‘Till we meet again, Cornwall

Shared Views Post #7/2021 Friday 12 February . . . Last year we were on our way to Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK. The Covid-19 pandemic meant we needed to return home earlier than planned, five weeks early. That’s a story in the April 2020 archives. This year, we’re missing our annual winter/spring sojourn there. It would have been the eleventh. Once it’s safe to travel again, we’ll see how it might work out to hop across the pond. In the meantime, we stay in touch via the various media and, occasionally, via Zoom, to join the worship service at St Anta & All Saints church in Carbis Bay.

We continue to entertain ourselves at home in Goshen, Indiana. Some days this past week we paused our walks during the cold snap now in progress. Still, we’ve made a couple of rounds on campus and two walks to the public library. Last Sunday, on a frightfully frigid day, we drove downtown for a late lunch at Maple Indian Cuisine. Besides a few people picking up carryout food, we were the only patrons there for a sit-down meal. It was good to be away, even for a short time, delighting in Indian cuisine that even filled our plates the next day.

To elaborate a bit on what draws us to Cornwall, I’ve copied parts of posts from some of our previous visits to Cornwall, England.

You come, you see, you’re captivated, you conquer

 ~ JOHN BENDER

Cornwall Cogitation#2, 21.2.2016–Put on your walking shoes and rain jacket and step out into the windy noon. Mind that sensation in your soles. They’re saying, “Mmm, Mmm, what a lovely tactile feeling of feet on the ground, a bracing pace, a proper rhythm, mindfulness, thanks for putting us to work, we’re off with alacrity.” Something like that. You head uphill toward the main street, stretching your limbs, inhaling saltiness, smiling.

It’s Saturday and you’re on your way to Birdies Bistro on the Hayle estuary on the far side of Lelant. Lunch at Birdies always pleases, so you don’t hesitate to order a Classic Kedgeree (haddock with apricot and coriander spiced basamatic rice topped with a poached egg). Only later do you find out that the dish has an Anglo-India connection, likely brought back from India by returning British colonials. It’s perfect; supper will be left-over leek and potato soup and old English cheddar cheese.

By adding a longer yet quieter way home along Church Lane, it’ll be a seven-mile walk today, stopping at the Costcutter for a newspaper. When the coast path dries out that will be our most captivating way home. But today  roadways and sidewalks (pavements) will do. You come, you see, you’re captivated, you conquer.

A change of pace

 ~ JOHN BENDER

Cornwall Cogitation #1 Saturday 4 February 2017 “Go Cornwall!” said a little voice in my ear. “Cornwall’s calling. Go.”

Soon we shall.

How to get there and settle in

(Note: In 2017, I failed to credit American poet Joseph Stroud for my adaptation of his narrative prose poem style and direct quotes from Directions, an account of travel to Yorkshire. I’ve marked direct quotes in italics, adding a few. Sincere apologies to Joseph Stroud).  

“Take a plane to London.” From Paddington Station take the Great Western Railway to St Erth. Transfer to the branch line for a 10-minute ride along the Atlantic Ocean to St Ives. Get off at the Carbis Bay stop. Walk four minutes uphill to the Compass Point Apartment complex and your rental flat. You’re home. Unpack. Stretch. Put the kettle on.

There’s a pub, The Badger, in Lelant, a mile and a half away. Walk there for dinner. If you’re lucky, Elvis, the Great Dane, will be in the bar to welcome you. There’ll be wood burning in the fireplace. The little voice whispers, “For a moment everything will be all right. You’re back at a beginning. . . . You’ll walk for hours. You’ll walk the freshness back into your life. This is true. You can do this.”

The voice in my ear continues: “Walk. Visit. Cook. Worship. Use your library card. Watch Doc Martin on ITV and Pointless on BBC. Entertain. Read newspapers. Go to Evensong at Truro Cathedral. Pray. Catch up with friends at St Anta & All Saints Church. Get acquainted with new people. Rejoin walks with the West Cornwall Footpaths Preservation Society. Write. Haunt bookstores. Buy daffodils. Take part in a study group or conference. Attend a play or concert. Welcome visitors. Visit the Penlee Art Gallery and Museum and other such fine places. Bite into Granary bread with soup. Have a pint. Reconnect with the butcher and green grocer. Eat fish. Heave ho! You’re home. Sleep well.”

A screenshot picture of stormy weather in Penzance, Cornwall on Friday [February 3, 2017]: Waves driven by Storm Doris crash across the promenade in Penzance. We often walk there, along the English Channel, on the way to Newlyn, Paul and Mousehole.

First (brilliant) days in Cornwall

 ~ JOHN BENDER 

Cogitation 8 Saturday 24 February 2018   It was a pleasant surprise to find our Christmas letter published in the New Contact magazine of St Anta and All Saints Church, Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK.

We wrote: “For seven winter/spring seasons we’ve hopped across the pond to Cornwall in south west England. The shrill call of footpaths and people there continue to draw us. Stay #8 is in place for 2018.”

We’ve been here for a week and a half now. During this time we’ve met people at the First Sunday of Lent worship services, on the weekly walk of the West Cornwall Preservation Society, over a couple of meals, and on Friday at a funeral. The Carbis Bay Beach, though, on Friday was nearly empty–weather windy and cold into next week, still so invigorating.

On Friday we took a turn on Carbis Bay Beach, the towans (sand hills) across the bay in the distance.

2021 note: I wonder how many of the G7 participants in their three-day June gathering will find the time to enjoy the not-so-hidden wonders of this splendid spot by the sea? Pity if they don’t.

Staying home in Indiana, 2021

Interestingly, in Goshen we have two miles to the library. In Elkhart we had one mile. In Carbis Bay we have two miles to the library in St Ives, with some steep grades to negotiate; gloriously, most of the way we can walk on the coastal path along the Atlantic.

February 10: We’re heading home from a walk to the library. A few homeowners faithfully clear their sidewalks; otherwise we take to the street. Thankfully there are some less busy streets that zig zag through the neighborhoods. The car at the intersection turned out to be a Goshen police officer checking for speeders on 15th Street, busy with “after work” traffic. We waved and carried on.

Greencroft, winter, 2021

Canada geese come and go, seemingly at home on snow-covered ground or on wing in gray skies.
This blanket of snow on one of the “green” natural areas on the Greencroft retirement community campus will melt into the buds, shoots, smells, sounds, and fleece lining-free shouts of spring.

Pastor Pondering 35

Here’s an excerpt from from a weekly email by Wanda Roth Amstutz, pastor of Cassel Mennonite Church, near Tavistock, Ontario–the church where my parents were charter members. She addresses the email to “Dear Cassel Friends,” this week reflecting on a pastors’ conversation via Zoom. The congregation, too, meets via Zoom.

“In the pastoral conversation yesterday [February 9] I was introduced to the idea of outcome hope versus mystical hope. In outcome hope we have hope in a particular outcome. For example, ‘We’ll be able to meet in person for Easter,’ or, ‘I’m sure by March we can travel again.’ We set these things up as things we need in order to be happy. then, when they don’t happen, we are disappointed and discouraged, angry and frustrated.

“Mystical hope is the belief in the presence of God in the moment–in the everyday. It’s the idea that the Kingdom of Heaven is not only something we anticipate in the future glory of all things, but can also be found in the ordinary joys and tasks of each day.

“Betty [The presenter] suggested that we will get strength for a second lap if we are able to lean less on the outcome hope and more on the mystical hope. We need to find ways to live on a day-to-day basis but still maintain a faith in the end of the story. To put it practically, we need to focus less on when the restrictions will be lifted (without losing hope that they will be someday) and focus more on the immediate day in front of us and what we need this day to live well.”

Thank you Pastor Wanda, I’ve added you to my gratitude journal.

Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The worship team at Prairie Street Mennonite Church, Elkhart, prepared an Ash Wednesday Kit for every household at the church to use during a worship gathering via Zoom.

The Ash Wednesday materials include a small container of ashes, a ceramic cross, a bulletin of biblical references and quotes from early Anabaptists, Michael Sattler, 1527, and Hans DeRies, 1658. The cover image of the card, “Jesus on the Cross,” is by Heather Smith Blaha, from The Fig Tree, by Ron Ringenberg–both members of the congregation. The card invites the viewer to pray with your eyes.

Wither church?

In our move to Goshen, now more than two years ago, we set out to find a home church in our adopted city. Our reception in the churches we visited was warm, welcoming, with some taking the extra mile in follow up. We’ve connected most frequently with College Mennonite Church, a mile from our home, but for the past year through a service broadcast on one of our TV channels along with a connection by Zoom with a Sunday school class.

Still, the in-person factor awaits resolution. The pandemic restrictions have opened the door right now making contact with multiple churches just a click away. For instance, last Sunday we joined via Zoom the worship service and fellowship time at St Anta & All Saints, the church of England congregation in Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK. Across the distance and the years, we feel, and have been made to feel, that we are a part of the congregation. Thankfully, St Anta meets at 11am, so joining them at 6am is not too much of a cross to bear.

The future of church in the time when we are reunited again in person, I believe, as Covid-19 may be teaching us, will depend on how we:

  1. Move beyond gathering just as we did in the past. For instance, we’ll have to figure out how to resume singing together and how to greet each other whether with handshake or hug.
  2. Safeguard and shore up how we connect with children via Sunday school and intergenerational activities.
  3. Act creatively and deliberately in welcoming the stranger–beyond just a greeting at the door.
  4. Time the start of the worship service and related activities beyond the typical 9:30 or 10am hour.
  5. Bolster online aspects of congregational life, including websites that are kept up-to-the minute.
  6. Strive for depth, connection, growth, engagement, challenge, reconciliation, peace, fresh ways of connecting with God among the people of God and among those who reject God, in and beyond the confines of building and doctrine.
  7. Expand on these points by considering our past year and the present as a time of transition, not a time of standing still, but even in an exile of sorts, that this is a time to find new ways to think, to be really welcoming, to better define what belonging means, to in worship and fellowship deepen our knowledge of God and each other, to be involved in local ministries, and to serve the well-being of God’s world in and beyond ourselves.

Not so bleak winter (for snowmobilers)

So much for this week. May you have all you need, maybe not all you want, to live well. Peace!

-John

6 thoughts on “‘Till we meet again, Cornwall

  1. Enjoyed the return visit to Cornwall, along with the snowy scenes from Elkhart County (I’m happy to view them from afar). It’s wonderful that you can worship with more than one congregation, a pleasure we’ve enjoyed during Covid-time as well. Yes, we do wonder what changes await as we move into life beyond the pandemic (we hope!).

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    1. Thanks, Marlene. I’ve dipped into some of my journals from the past decade and find them awash with good recollections. Goodness in the new ahead. Best!

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  2. Loved your comments — and re-postings — about Cornwall. It brought back great memories of our time together there two years ago this spring.

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    1. Cornwall will be back on our travel, I’m sure, Steve. How about another swing through the fields, heather, gorse, and costal path? Dreams now, reality ahead. Boots ready!

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  3. Glad you got out to Maple Indian Cuisine! We would like that place too. Right now we’re chilling on a Florida beach with 80° temperatures. Very different from Goshen, Indiana!

    Monty

    May the God of Wonder be with you, delighting you with the beauty of sunrise and the majesty of sunset, with the song of the bird and the fragrance of the flower.

    >

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    1. Oh yes, Monty. While Florida swelters, Goshen freezes. This, too, shall pass. In the meantime, enjoy your time to the hilt. Best!

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