30 July 2022

Music and art in Milton Keynes
hospital that says thanks to
all who give the ‘gift of life’

Branches of an apple tree bursting with springtime blossoms … art in the outpatients reception area in Milton Keynes University Hospital (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Patrick Comerford

I was back in Milton Keynes University Hospital this afternoon (30 July 2022) for a minor procedure in the Dermatology Outpatient clinic. My appointment was at a nurse-led clinic, and was a follow-up to an earlier consultation about two weeks ago (14 July).

Today’s procedure involved cryotherapy or treatment using low temperature and removing skin lesions by freezing them with liquid nitrogen. These superficial, non-cancerous lesions appear on the bare skin on the top of my bald head and may have been caused sun exposure creating sun-damage to my skin.

I have received similar treatment in the past in hospitals in Dublin for lesions like these on the side of my head and the right side of my nose.

This afternoon’s procedure involved a routine out-patient consultation without any special preparation, and everything was completed in the short space of 15 minutes.

Later, during coffee, I noticed a piano in the reception area, surrounded by artwork the Hospital Art Studio depicting the branches of an apple tree, advocating the ‘Gift of Life.’

The wording above the piano explains: ‘This artwork is dedicated to all our local organ tissue donors and to their families.’

It goes on to say, ‘Trees have been used throughout time to symbolise immortality and regeneration. The branches of this apple tree are bursting with springtime blossoms. Over time, the individual names of organ and tissue donors can be added to each flower … In their final hours they gave a lifetime.’

The wording, on behalf of Milton Keynes University Hospital Organ Donation Committee recommends: ‘Record your donation decision on the NHS organ donor register and share this decision with your family and friends.

‘Organ donation is an act of great kindness that can save and improve the lives of many people.’

It seems I have become very familiar with Milton Keynes University Hospital since I was admitted with a stroke on 18 March. I am grateful for the attention and care I have received from the NHS over four or five months, and for the loving attention and kindness that has improved my life in these past 19 weeks.

‘The Gift of Life’ … art and music in the outpatients reception area in Milton Keynes University Hospital (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2022)

Praying with the World Church in
Ordinary Time: Saturday, 30 July 2022

William Wilberforce (1759-1833) lived to see the complete abolition of slavery just days before his death

Patrick Comerford

The annual conference of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) took place in the High Leigh Conference Centre at Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire this week. The conference theme was ‘Living Stones, Living Hope.’

Today, the Church of England calendar in Common Worship remembers William Wilberforce (1833), Olaudah Equinao (1797) and Thomas Clarkson (1846), Anti-Slavery Campaigners , with a lesser festival. Later today, I have an appointment in Milton Keynes University Hospital. But, before today becomes a bust day, I am continuing my prayer diary this morning in this way:

1,Reading the Gospel reading of the morning;

2,a short reflections on the reading;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’

The Gospel reading provided in Exciting Holiness for the Eucharist as we recall these anti-slavery campaigners with a lesser festival this morning is:

Luke 4: 16-21 (NRSVA):

16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:

18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’

Today’s reflection:

One of the workshops I attended at the USPG conference in High Leigh this week – Decolonising Mission: Legacies and education – involved a major discussion on the legacy of slavery.

William Wilberforce (1759-1833) was born in 1759 in Hull. He converted to an Evangelical piety within the Church of England, and decided to serve the faith in Parliament instead of being ordained. He was elected a Member of Parliament at the age of 21.

He was a supporter of missionary initiatives and helped found the Bible Society. Settling in Clapham in London, he became a leader of the reforming group of Evangelicals known as the ‘Clapham Sect.’

Of all the causes for which he fought, he is remembered best for his crusade against slavery. After years of effort, the trade in slaves was made illegal in the British Empire in 1807 and Wilberforce lived to see the complete abolition of slavery, just before his death on this day in 1833.

The anti-slavery campaigners Olaudah Equinao (1797) and Thomas Clarkson (1846) are also recalled today

The Collect:

God our deliverer,
who sent your Son Jesus Christ
to set your people free from the slavery of sin:
grant that, as your servant William Wilberforce
toiled against the sin of slavery,
so we may bring compassion to all
and work for the freedom of all the children of God;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in the prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) this week is ‘The Way Towards Healing,’ looking at the work for peace of the Churches in Korea. This theme was introduced on Sunday by Shin Seung-min, National Council of Churches in Korea.

Saturday 30 July 2022:

The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:

Let us celebrate friendship. May we build connections with those in our local communities and in our communities of faith around the world.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org