Captain Oates goes to church

At this time of year, I often make a point of going to churches where for one reason or another there isn’t a Rector. So I headed for Lochgelly this morning – a round trip of about 75 miles in the snow. It’s old mining country in Fife – a place that, like the Welsh valleys, is still trying to find a new future.

As I travelled, I listened to sage, sensible and prudent advice – to travel in such conditions was like going up a mountain in tee shirt and shorts. But this was not recreation and I had taken precautions – left the Passat at home because, to be honest, its heater doesn’t work well. I had my alb, hat and stick, the Sally Magnusson snow scoop [purchased to dig myself out of a snowdrift in Dunblane after being interviewed by Sally – well actually I was in the snowdrift and she was in a warm studio in Glasgow], my wellies, coffee, water, biscuits, blanket, laptop more for recharging the phone than for doing my e mail.

There were six of us. And I was glad I had gone. I think that the church at its absolute best is found with small groups of people to whom it would not occur to do other than sustain it against all the odds. Harry read and served; another Harry played the new organ; Edith prayed and I was glad to be with them.

Then they headed for the hot toast and I took my Captain Oates departure. It did indeed take me some time.