its been a mad week or so, Alan being trusted to unpack the house while i dashed off to the clergy conference – a welcome escape from boxes, and a great opportunity to meet people (the Cof E is HUGE! People keep telling me I’m in a small diocese, but i dont think I’ve ever seen so many clergy gathered… ). The content was largely fantastic – challenging, inspiring, entertaining. Ann Morisy, Mona Siddiqui and Keith Ward especially (podcasts are available) – each offering their perspectives on where God is speaking in the world today – from the challenges of mission in a largely unchurched culture and meeting people on the edge of difficult times, seeing God in the challenges and choices, through the understanding of another culture and interfaith dialogue, to the wonders of science. Each had energy and enthusiasm in bucketloads, and the coffeetime buzz was excellent.
The only dissappointment was the section on faith and film – Richard Coles seemed to miss the brief (or the subtleties of the timeslot – post lunch, day 2), and it was a dark, heavy session. Lots of conflict, masculine imagery and violence. I’m not normally one to shy away from such imagery in movies, and i love a good heavy action flick, but it didnt seem appropriate or necessary in that timeslot or context. Shame really, it could have been so much better.
Family arrived at the weekend, ready for last night’s licensing. Fantastic service, Bishop Clive’s sermon was spot on, and the strangeness of some aspects was completely masked by the huge welcome both Alan and I recieved – not just the official welcomes of the dignitaries invited, but the smiles, the hugs from people we will slowly get to know as this place begins to feel more and more like home. Anne Tomlinson, who was one of those who trekked from Glasgow reflects on it here, exploring the symbolism of the service and its difference to a licensing or an installation in the Scottish Episcopal Church. A few others from Glasgow made it down for the service, and old friends from far and wide were present. There were people present from every major stage of my life since i was 19 – bizarre seeing them all in the one place, but in a very good way.
It was a great night, although a wee bit warm (we’re not used to the southern temperatures and climate!) but this morning back down to earth – team meetings, getting my head round the liturgies, arranging to spend time with a couple about to be married – the normal stuff of ministry to get on with. This is where the fun really begins, and it is good to be finally here.