Why Mary and Martha?

Sun 24 July 2016

Carl writes ...

As we approach the Feast of Mary, Martha and Lazarus on Friday 29th July, I’m taken back to our beginnings. In those days the Feast of Mary, Martha and Lazarus wasn’t part of the (Anglican) church calendar. When it became apparent to me that it was possible to begin to consider taking on the work of caring for clergy on a full-time basis, we had to think of a name. In those days, in my simplicity, I thought if we all got our work/rest patterns in order, all would be well. I now know differently. However, Mary and Martha seem to speak of work/rest balance – indeed, their pattern has been used monastically for centuries.

In the very early 1980s I had a very keen interest in modern-day monasticism of which there was very little. So the Society of Mary and Martha came into being with a religious order flavour. It very soon became apparent that I needed to make some changes to the title when I started receiving letters addressed to the “Mother Superior”! 

Our early Sheldon emblem (pre Mary and Martha) was a dove symbolising the Holy Spirit. This soon became the ‘fat pigeon’ due to the irreligious people I mixed with but still lives on as the name of the Sheldon bar! Likewise, the two ladies kneeling each side of the cross (the Mary and Martha logo) became the ‘two fat ladies’! We now major on the new Sheldon emblem as being a more modern means of communication but we retain our link with Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Lazarus was brought clearly into focus for us when we dedicated the upstairs chapel.

So do please pray for us on our Feast Day as we celebrate and give thanks for the ministry of so many clergy with whom we meet.

Sheldon welcome sign
The 'two fat ladies' sign
Welcome to Sheldon sign
The 'fat pigeon' sign

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Peter Cornish - Jul 29, 2016

Following on the French model, where you get cards on the 'fete' of your patron saint, greetings and every blessing for y'all.

On Wed & Thurs this week I was at a pre-retirement conference put on by the diocese (actually very useful & encouraging), but it was the first diocesan gathering I'd been to where clergy (and their spouses) felt able to admit - albeit only in private conversations - that they were feeling totally knackered. We all know the story well, but the overwhelming majority of us are Marthas, not Marys. Part of me wonders how much Lazarus adjusted his priorities after John 11.....

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