Kate's Story

Many of us will have days that are special, that we remember for personal reasons.  Two of those for me are Ascension Eve and Ascension Day.  In the mid1960s I was worshiping at the ‘new’ church, built in 1190, in my home town in Kent, and felt ready to be confirmed.  We were fortunate to have a vicar who was a good teacher and as well as taking us through the 39 Articles of Religion he talked to us about the building we were in, with its chest from the Spanish Armada and one of just two church ossuaries (collections of human bones) in England.  Our confirmation date was 18 May 1966, Ascension Eve, so we could attend Holy Communion for the first time early on Ascension Day.

The girls had to wear white dresses. White for purity and we were happy with that, it helped us focus on the importance of what we were doing.  Length was another matter; mini-skirts had recently come into fashion!  Nowadays I know of Jesus’ garments becoming as white as light during the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2) and the two men dressed in white immediately after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:10) but back in the 60’s I don’t think I was aware of ‘white’ in either reading.

But what I still remember with absolute clarity was the moment in the Confirmation service when the Bishop placed his hand on my head.  Jesus promised the disciples that in a few days they would be baptised with the Holy Spirit; for me, that happened at the time of my confirmation. I truly felt God’s presence; not as a rushing wind but definitely as something powerful. Then my first holy communion the morning of Ascension Day and being given a warm welcome rather than a telling off when I arrived late at school.

After that my life took various twists and turns, always with a definite faith but in and out of regular worship in the decade after I went to university, then a church ‘home’ again when we moved to Frenchay in 1977, with both our children then brought up in the church.  It was to be another forty years from the time of my confirmation until I made my next promises in front of a bishop.  It is not for us to know the times or dates that God sets (see Acts 1:7).

Back at Ascensiontide in 1966 I was taken by surprise by the strong feeling of God’s presence.  Another sudden ‘surprise’ was in summer 2004, a Sunday morning when I went into church thinking about leaving altogether but came out of the service knowing with absolute certainty that I should join the course ‘Equipping God’s People’ starting that autumn – and leading, though I didn’t then know it, to lay ministry.  By the time I was licensed by the Bishop in Bristol Cathedral in 2006, God’s presence in my life was a certainty not a surprise. 

When Jesus ascended into heaven, 40 days after Easter, his disciples and family had to wait, probably unsure of what was to come.  They returned to Jerusalem and stayed together in prayer, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit.  This Ascension Day we, too, are unsure about what is to come but we can pray and trust in our Lord.

I don’t often refer to the book of Lamentations but now might be a time to refer to Lamentations 3:25, 26.  ‘‘The Lord is good to those whose help is in him, to the ones who seek him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’’  It is forty days since Easter, ten till Pentecost.  A good time to think about times we have waited for God, promises made, key times when we have been particularly aware of his presence.  Also about gifts given in Christian love.  At our zoom service on Sunday I plan to wear the cross given to me by my Godmother that Ascension time when I was confirmed. 

Kate Davison, Lay Minister, Ascension 2020

 

 

 

 

 

Many of us will have days that are special, that we remember for personal reasons.  Two of those for me are Ascension Eve and Ascension Day.  In the mid1960s I was worshiping at the ‘new’ church, built in 1190, in my home town in Kent, and felt ready to be confirmed.  We were fortunate to have a vicar who was a good teacher and as well as taking us through the 39 Articles of Religion he talked to us about the building we were in, with its chest from the Spanish Armada and one of just two church ossuaries (collections of human bones) in England.  Our confirmation date was 18 May 1966, Ascension Eve, so we could attend Holy Communion for the first time early on Ascension Day.

The girls had to wear white dresses. White for purity and we were happy with that, it helped us focus on the importance of what we were doing.  Length was another matter; mini-skirts had recently come into fashion!  Nowadays I know of Jesus’ garments becoming as white as light during the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2) and the two men dressed in white immediately after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1:10) but back in the 60’s I don’t think I was aware of ‘white’ in either reading.

But what I still remember with absolute clarity was the moment in the Confirmation service when the Bishop placed his hand on my head.  Jesus promised the disciples that in a few days they would be baptised with the Holy Spirit; for me, that happened at the time of my confirmation. I truly felt God’s presence; not as a rushing wind but definitely as something powerful. Then my first holy communion the morning of Ascension Day and being given a warm welcome rather than a telling off when I arrived late at school.

After that my life took various twists and turns, always with a definite faith but in and out of regular worship in the decade after I went to university, then a church ‘home’ again when we moved to Frenchay in 1977, with both our children then brought up in the church.  It was to be another forty years from the time of my confirmation until I made my next promises in front of a bishop.  It is not for us to know the times or dates that God sets (see Acts 1:7).

Back at Ascensiontide in 1966 I was taken by surprise by the strong feeling of God’s presence.  Another sudden ‘surprise’ was in summer 2004, a Sunday morning when I went into church thinking about leaving altogether but came out of the service knowing with absolute certainty that I should join the course ‘Equipping God’s People’ starting that autumn – and leading, though I didn’t then know it, to lay ministry.  By the time I was licensed by the Bishop in Bristol Cathedral in 2006, God’s presence in my life was a certainty not a surprise. 

When Jesus ascended into heaven, 40 days after Easter, his disciples and family had to wait, probably unsure of what was to come.  They returned to Jerusalem and stayed together in prayer, awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit.  This Ascension Day we, too, are unsure about what is to come but we can pray and trust in our Lord.

I don’t often refer to the book of Lamentations but now might be a time to refer to Lamentations 3:25, 26.  ‘‘The Lord is good to those whose help is in him, to the ones who seek him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.’’  It is forty days since Easter, ten till Pentecost.  A good time to think about times we have waited for God, promises made, key times when we have been particularly aware of his presence.  Also about gifts given in Christian love.  At our zoom service on Sunday I plan to wear the cross given to me by my Godmother that Ascension time when I was confirmed. 

Kate Davison, Lay Minister, Ascension 2020