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.