Monday, 20 December 2010

Essays :(

One aspect of college life I'm not enjoying is writing essays. I have just about finished the first one of 6000 words and have made a tentative start on the second- part of a portfolio which is slightly more complicated. I went down with a bug as I reached the end of the first one and so have had a break since last Wednesday. Since then the snow has come and so though now fully recovered I'd far rather be out tramping in the snow. That said I am determined to get on with them and have them both finished by the 11th January. As there is Christmas and a trip north to fit in I should of course be working now!
Also been enjoying college community life in the holidays. On Saturday evening one of my fellow students invited us round for mulled wine and nibbles and we had a lovely time. We've also watched the families toboggan down the field in front of our flat- much warmer watching from the window.
Yesterday we spent at my placement church- morning service which was attended by less than a third of the normal congregation then we went into Wallingford for a coffee and wander before returning for the Carol service. the church was pretty full which I was pleased about though it did make me wonder if most people stayed away in the morning not because of snow but because they only wanted to go to church once on a Sunday!!!! Carol service was very traditional and lovely for it, but still gave me food for thought as to how I would change things to make it more user friendly and move more smoothly. One of the draw backs of training is that I seem to constantly be thinking now how would I do that rather than fully engaging in worship. I hope I soon get beyond that!!

Monday, 13 December 2010


Well college finished for the Christmas break on Friday. Its ages since I posted- life just seems to get busier and busier.
Since I last post we have had creative worship twice. The first of those gave me much food for thought ( or theological reflection if I'm in student mode) At breakfast we were told that the worship would begin then so to look under the tables where 10 envelopes were stuck. I happened to find one and had to wear a purple writ band for the rest of the day. Wearing this the purple band brought a number of privileges such as chocolates in lectures, a top table to sit at for dinner, special places to sit near the common room fire and cake a tea time. We all knew that this was leading to a downfall! At evening prayer we were led to church and asked to sit in the porch . As the rest of college came they were invited into the warm church ( it was below freezing outside) given a chocolate and the service started. After the first hymn the rest of us were invited inside but told to sit at the back. My reflections on the whole experience centred on how hard I found the special attention and how much easier being the ignored was. It was so much harder to receive and so much easier when I could go back to giving!
Other events at college have included a trip to Sound of Music which was wonderful ( and we gave a rendition of Do-reh me at the breakfast table next day). We also had an end of term Bright Hour ( review) which was hilarious and made me so glad to be part of this community. I looked across the audience on Thursday evening and realised I knew everyone there after just 11 weeks. College life, study and worship remain a joy.
Then this weekend we have been back to Derbyshire where we met with other ordinands from the diocese and prospective ordinands for a day with the Bishops. During the day I was asked about my thoughts on curacy! Yikes I've only just started here but already we are discussing June 2012.
Derbyshire was also wonderful fun as we were able to meet up with a number of friends and family - good fun, laughter and sharing of stories.
Now I'm back at college and should be writing an essay so bye bye.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Silence again

Today our group was responsible for organising the Creative Eucharist. We decided on a silent Eucharist which was something new to me but I loved being involved in the planning and then stewarding. The service consisted mainly of actions and movement to reflect the confession absolution, Gospel and intercessions. We then had the Eucharistic prayer before passing the bread and wine as we stood in circles round the altar. The whole service was very moving and we've had a lot of comments about the service.
I found myself remembering back to a home group planning for Ash Wednesday about 5 years ago when I listened amazed as various people came up with creative ideas on how to do intercessions etc. At the time I never thought I'd be able to be creative with worship but over the last 5 years God has taught me through many people I've come into contact with and so here I was helping to plan such an event. God is so good and gently teaches and guides us in ways He wants. His Holy Spirit inspires and creates through us.
Now its time to go and write short intercessions for tomorrows Eucharist.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Last night was the first of the college Guest Nights. One of the college groups and guests are invited to a black tie dinner and the rest of the college serve them. The college dining room is transformed into a splendid dining room with candle light, white linen, and flowers. The catering staff out do themselves with the quality of food, last nights was duck pate, vension steaks and chocolate torte, each guest brings their own wine but the meal ends with cheese biscuits and port.
I was on the table service duty and I loved it. there was soemthing special about serving other students and their guests and such a camaderie amongts all of us serving.
We got to eat after the meal was over and had the same gorgeous food at 11pm! The vie prinicple and his wife came from the main party to chat to us and the atmosphere was so much fun.
I'm not sure that this is what Jesus was talking about when He called us to serve one another but I certainly found it not just fun but inspiring.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Light and dark

One of the joys of living out in a village is the lack of street lights. However this makes walking to church each evening interesting! So a torch now resides in my pocket and I use it to light my way. This has brought home to me the verses from Psalm 119 as it no good me just pointing the torch ahead of me- instead I need to point it down to just beyond my feet so I can see where I am walking. In the same way the word of god guides where we are to walk.
On a similar theme this evenings service was creative worship was a blessing of the lights. It was a lovely service, starting in a darkened church which was gradually lit from candle to candle down the through the church. The service ended with us walking out singing the Taize chant Bless the Lord O my soul and a gathering together at the church gate for the final prayers. The whole experience was inspiring and uplifting. That was followed by dinner and a lecture from the Arch bishop of Hong Kong, another great opportunity. Can you tell I'm loving this life!?

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Feeling connected

At last after 8 weeks without we have had a landline connected to the flat and now also have broadband. It's amazing how disconnected I felt without it and having to rely on a mobile in an area with poor reception and trips to the college library to check my emails etc. Now i have instant access again and must be disciplined in my use of the Internet- particularly blogging and reading blogs etc. Essays are now demanding my attention and I'm relieved to find I'm not the only one struggling to get to grips with them.
Off now to have another look at the titles!!

Monday, 8 November 2010


Today has been one of those days when I wonder why God chose me! I sat in various seminars and lectures and heard others comments and questions and felt so inadequate. To add to that we were given some more information about the MA and the first essay/portfolio which we are to do on Theological Reflection. I'm doing the MA because I already have a degree in Religious and Moral Studies and have also completed and Certificate in Theology and Vocation 3 years ago. So I thought the MA was the obvious next thing. Now I'm really struggling to get to grips with what is expected. I felt so inadequate today.
But God is so good.
I went along to evening prayer which was the first creative evening prayer of the term and we had a time of silence with various prayer stations to go to. One I went to had a number of mirrors and Psalm 139. As I prayed the psalm in front of a mirror I became aware of God reassuring me that He knew me, knew my failings and still He called me to follow him and serve Him. I returned to my place and prayed over and over- Spirit of the Living God fall afresh on me. As I did I saw a waterfall and felt God telling me that the Spirit of God was there I just needed to move and position myself- not behind it looking through the spirit to the world beyond, not in the world being splashed occasionally but fully under the water of the Spririt and receive a full annointing and blessing of all He has for me.
As I said god is so good.

Thursday, 4 November 2010


Back from a lovely few days visiting family and placement church. College began again on Monday and it's reading week until tomorrow- except that we still have Oxford lectures and community placement and then yesterday was Quiet day. Its strange doing a Quiet day in college- though everyone else was involved K was at home in the flat and it didn't feel right not talking to him for 24 hours so I ended my Quiet at 7pm. The day itself was very helpful. The speaker- a Christian Iranian spoke very movingly and gave much food for reflection. I then took myself off in the morning away from college to be alone with God. In the afternoon I used the time to write up my journal and to reflect on the first 5 weeks of term.
I am loving college and settled into community life very quickly. I'm aware K doesn't find it as easy but keep praying that he will find his own niche here.
Continuing on the theme of silence my group have to plan a creative eucharist for later in the month so we are busy planning a silent one. Its coming together well and I'm enjoying the opportunity to be involved in a creative way in worship. Now its time to go and actually use the time for which it is intended- reading!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Made it

Well at least to the end of the first half term. Tomorrow sees the start of half term- starting at 4pm and ending at 4pm on Monday so just Friday and Monday off lectures.
I had a meeting with my Personal Tutor yesterday who is lovely and very encouraging. She told how me how well she thought I'd settled in to college life- which I do think I have managed but I can't say I've found it hard. Perhaps because I had left my 'home church' behind 2 years ago and the churches I worshipped at in Devon never had that feel, and perhaps because this is all I've wanted for so long I've found myself rejoicing in every aspect of college life. That's not to say my husband has found adapting easy and that does make it harder for me.There is the constant guilt that I've done this to him. However we married knowing this was where we were heading and he has been incredibly supportive throughout. I can only pray that during these 2 years he will find his own place and further his own sense of vocation to all God has for him.
Off on Friday to visit my son on the south coast and then up to the Midlands on Saturday to visit K's family. It will be good to see family again and feel part of the normal world.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

New experiences

Life at college is of course full of new experiences but this week has been especially so. In college we are placed in one of five groups and each group takes it in turn to take responsibility for one aspect of community life. This week my group has been on Worship and so we have divided the responsibilities for the services between us. I have led Morning prayer, read at Evening prayer, carried the offertory at the Monday Eucharist and am down to lead compline tomorrow evening. Then today Assistant 2 at the Eucharist had to step down due to illness and so I offered to replace her. I found it a wonderful, moving, exhilarating thought provoking, privilege and I'm so grateful to God for the opportunity. It is a wonderful opportunity to begin to learn the tasks involved for the deacon at the Eucharist and so prepare for future ministry. It is one more activity that has sealed how right all this feels. I just love every opportunity to serve God in helping his people to worship Him.
Tomorrow is my hospital placement which I started last week. Again its a great time to learn what ministry is really about. This Sunday I shall visit my Sunday placement church for the first time and meet the Vicar- one more step along the road I go!
God is so faithful and good.

Sunday, 17 October 2010


Having lived in Scotland, Derbyshire and Devon you would think I would be used to the wonders of God's creation and spectacular scenery. Moving here to Cuddesdon I've been overwhelmed again by the beauty of what God has created. Those who have read my early blogs may remember the heartache of deciding about the flat offered by the college. Well one of the joys having accepted it is that we have the most spectacular views, enhanced most evenings by glorious sunsets. We live on the 4th floor and so look down on many birds, and have red kites soaring past the window. We see cows in the fields and frost on the grass. Then today we went for a walk along the lanes to the next village a return journey of about 4 miles. We were blessed again with sight of the kite, and pheasant, rooks, a heron and in one clump of trees many chaffinch, blue tits and other small birds. I find my self constantly returning to a favourite hymn- How great though art and singing it with tears in my eyes as I think on how wonderful our God is and how magnificent is His creation.
I'm also loving living as part of a larger community of god's people but this week realised one of the downsides- once a cold enters the doors it spreads like wild fire. I went down with it on Thursday- struggled through the day in order to attend my first placement lecture and then succumbed on Friday and took to my bed for the day. By today the worst is over and I hope to be fully fit by 7.30am when I have the privilege of leading Morning Prayer.
More about placements some time soon.

Thursday, 7 October 2010


One of the lovely things about being at Theological college is the worship- 3-4 times a day every day but Saturday. The worship is of many different forms- so today I will have been to Morning prayer, a said Eucharist, evening prayer and compline. Each has a different flavour and touches my spirit in different ways but to each I bring a whole hearted love of God and a desire to please Him. Yesterday we had the weekly college sung Eucharist. I have loved all the services but something about yesterdays service touched me, moved me and fed me as non of the others had. I'm not sure if it was the choice of music which was played by a music group rather than on an organ (wonderful as our organist is) or whether it was the sermon which challenged as no other had since I started here.
Worship of course is a very personal thing and we each bring to a service something of our past, our likes and dislikes but I know I wasn't the only one who came out saying how moved we were by the service. I look forward to many more such moments.
Today our lectures were an Introduction to worship followed by Spirituality both of which informed my reflection on yesterdays experience.
Off this weekend for a quick trip north to Haworth so K can attend an AGM. It will be good to have some time together away from the college and back into the world.

Friday, 1 October 2010


One of the major themes of being in a Theological college is theological reflections and though major ones will be done with pen and paper in a journal i shall also probably find myself reflecting here as well.
Our first week is over- a week of induction- getting to know the lecturers and other students. I'm blessed to be one of 4 in my year doing an MA and we have decided already that we will meet once a week for an hour in a support group both for study and for personal support and prayer. It is going to be so wonderful to have their support in this work.
Yesterday was a very interesting day- we visited 3 contrasting parishes and I was very surprised at my reaction. I feel very drawn to rural ministry and so expected to find the picturesque abbey in a beautiful village with all its history the one that apopealked. Instead it was the one which was 50 years old , built on an air base - really a large estate but in the muddle of the countryside rather than attached to an urban area. It had all the hall marks though of a rural parish with its problems and deprivation and the vicar was inspiring as an incarnational figure within the community. i expect i shall be learning more from that parish!
Off to compline now- a lovely way to end the day.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Time flies by!! again

We are now getting into the swing of things at college, with daily offices and Eucharist and the induction programme. Tomorrow we learn more about our placements which I'm really looking forward to. One of my priorities when choosing a college was to find one which had a variety of placement opportunities and Cuddesdon certainly fulfills that need. I'll post more about that when I know more.
This first week has had its ups and downs- I'm sure its the same for most of us in one way or another. There is the joy if being here after such a long journey, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Then there is the opportunity to meet so many lovely people and to hear their stories. There is also the long hours and the adjustment to being in a new community in a new location and just getting used to finding your way around. Somewhere in the move I seem to have mislaid my memory - if anyone comes across it can you return it please! I find myself forgetting to complete tasks or forgetting sessions I should be at. I'm sure it will get better but at the moment its causing a few headaches. I've also signed up to join the college choir. I last sang in a church choir 30 years ago and may find its way beyond my capabilities now but I used to love it so much and hope it will help me if and when I need to sing parts of the daily office so will at least give it a try. I have also started to get to grips with what is expected of the MA students and as there are 4 of us this year we are going to get together regularly as a study and support group which should be immensely helpful. God is so good.
One of my prayers when I came here was that there would be other male spouses not at work full time and that has proved to be the case so there are others who k can relate to.
All in all I'm sure this will be a fruitful time of both pruning and growth out of which I will emerge ready for God's next step for me.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Getting started

Have now started the induction at the vicar factory. I have met the other 1st years and found 2 others who were at the same BAP as me. Also met up with another two bloggers who I've been reading for a few months. One in particular was like meeting a long lost friend. Looking forward to getting to know R more over the next few weeks. I've also received the details of the MA I'm supposed to start studying in the next week- and went Yikes as I read it. Am I really capable of all that is being asked? Do I really want to be able to put MA after my name!!! I hope that that part of the course will feel less frightening when we get started.
I'm enjoying the daily offices and Eucharist- its good to have the day so underpinned with prayer and to know that this will become a well established habit to support and strengthen ministry in the years to come. So with that in mind I'm off now to say Compline.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010


Well we have arrived at Cuddesdon and have now nearly finished unpacking the boxes and finding homes for everything. Fudge our cat is not a happy pussy. Being 4 flights up and with an echo on the stairwell plus a nasty thing which buzzes every time a fly goes near she doesn't want to explore outside even in my company. I'm now rather scratched and have decided to give her a day off going to explore.
Our removal went extremely smoothly- hats off to Bishop's Removals we couldn't have asked for better help. However Wednesday night was a disaster. I didn't know that Travel lodge could happily over book and then decide to move you to another Motel. Arriving at 10.15pm having packed up the house and driven 200 miles we were not amused to find that they hadn't a bed for us. What infuriated us more was that they had taken the money from our account a month before. At first they wanted to send us 15 miles ( 30 minute) drive away but eventually found us a bed in another travel Lodge 7 miles away. We finally arrived at 11.15pm. Needless to say we won't be using Travel lodge again.
Next day saw us driving off up the motorway to lancashire to see my Mum and for K to attend a committee meeting. This time we stayed at Premier Inn and the differance was amazing.
Now its just one day before the start of term. I've been getting myself into the swing of things by attending morning Prayer - though at 9am not as it will be from Friday 7.30am. Its been a means of starting to meet others on the course.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Over half way there!

This will be my last post for sometime as we are awaiting the termination of our broadband agreement and won't have anything organised at the other end for a while.
Today saw more than half our earthly possesions packed into threee containers and removed to storage. Its amazing how little we can manage with over the next two years!. We had provisionally listed what we wanted to store but with space left in a container we kept looking for more and more to send rather than carry up 4 flights of stairs and fall over in a tiny flat. I have gone through periods in my life of wishing that I could get rid of everything and just live in a caravan- well I'm nearly getting my wish for the next couple of years. (To those wondering why I didn't do just that in the past it had to do with other people I lived with not having the same wish).
Now just a flurry of cleaning to do and also the final packing of clothes and kitchen goods and we will be on our way north.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A week to go

This time next week we will have arrived and be settling into our flat at Cuddesdon. After waiting so long, and starting packing 4 weeks ago it still doesn't feel real. I'm surrounded by boxes, have an almost empty freezer and food cupboard but most of me still feels as if I'll be sat here 6 months down the line. I've never experienced such a detachment for a move before. Seems even stranger when I think about how long this has been my dream- but perhaps that's the problem it has been a dream for so long that it still feels like a dream.
I'm also beginning to wonder how I'll cope with morning prayer 5 days a week at 7.30am. I remember when at Teacher training college a few of us from the CU set out to meet every morning at 7am for prayer- we kept it up for 2 years although not every one of us made every morning. Then again 30 years later I'm supposed not to need as much sleep so hopefully I'll make it every morning!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Back again!

Having had a lovely weekend away we travelled back down the M5 for what we hope is the last time before we move north again. I had forgotten just how beautiful Derbyshire was but having been back for the weekend have fallen in love all over again. I am hoping to return to Derbyshire to do my curacy. One of the reasons for being north this weekend was to meet with the DDO and other new ordinands for a service of blessing and supper. It gave us opportunity to meet those who will be studying at the same time as us and those who will also be curates in the diocese with us. It was an interesting evening with a short but inspirational service and lovely food at the vicarage. Everyone else seems to be studying at St Johns Notts either on full or pat time courses so once again I'll be out on my own.
Other than the evening with the DDO we also met up with a number of friends, worshipped with our church in Derbyshire and then had a lovely dinner at my sister with a very good friend of her's who trained at Cuddesdon. We are hoping to have a girly weekend later in the year at Cuddesdon with myself, sister and friend. K is planning to be away that weekend!!
Back today to try to finish the packing but there's so little I can do until next week but at least the weekend has given me a welcome time of refreshment.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New experience

Went to have my hair cut today. As we are going away at the weekend I had suddenly decided I needed to get it cut and so just went round town until I found a hairdresser with a space to fit me in. I explained I was moving soon and so wanted it cut fairly short so that if I was busy it would be a while before it needed cutting again. that led to questions about where and why I was moving. I explained about going to study and said it was to be a vicar. This led to the lady who was cutting my hair sharing about the death of her baby daughter some years ago and her own anger with God. It was a taste I think of what is to come. I've had conversations about God before but usually only after I've got to know hairdressers etc.
On the home front we are getting to the end of all but the pots etc that we will be using over the next two weeks along with clothes. It feels strange, I keep looking for more things to pack. Glad we are going back up to Derbyshire this week to meet with the DDO and to visit friends and sister before starting college. It will be a welcome break from the mess at home and I always love going to the church back in Chesterfield.
Two weeks today we will have arrived at Cuddesdon!!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

It should always be a 5th sunday!

Had a lovely day today after yesterday's traumas with the garage door.
I decided to visit some of the rural churches today for worship. This morning I went to a small church about 8 miles away which was having a joint praise service with its neighbouring church. It was a fairly small congregation but we had a lovely service and one which reinforced my sense of calling. We sang 4 songs all of which at different times God has spoken to me through. Having them together today seemed to be god saying to me ' Come on you know you want to follow me and serve me, just remember what I've called you to'.
Then I drove over to a lovely small town for lunch and wandered into the church for time to pray and just be with God for a time. I'd found out earlier in the week that the Churches Together in the valley were holding a joint service in a near by village- glad I went into this church though as I found out the service was actually in a barn outside the village. Drove on and found the barn and joined 100 others in the barn for another great service. The worship band consisted of all ages from 12 - 80. The barn was packed with people from numerous denominations across the valley and the worship and teaching was inspiring. The service together was because it was the 5th Sunday. I came out feeling that's how we should worship every week. The teaching was on the Great Commission and also Revelation and really challenged us to work together to share the good news and reminded us that in heaven we will worship together. That's why I gave this post the title 'It should always be a 5th Sunday'- we are called to put aside our differences and to worship and share the good news together.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Climb every mountain

A very helpful neighbour came round just after my last post and helped me with the garage door, unfortunately though I can now shut and lock it the cable has snapped.
Since then I've spent a couple of hours listening to the Proms with songs from Rodgers and Hammerstein. The last song was one of my favourite from my favourite musical- Climb every Mountain from Sound of Music. I was struck again by the words from Climb every Mountain. My life, especially over the last few years, has seemed like a series of mountains I have had to climb. Now I have an even bigger mountain to climb, one which has been my dream for so long, but as the words of the song say
A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live.
It is my dream to serve God with my whole heart and being, and that will definitely need all the love I can give. But I can do this because He first loved me, because it is God who gave me the dream, and God who will give me the love, strength and everything else I need to follow the dream to the end.
AT the moment I'm daunted bu it all, feeling weak and small and wondering if I'll ever actually get there, but God is there holding me through it all and I just need to hold on to that.

Am I allowed to scream!!!

Finally got a sunny day so managed to pull most things out of the garage where they have been stored for the last 2 years, and sort out and put back according to whether they were to be stored or go to the new flat. Then I came to close the garage door and it jammed. It seems the rollers have come out of the track! K is way sailing until tomorrow afternoon and I can't get the garage door fixed back. The only friend I would have asked to come and help is away camping this weekend so am stuck now with a half open garage door. Feeling pretty unhappy bunny at the moment!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Time flies by!!

Had a bit of a jolt yesterday when I commented that in 4 weeks we would be settling into our first night in college flat and hubby said "don;t be daft it's three weeks!" Where did the last 4 weeks go? We took a day off from packing yesterday and after collecting 15 more boxes from.our removal firm wandered on to Topsham to spend a few hours. It was lovely to forget about the packing and spend quality time together as this last couple of weeks have been spent mainly in different rooms. My hubby and I get in each others way ( or I get in his) if we try to work together at the packing so we take a room each. Good news is that I've now packed the last book- that's 9 boxes of books for me and hubby has packed a similar number.
Feeling quite down at first today, I think it was probably waking up and wondering how I was going to get all phone calls made sorting out keys, insurance, cancelling utilities etc before we arrange to end our phone contract. Decided in the end to let it run longer which relieved the pressure but I think the enormity of the next few weeks is catching up with me. I've waited and looked forward to this for 6 long years but now it's almost here I'm feeling inadequate and weak. Best place to be I expect because only then will I acknowledge that I can only be what God wants me to be with His help.
Oh well off to more arranging of details and packing.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Proud mum

I'm so thrilled and proud today as my son has texted me his GCSE results ( He's in Corfu at present with his Dad) He got 2 A*'s, 4 A's, 4 B's, 1 C and 1 D.(The latter in RE which he takesdelight in not liking- if that makes sense!)
He is a bright boy and has always been good at maths but he has worked extremely hard to get the results in all his subjects. I just wish I could have praised him in person but that will have to wait possibly until Ocotber.
On the packing front I got lots done today but was very frutrated that every time I tried to start in the garage it started to rain. One minute brilliant blue skys so I'd go out open up and pull a box out and the next minute it was raining again! Any way I now have 2 very polished welsh dressers and all the contents boxed up. Only bookcase of books still to pack and then the kitchen cupboards to start on. At this rate I won't know what to do with myself by the 6th September.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Church experiences

Yesterday I decided to attend 2 different churches as I had already said goodbye to the churches I'd been worshipping with since being in the Bay. It was interesting going back to the style of churches I had worshipped at from my twenties until 7 years ago. Having come back to the Church of England I have enjoyed the liturgy and pattern of worship. The churches I went to yesterday were a plant from a Baptist church which meets in a school at the back of where I live and a pentecostal church. the two churches had one main thing in common- they were so welcoming to myself and other visitors. I was greeted at both churches and coffee was on offer as I entered at both churches. I was invited to sit with a member of the church and the pattern of the service explained to me. the services themselves both followed a typical pattern of long time of sung worship followed by a sermon. between songs their was extempore prayer from the congregation. That was one of the interesting parts- I recognised the prayer - almost to the words from years ago. The churches have a liturgy of their own even though it is written down. It was an interesting return to my past but I am so sure that the Church of England for all its weaknesses is where God wants me to serve. Just as well really now I'm about to go to college to train for ordained ministry.
But one thing I will take from yesterdays experiences is the welcome I received and hope to encourage any church I'm blessed to minister in to emulate that welcome.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Reflections as I pack.

Life this week has been pretty mundane- packing box after box of my life- trying to decide what to store and what to take with us. Of course everything takes ages as I find long lost letters, cards, magazines etc and have to stop and read them.
An ex work colleague who is also packing and moving has been posting on Facebook about having a 'come and take away party', of selling things on ebay and sending loads to charity shops. I admire her ability to do this. Part of me longs to just give it all away, to move unfettered by so much 'stuff', but my husband is adamant that we hang on to moct things as when we move again in 2 years ( and again 4 years later) we may find a place for them and a use. I have put aside at least a dozen glasses that we really don't need and a pile of bowls to go to a charity shop. Will do the same with my clothes later.
At the same time as packing I'm finding it hard to really believe that in less than 6 weeks I will have started college, met new people and be living in a very different place to here. It all seems to be like a dream happening to someone else. I wonder if the fact that its nearly 6 years since I started walking this path that makes it feel like that.
The friends who visited the other day have just finished theological college. When I first approached my Rector to share what I believed God was saying he mentioned that there was someone else in the church considering whether God was calling him. It was a year later before I learned who the person was and a year after that when P approached the DDO. He then went for a BAP and started college within the year. He was very concerned when he had to tell me he'd been accepted knowing that I had been made to wait three years due to my remarriage. I was thrilled for P, and still am, that God had called him and he had been faithful. I also know that I have changed and have learned an awful lot in the 6 years of waiting so I am sure I am better prepared now than I was. but that wait has made it feel as if its always going to be over the horizon.
In some ways I am reminded of Moses and the Israelites wandering in the wilderness for 40 years- and Moses didnst get to go into the promised land when they got there! But for the Israelites who had heard over and over how God had led them out of Egypt to take them to a promised land and finally they got there! I wonder if they really dared believe that this is it. Well they did make it into the promised land and I know I am going to make it to Theological College and to the life God has called me to follow.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

one room down-5 to go!

Somehow yesterday's shopping trip has given me the impetus needed to make a start on the sorting and packing. I've worked my way through the small bedroom today tidying and sorting and preparing everything in it to pack tomorrow. Then we had our friends over for evening meal with their 2 delightful children. It was lovely catching up and learning about the realities of both college life and the first few weeks of curacy.
Been thinking today as I've sorted things. Why was I so excited about buying my cassock and surplice yesterday. Its not the clothes that makes a person a priest, but somehow having them hanging in my room makes me feel as if I've taken a large step forward. I suppose they are a symbol of what God is calling me to and its been such a long wait. At the same time I become more and more aware of the tremendous privilege of God's calling and my need for God to go with me as I can't do this on my own. My favourite line from the song 'I the Lord of sea and Sky' is ' If you lead me I will hold your people in my heart'- its the If you lead me- I know I can;t do any of this without God's leading.
Learnt a new thing today as well- found the spell check on this and so hopefully there will be less mistakes in my posts from now on!!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Next step

Today K and I travelled to Exeter to visit Wippells where I was able to try on cassock and surplice. As I am short and dumpy it was good to actually try the clthes on before buying. I had looked at other suppliers on line but was wary of having to take my own measurements.Having tried the items on and being pleased with both the look and feel we agreed I would buy them. So now hung in my spare bedroom are my new cassock and surplice. I feel as if I am moving slowly nearer to college and to formation towards ordination.
Tomorrow we have friends coming for a meal, they have just moved back to Derbyshire where P has started his curacy. It will be good to share experiences and learn from all he can advise me on about theological training.
Funny thing happened tonight- as I looked out of the window a couple from the church I used to work at, were driving slowly past. I waved and they stopped and got out of the car. It turned out they had heard that the bungalow we live in was being let- but didn't realise it was where we lived. They came in looked round and its very likely they will be renting it when we leave. The amusing thing is the same thing happened when we left our last rental property when I came down to Devon for this job. :)

Friday, 13 August 2010

Moving on

I'm back from a lovely few days with my youngest son on the Isle of Wight, and a meal with my middle son before returning.
Now it's time to prepare for the move.
This morning the first quarters grant, learning grant and removal payment came through from the Diocese. This is really happening! I've sent off all my forms for Cuddesdon, acceptance forms and cheques to the removal company and notice of termination of tenancy in the house we are renting. We've also had all the boxes delivered by the removal company so now it's time for sorting and packing- half our possesions to be stored and half to the 4th floor flat.
I worked out the other day that since I went to college the first time- not counting the number of different rooms I had in collge halls, I've moved 16 times and now I'm moving witht the prospect of moving again in 2 years. You'd think that with so many moves I'd have thinned out my possesions but I seem to have aquired more than ever. Soemtimes I understand so well why Jesus said to sell all your possesions to follow Him.
I've also heard today from my DDO who is organising a service and supper for those of going to college this September. Just got to decide if I can justify a weekend back in Derbyshire before the move- time and cost. Having said that it would be lovely to meet the others from the diocese who are going through the same thing as me.
Decsisions, decsisions!!

Sunday, 8 August 2010


Off tomorrow early for a few days holiday with my youngest son. C is 16 and is awaiting his GCSE results. He lives with his father 120 miles from me and as I've had to work most weekends since he went to live there tend to spend time together only in holidays. I asked him last time we met if it had bothered him that for the last 3 years he'd only seen me occasionally but he assured me he'd been so used to only seeing one of his parents at any time since he was 7 ( that's when his dad left me and C stayed with me and his older brothers)it didn't worry or upset him. I'm glad he isn't upset by it but do wish it had never been necessary.
I love my boys dearly but regret that as they have grown up I haven't been able to be a Mum to them fulltime as I nould like. But it doesn't stop me being their Mum and I'm often reminded how God remails our Father how often or how litlle time we actually spend with Him.
Anyway thsi week is just for C and I and we will make the most of it. Then on Thursday evening I'll meet up with A my middle boy anmd go and stay at his uni digs with him. At least he's happy to have me there with him.
Back in a week.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Lazy Days

Done very little over the last 2 days apart from a 3 hour sail yesterday and a numkber of phone calls today to confirm details of our move in September. Otherwise it's been reading and knitting. As I felt very tired today it's probably just what I needed after the flurry of activity over the last 2 weeks.
Last nights sail was lovely. I last sailed 6 years ago and so was thrilled to be able to join K on Vigilance, a Heritage Trawler he volunteers with.It was great to see hom in his element working alongside the other men at something he loves. We had a very gentle wind taking us out around the bay. At one point we found ourselves amongst a pod of Dolphins who leapt and dived for our amusement. They were wonderful to see.
Now back to sorting out paperwork and packing for holiday.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Final day

Made it! Last day at work and |I spent it mainly cleaning the office and vestry, then delivering keys. I'm now officially on holiday and will no longer be employed by the Methodist Church at the end of the month.
As I looked around my office today it looked as if I'd never been there. I felt as if it represented my time at this job. I don't feel as if I'm leaving anything behind- though others assure me I've made a difference. But as I vaccuumed the floor I saw glitter which the cleaner wouldn't pick up. The glitter was from various crafts I'd done over the years. I prayed that in the same way as the glitter stuck to the floor something of Jesus would stick with the people I have been working with.
So now I can concentrate on clearing the house, packing and moving. But first a few days holdiay with my sons.
Life is good. God is good.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Day 2

Interesting day today as I move ever closer to finishing work. Spent the morning handing over a chunk of my work to a Sure Start representative. I don;t know yet what I relaly think about this, The church sees it as an ideal solution to not replacing me, that Sure Start will run one of the Toddler groups while a mum in the church will run the other. Sure Start are keen to work in partnership with the church and if the church truly embrace this it could work. However my experience of this church is that it is happy to sit back and let others do the work and if they get people into the building then their job is done.
Then this evening I had my last Management Committee meeting and we went out for dinner. A very pleasant evening and they blessed me with a book token which is very welcome.
Just one more day to go and except for cleaning the office and giving in of keys there is nothing else to do, Off on holiday next week for a few days :)

Monday, 2 August 2010

Day 3

Getting there!
Day three in the countwdown to leave work. Spent most of the day in the office working through filing cabinet and the craft materials to sort and tidy them Also an hour andf half meeting with the Minister passing information and files on to him. Unfortunately church politics mean that though he asked and I gavew them to him, others think I should instead have passed them to Church Stewards. I shan't be sorry to leave the tensions in the Church behind.
Also had an indepth discussion on what I'd learnt and could pass on to said Minister about the Church and ministry. As I'm training for ministry in the Church of England and I've been working in the Methodist Church I've found it very hard to adjust to the differences especially in the governance of the church. I'm sure that some of the 'politics ' of the church are similar to what I will have to deal with in the future and the past 2 years have been a great training ground. I pray that I have indeed learned and will put in to practice when necessary.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Days 5 &4

Well my countdown continues. The good news yesterday was that the Starter pack from Cuddesdon finally arrived. I now have forms to fill in to indicate my preference for my 1st year church and midweek placement. I also have to order a cassock and surplice which I'm in the middle or researching. The whole college element is beginning to feel real but leaving work still doesn't! Not sure why but it still feels like I will be working at my 2 churches from September. Perhaps that will change after Wednesday when I hand my keys over.
In the meantime yesterday I spent preparing my sermon for this morning and then the evening at the small church's Summer Entertaiment evening. I enjoyed the evening but struggled with the sermon. I'd been so busy all week I had less time than normal to actually spend on it so I felt I was short changing the church I was preaching at this morning. At the same time I was aware that I would probably be amongst a congregation of 8 or less. It meant I was less motivated to put in the extra time- and yet I knew this was wrong, they are all children of God and deserve the best I can give. it does beg the question - what is a sustainable number for a local church these days?
Then this morning I went to the church and took the service. I was pleasantly surprised- 10 people turned up. gave my best at the service and thanked them for having me and thats the last service I will take in this circuit.
Now its an afternoon of relaxing before days 3-1 of the countdown and all the sorting and tidying of my office plus hand over meetings.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Day 6 of count down

Well today was day 6 of countdown until I leave work. Spent the morning clearing my desk and trying to sort out everything. Then this afternoon I visited a couple of people to hand things over.
It's strange- everyone tells me how well I've done but as I've talked to people I've realised how much I didn;t do and how much I've let people down.
It's good to learn from my two years here and|I trust that I will be able to take what I've learned into ministry. I was particularly struck by the vulnerability of people and the responsibilty a priest has to meet people at their most vulnerable not ignore them.
College wise I have heard from the diocese about grants etc and things are moving forward in planning for the physical move. I think mentally I'll have moved long before we actually move! Still waiting for Started pack from Cuddesdon :(

Thursday, 29 July 2010


I have a nice shiny new laptop, ready for college. We got a really good deal at Staples and had a very knowledgable assistant serve us. I actually went and found the manageress to commend him, something I've never thought to do before. I'm now enjoying playing with the computer. It has windows 7 on it which allows me to open mulitple documents next to each other so I can read across. Really useful when writing sermons as I can have the biblical text next to the word document and easily read and copy verses. Having the computer is one step nearer to my move to college. Also received the form yesterday to complete to register for the MA- beginning to wonder if I'm really capable of an MA!!! :(
On the moving front we now have 3 quotes to send to the Diocese. It would happen that the cheapest deals on storage are the most expensive 2 on removal to Oxford whereas the company quoting the cheapest for the removal are twice the price on storage. We could use different companies for the 2 stages - we have to pay our own storage of course- but would like to use the same company for logistical reasons. Have to try some negotiaitng I think!!
Off to play again now.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

7 days to go

Another day of goodbyes- final small group from the Toddlers I ran came for a Teddy Bear's picnic. Had a lovely time in the church garden and with the children- many of whom I've known since they were a few months old. The children love to tell me all about what happened to them at the weekenfd and one 12 month old wanted to stay with me all the time. As I told her grand mother she's isn't very good for my pride!!!! Those who came today asked to keep in touch so it will be good to hear how the children grow and develop and how the mums get on.
Then a day of cleaning toys again and tidying up the cupboard, making lists. I did manage to get to the church prayer group which was a lovely way to start the day.
Laptop has died so have to snatch time on hubby's computer so probably won't be able to catch up as much- but at least I'm getting my knitting finished.

Monday, 26 July 2010

8 days to go

Yesterday was my farewell at the 2nd church I've been working for. On the 15th August the local Anglican church where I have been worshipping will say goodbye to me. Then we have 4 weeks until we move so I can either go back to churches which have said goodbye or visit other churches in the Bay. I've decided I'll go and visit other churches and use it as an oportunity to see new things and reflect on what works and what doesn't.
Spent most of today sorting out the toys for one Toddler group, one of my offices and sorting out computer files and saving them for who ever will do my job when I leave. Not having someone to hand it all on to makes life more difficult.
The good news is I've managed to book a holiday for myslef and my youngest son on the Isle of Wight. This is something we've been talking about for over a year so it's good to have it sorted and I shall enjoy some quality time with him.
Still nothing form Cuddesdon. I know that there is probably lots I should be doing to prepare but until the Starter pack arrives from college I'm at a loss to know what. At least tomorrow we have the 3rd removal company arriving to quote for us so we can finally sort all that out.
I will be so glad when we move to college and I can really concentrate on formation and preparation for ministry.

Saturday, 24 July 2010


Not the gameshow- which I do enjoy- but the last 10 days of work. Yesterday was day 10 and the first day when I didn't have set meertings to go to or activities to pursue. Instead it was the start of clearing my office, desk and computer. I have also to leave detailed directions for all the tasks I have undertaken while in post so that they can be passed on to individuals in the church as they volunteer.
The only problem is this is a church who are used to having a paid Chuildren and Families Worker- my predecessor had been in post 10 years, and who are not used to doing anything thmeselves. I've struggled to get volunteers on board for anything I've been doing and the attitude has always been "thats what we pay you for". One lady has taken on the safe guarding role for the church but said to me yesterday- "How can they expect people to do all that you were doing when they were paying you and now they want volunteers"
It's a difficult problem as a volunteer in church a few years ago I loved what I did and got a bit well a lot if I'm honest) shirty with the paid worker who 'moaned' about doing more hours than she was paid for. Now after 2 years in a paid post I have had to repent and realise it's not that easy to define roles when you are paid for some of the work. I have found my way round the problem by working for one church and serving/volunteering in another but that won't work for everyone.
As I go to college and think about my last 2 years I do wonder how much I've learned about recruiting and supporting volunteers in the Church. I suspect not as much as I should have done.

Monday, 19 July 2010


Began this morning with the realisation that I had double booked myself on 3 separate occasions this week. Then I had to juggle between Toddler service, local school assembly and clergy lunch at my house ( the latter I had totally forgotten). By the time I arrived at the assembly having packed up after Toddlers and managed to purchase soup and bread for the lunch I was feeling rather stressed. I listened to the assembly about Mountain climbing and moving, and as my minister prayed at the end heard very clearly God saying to me -'stop juggling all these balls, lay them down and only pick up each one as I give it to you to do'. So I asked God's forgiveness and laid down the many balls I had been trying to juggle.
Since that prayer ( at 11.45am) I have been much calmer, have managed to rearrange where I had double booked and took 3/4 hour to sit and chat with the church bowling club this afternoon rather than run madly around planning for Messy Church. The work for Messy church got done afterwards.
I shall be so glad when I have finally finished work and can concentrate on moving. But in the meantime I will enjoy every moment left with the lovely people I have been working with and try to only do that which God asks me to do at any one time- very much in line with yesterdays gospel reading.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Contrasts in ministry

Became very conscious of the contrasts in the life of a minister.
Yesterday I read a blog-
where Rona shared about the stess of a days placement in training and the difficult visits she had made with the Vicar. Though a difficult day I'm sure it wasn't an unusual day for anyone who is in ministry.
In the last 24 hours in my role as Children and Families worker I have been at a number of events along with the minister. Our 24 hours have been such a contrast to Rona's. Yesterday afternoon was a Beetle Drive- an opportunity to raise money but also to meet with members of the community and the church family. A great time of laughter and fun. Then this morning a service in which I led Junior church. This afternoon we went to the local Pedal car grand prix in which the three of the local churches had got together to enter a team. We came third and felt we had not only had fun but shown that Christians could work together and enjoy themselves. Then this evening was a lovely farewell service for a much loved minister in the Circuit- a time of testimony to God's goodness and of wonderful worship with others.
Life is a balencing act- there are the days of stress and heartbreak but they need to be balenced by days of fun and fellowship which refresh us and give us the strength to go back out and continue to share the love of Jesus in the difficult situations.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Perhaps its moving away that is making me dwell so much on friendship. I realised today that having said in a previous Blog that I had only made one friend down here its actually not true. Though L who I mentioned last time was the one who I've spent most time with and who has been a friend outside work I've also made a very special friend in one of my local schools.
J and I clicked from the first time we met and though I've only seen her in school we have still formed a very strong friendship- which we both know God is in the centre. J has been such an encouragement to me in the meandering journey towards BAP and now college. Thanks J and L for your support.
On another front I've just attended the yr 6 performence at one of my other schools. It was a wondeful performence and the students and staff had obviously worked incredibly hard. every child is given and opportunity to take part and what ever their skill level they give their all. I shall miss this school where I know so many of the students and staff - I pray that when i get into a parish I am able to build a good relationship with the local school.
Finally as Ive said before I am weary. This time last year I went on a silent individually guided retreat at Compton Durville and I would so like to go again this year. I'm feeling a real hunger for a retreat but at this point don't have the time or money. Plus CD closed in May. However I know that once at vicarfactory there will be opportunities for retreat which I'm really looking forward to.
In know I should live in the present but at this point I'm really rushing towards college and all that I will learn.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Decision made

Decision made! We will move into the flat offered by the vicarfactory. K agreed in the end that being on campus and being together was important for us. I felt such relief once the decision was made.
At the moment I am very weary. It's not so much physical though I'm sur that will come, but mental and emotional weariness as I try to put in place everything for handing over my present job and at the same time starting to get ot grips with plans to move. Roll on 4th August when at least the job will be over and I can concentrate on the move. I'll miss so many of the families I've been working with and find it hard as new organisations get involved but its time to move on. I expect I'll always struggle to leave behind 'my' people where ever I work and live.
Life as a vicar is full of transitions and I need to get used to it and learn to adapt.

Sunday, 4 July 2010


Home is where the heart is - a common saying. So if I go to college and because of the accomodation my husband chooses to stay here where will my home be?
Thursday saw us travelling the 4 hours up to Cuddesdon to see the flat the college was offering us. Unfortunately when my husband walked in and saw its size and lack of shower he walked out saying- I can't live here!
I half expected it but was still shocked. We discussed with various staff the options open and then came home to talk and pray.
I've since done an annalysis of the pro's and con's of the various options open to us and hubby has come to the conclusion that actually we have no options but to live in the flat offered but he's not happy.
So college flat will be our home for the next 2 years but not sure how this is going to pan out.
Todays lectionary reading has Jesus sending out the 72 and a theme of travelling light. We will definitely have to travel light for the next 2 years. Formation has started!

Monday, 28 June 2010


Having spent the weekend travelling around the country and meeting up with friends I got to thinking about friendship. What is a friend? And how do we maintain our friendships?
The use if the internet has made it possible to make connections with people we havent' seen for many years and with some there is an instant report which makes the intervening years disappear. Those friends are great to be with, you can pick up where you left off and not have to explain yourself. Yet there cane be people you see regularly, who you spend time with but you never get to that level of friendship.
As I move away from Devon I'm conscious that I can only count one person as a really close friend - and I'd met her before I moved here. Its been a difficult two years and yet I think I've learnt some useful lessons about depending on God and my husband rather than church members for friendship and support. As I move to college and on to curacy it will be interesting to see what friendships develop and how much I rely on older friendships rather than new ones.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Have spent the evening with a friend sharing food, life and the goodness of God.
I've spent the last 2 years as a children and family Worker in the Methodist Church- while preparing for a BAP and future training in the Church of England! The two years have taught me much- but I've also felt a failure in the job at times. however I am sure it is where God wanted me and L is one of the reasons for that. We met 2 years ago at a Vocations weekend for a course I had just finished and she was in the middle of. We met in Nottingham- I lived in Derbyshire and she lived in Devon. Forward 4 months and I found myself working in churches in Devon. The first Toddler group I went to help with, in walked L and we picked up our friendship again.
Since then we have supported prayed and encouraged each other through difficult times and fun times. Now I'm about to move away but this is a friendship which will last because I know it was a God grown friendship.
Isn't God good!

Saturday, 19 June 2010

reflections on Night Church

Spent last evening in the company of two good friends at Night Church at Exeter Cathedral. Never having been there before I didn't know what to expect. It certainly gave us much to discuss on the way home, but I came away dissatisfied. It semed to have been a very cerebral evening but little spiritual imput. Not sure what Night Church aims to be but last night certainly didn't strike me or those I was with, as being a means of being Church to the unchurched. Will have to read up on what was actually expected and see if I can line it up with what we expereinced. I hope to return before I leave this area and learn something more about this Fresh expression of church. At the moment I am left with the questions- what does this say about me and what does it say about what God wants to do in Exeter?

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Here at last

Having received so much pleasure and wisdom from reading other people's blogs I've decided ( been prompted) that I should have one of my own. Knowing that September will find me in Theological College and so needing to reflect regularly, I'm hoping that this will spur me on.
Today I finished a week long marathon of Blog reading. When I felt guilty at the time spent on a computer I reassured myself that it was only the same as reading a book- a diary which I found hard to put down. The Blog took me from the first days of the writer's curacy until her life today as a vicar. the six years she spke about so eloquently taught me so much about what I have to look forward to- and in her writings I recognised a lot of my own weaknesses and joys to come.
Whether my own frail words will help anyone I don't know but pray that somehow this will be a blessing at least to myself.