs to the PCC (as did the vicarage, but that’s another story). Our Parish Share is a voluntary gift to the Diocese. The PCC could ring-fence the church building and, if it chose, use the money it receives from the likes of you and me to pay our Vicar a salary, his housing costs and expenses. And we’d still be quids in. I’m not sure which one of us would be ex communicated first.

And finally:

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, “How do you determine whether or not an older person should be put in an old age home?”

“Well,” he said, “we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the person to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket Because it is bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No” he said. “A normal person would pull the plug.”

Last in the series: from my postbag:

Dear Bishop – Have you a twin brother by any chance, I was sure I saw you in town the other day. I believe it must have been last Tuesday, because that was the day the Bank was robbed?