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Church matters.

Byline: By Francis Wood

Called to serve

"Do you think I have a vocation?" asked the taxi driver as I clambered aboard his cab. "A vocation to what?" I returned. "Well, I went to the funeral of my old school teacher the other day. The vicar said that he had `followed his vocation' to the end. Is it only vicars, teachers, nurses and singers who have a vocation? Could a taxi driver have one?" Now I understood.

Perhaps it seemed strange to him that God could call someone to a life spent driving people round the town. But why not? Think of the qualities you need to do the job. Patience, a clear head, sense of responsibility and sometimes even bravery. The first question you ask when deciding if a job is vocational or not is "can I offer this work to God?" After all you could hardly expect God to call someone to a life of crime. So with the help of St Christopher, perhaps driving a cab could be vocational.

I once worked in a laboratory where, every 24 hours, there would be 100s of test-tubes, bottles and beakers waiting to be washed. At nine o'clock each morning, Mrs Pengelly arrived. She worked at the sink until three o'clock with soap, brushes and cloths to produce sparkling glass ware.

I once asked her if she felt that she was called by God to this work. Her reply was: "I have a vocation to be a good wife and mother to those at home. The hours in the laboratory suit me and the pay helps me to do that. Yes, I see washing-up as a vocation."

So I felt that I could encourage my taxi friend in his quest for a vocation. It all reminded me of the definition of the office of chaplain in the Royal Navy. In Queen's Regulations, his job description is "friend and adviser of all on board ship". The best kind of taximan could be just like that.

CHARITY BEGINS

On Wednesday next, St Hugh's Church, Gosforth (next to Wansbeck Road Metro), will be open from 10am to 2pm for prayer, reflection and lighting candles in support of the victims of the tsunami disaster.

Also on Wednesday, there is to be an ecumenical service of remembrance of victims at St Paul's RC, Alnwick, at 7pm. Prayers will be offered by the Duke of Northumberland and church leaders.

On Friday, January 28, Blyth Central Methodist Church is to serve a lunch of soup, bun, sweet and tea from noon. Tickets pounds 2.50 Proceeds go to the tsunami appeal.

OPEN SESAME

St Bartholomew's Benton will present Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves next Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm. I once saw a similar show with a company who could only raise eight actors to play the thieves and one had a pronounced limp. They trooped across the stage and into the cave five times to make up the numbers. On the first night when the first 32 had passed, a member of the audience called out "Go it Hoppy, last lap!"

DIARY DATES

SUNDAY: Durham Cathedral.

Epiphany Procession and Carols. 3.30pm

MONDAY: Durham Cathedral

Music and Prayer in the Taize Style. 7.30pm

TUESDAY: Brunswick Methodist Church.

United Service with Marjorie Wood. 1.10pm

WEDNESDAY: Ridley Park Hotel, Blyth.

Christian Coffee Morning with Ian Longfield. 10am

Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle.

Traditional Anglican Communion. 11am

THURSDAY: St Bartholomew's Benton.

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves 7.30pm

FRIDAY: Whitburn Parish Church.

Burns Night Supper and Dance. 7.30pm

NEXT SATURDAY: Holy Cross Fenham. Candlemas Party. 4pm

Durham Cathedral.

Durham Choral Society Concert. 7.30pm

Christ Church, North Shields. Barn Dance, 7.30pm

NPlease send items for CHURCH MATTERS to Francis Wood, 52 Albemarle Avenue, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 3NQ or telephone 0191 284 5338.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2005
Words:641
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