Two weeks in a row without preaching, so I can’t post a sermon, but thought it would be a good idea to ponder a bit on the past four months. Has it really been that long? Actually, I can hardly remember life before ordination, now. I feel like a different person… in a good way!
I’m really happy with the way things are going. There are plenty of challenges and opportunities, and now I have a greater confidence that God is with me, equipping me to tackle more than I could have imagined when I started training three years ago.
Getting to know people in the parish has been amazing. I’m so grateful for the warm welcome people have shown to me since I started my curacy. And many have been so open, often sharing very deep issues. It is interesting to note the differences and similarities between my new parish and my sponsoring parish. I can appreciate different things about both parishes now.
One of my greatest challenges so far has been visiting people in their homes. Initially the summer holidays seemed to conspire against me; many people weren’t at home when I called and my timing seemed to be off. But now the parish schedule is picking up apace, so time is the main issue. There seems to be so much that sidetracks me from making pastoral visits to parishioners, and I often feel guilty about that. Sermons and service prep are two things I spend a lot of time on, along with continuing education sessions for curates, lots of various meetings, and study days. But I know that visiting people is very important, so that’s one area I hope to improve over the next four months!
Memorable experiences from the past four months:
*A weekend away with the youth group – a chance to play table tennis!
*Leading the informal service on the theme of ‘Community’
*Leading the Harvest parade service – the church was so beautifully decorated
*Taking my first funeral – most new curates have an understandable anxiety about the great privilege and responsibility that goes with this ministerial occasion
*Involvement in the music group – playing praise songs on my guitar with a group is something I love
*Seeing my ex-fellow-ordinands at IME sessions and sharing our experiences
*The amazingly harmonious PCC meetings! (I'm assured they've not always been that way)
*Speaking to the Ladies Fellowship about my life so far – that was a bit daunting
*Attending a conference for evangelical women clergy (Awesome)
and looking forward to:
*The parish ‘away day’ for Growth Action Planning, and all that comes out of that day
*Advent and Christmas for the first time with this new parish
*Getting involved with the local primary school, the sea cadets and the RNLI
*The Alpha course and the new toddler group, both starting in January
I suppose there is a lot more I could say on reflection, but many things are confidential in this line of work and so I have to keep it fairly general here. I'm just really thankful for this job, which isn't really a job. I pray for strength and endurance to go for the long run. And I pray for the people of my parish. May God bless us and keep us all.