Its been a mad few weeks in the new job – the first month has flown by, with new people to get to know and much to process. Getting used to being in a team again is proving tricky, i’m simply out of the habit of having colleagues to talk to, to lean on or rely on on a regular basis. After seven years of solo artistry its a bit wierd, but hugely liberating and supportive.
I’ve been struck by the size of the church machine here, and have commented several times in those groups where the comment is made “but we’re only a small diocese….” Seeing ourselves as small whether as a diocese or a congregation can be disempowering and limiting. It makes the discussions automatically about what we cannot do, not what we can do. What we can acheive may vary from situation to situation, from area to area, but the size thing is relative, and completely unhelpful. Just to give a little perspective – the Diocese I am now in is comparable to the size of the Scottish Province, in terms of clergy numbers and resourcing, and Ipswich Deanery not much smaller than Glasgow Diocese.
For the team and for St Francis, there has been a fair bit of sadness in the last couple of weeks – a significant death within the congregation. P was a member for over 30 years, and lay reader since the earliest days of the Team. I had the opportunity to meet him a couple of times, and I can honestly say he was the nicest possible bloke. Love of God simply oozed from his being, and his thoughtfulness for others displayed a humble heart and caused that same humility in others. I visited in the hospital, and we chatted, laughed and prayed, after which he spent 5 minutes praying for the beardy one and I, that we would settle in and be happy and blessed here. He fair brought tears to my eyes, and will be missed greatly by colleagues and congregation alike.
Schools, hospital, hospice, home visits, induction days, a funeral or 2, wedding planning, social nights in the vicarage, deciphering Church of England liturgy, language and links with the state law – feet havent touched the ground much, apart from a day or so suffering an irritating (and hugely painful) kidneystone. Stubborn me wouldnt slow down too much, to the consternation of the rest of the team, but I am learning. Family crises this weekend have caused me to simply stop for a while, “clear your diary, take a couple of days, have fun, explore, wind down” came the order from the Rural Dean (who happens to be Team Rector here , AKA the boss), followed by a list of places to visit, pubs for a decent lunch and directions to the chippy in Aldeburgh. We couldnt explore today as we were waiting for a delivery, so instead chilled in front of the box watching a rather dire movie with Alan (I fell asleep, it was that bad), Tomorrow I’m off in search of the beach!