Saturday, 8 December 2012


Well time has yet again flown past me and here we are at the beginning of Advent- of waiting. In the past weeks since I last posted I have continued with funeral ministry, school assemblies, an RE day in school where 5 and 6 year olds spent the day learning about the Bible, planning Christmas services, taking part in three services each Sunday- and preaching at some of them and visiting people. I have also been to the Dioscesan Clergy Conference which came only days after the vote re women Bishops, and have also attended a number of training days. My life is as full as ever and as we move towards Christmas gets even fuller- and as a resulkt I lose the sense of waiting, the sense of wonder that should be part of the advent time. I even had to miss the advent carold service at the main church last Sunday as I was on duty in one of the villages switching on their Christmas tree lights and so singing chritmas carols. Thvious two years I sang in the college choir at tAdvent carol service and it really set the mood for Advent , so I was left feeling slightly bereft this year. however I did enjoy the service in the village and know that team ministry with 10 churches does mean missing certain things occasionally. Waiting is also of course the theme after the gebneral Synods vote on Women Bishops. I had mixed feelings about the vote and am still not sure how to exptess them. That we will have women Bishops in the future I have no doubt. That we will have to continue to wait- yes. That work has to be done for those who cannot accept women Bishops an even bigger yes. It was their provision that the vote fell down on. It is very hard as a women to hear that your ministry isn't valid, buthaving in my distant past had leanings both to anglo catholicism and conservative evangelicalism I do understand their point of view. How we can ever reach some form of provision that all will be happy with I don't know. I certainly wouldn't want to see Women Bishops as a second class role. Having said all that I have no desire to be a Bishop and in some ways would actuially be glad for the whole discussion to go away and just allow me to carry on as a priest doing what God has called me to. However as part of that calling is to bring Good News to all people, the churches view of women as expressed by the vote calls into question how it can be good news to women in our society today. Lots more reflecting to be done.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Holidays and life after

Two weeks ago we returned from a wonderful fortnight in the Lake District. Despite a few set backs with the cottage we stayed at, and some of the heaviest rain of the summer we had a lovely time. We were blessed by being able to rent a cottage through Off Duty a site where clergy rent out their 'retirement' homes to other clergy. This was a real blessing as we were able to go from a Monday rather than a Saturday. The Lake District is a great place for a holiday for us. I read a blog before I went that listed things which made for a perfect holiday- they included familiarity along with new places to visit, good food places to eat and freedom to come and go when you needed. Our holiday met all these criteria. I particualrly wanted somewhere to stay where we could get up when we wanted, stay in and read if we so desired ( and on one very wet day tahts just what we did) roads that I knew and some new places to visit. Having spent my teen years fell walking most Sunday I know the lake district well and having my Mum just down the road to visit made it even better. We had a lovely day out on Lake Windemere, and ate in lots of great restaurants in Bowness. As a result I came back refreshed and ready for the next stage in life. it really feels like another stage, coming back- I was straight into a week of school visits and meetings, and since have sermons to prepare and two funerals coming up. I went from being the new curate to feeling very much part of the team and knowing what was expected of me. It was a strange semnsation to come back and feel so much part of the place. Thats not to say that there won't be much more learning and that I won;t find myself feeling at a loss and the new girl in the future but I definitely felt as if I had made some form of transition while away. Now its on with the day to day life of a parish- which with 10 churches includes making a fool of myuself when I mix people up! But thats another story!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A whole month on

I can't believe its a whole month since I last posted. It's not that there hasn't been plenty to blog about- but time has simply sped by. In the last month I have continued with the daily life of a curate- To give and idea of what a 'normal' week entails here is an extract from my diary for the last week. Monday- 9am lead Morning Prayer 10am- 3.30pm Team development day 12-1.15pm leave meeting to take a funral and burial 3.30pm -4pm Admin with Rector 4-5pm Tel calls Tuesday- 9am Morning Prayer 9.30am Market day so wander round town meeting people 10.15am Coffe at the baptist Church- the place to meet everyone else! 11am Home visit 12.15pm Admin and emails 1.30pm Lunch 2.15pm Home Communion 3.30pm Hospital visit in the next town 4.45pm meeting to learn more about Kidzone and my involvement Wendesday 8.30am Set up for Eucharist 9am School assembly 9.30am Morning Prayer 10am Eucharist 11am Admin in church office 12 emails at home 7.30pm PCC meeting Thursday 9am School Assembly and meet with Head teacher 10am Work in church office 10.40am Deanery Chapter ( with lunch) 1.30pm Secondary school visit to church 2.15pm Supervision 3.15pm Visit to school where I am to be a governor 4.15pm Home visit 6.45pm Wedding rehearsal Friday day off Saturday 9am Morning Prayer 10am Sermon prep. 11.30am Wedding 2-4pm Finish sermon and sort out intercessions etc. Sunday 9.30am Deacon and Preach at Eucharist 11am Deacon and Preach at Eucharist 6.30pm Lead and preach at Evensong Then I shall be on holiday until 1st October. The bare outlines of my diary don't include of course telephone calls, conversations as I've walked around the streets and the thinking involved in prepariong for the sermon- I have been mulling over the text for a good 10 days before I sat down to write it yesterday. I had hoped to get it written on Tuesday but the home visits etc suddenly fell into the diary. With schools returning and now I am getting to know and be know in the churches the work load is increasing- but at the same time I am finding I can get through some of the prep much quicker than I used to do. As we go on holiday tomorrow my highlights of the last 10 weeks are: 1. The funerals I have taken and the speed with which relationships are built at the time of grief. I couldn't believe how God enabled me to absorb and then write about the life of the people for whom I was taking the funeral. It was a great joy yesterday when the widow from Mondays funeral rang to ask the time of the service this evening as she wished to coem to church. My only regret is that I shall be at a differnt church and therefore unable to greet her myself. However I have forwarned a church warden so hopefully she will still be made to feel welcome. 2. Becoming involved in the local schools and building relationships there. The only low of the last 10 weeks is the slowness in which I am getting around the villages and getting to know people. With 10 churches its difficult to begin to really build strong links- but I am sure they will come in time. Now I am looking forward to a couple of weeks in the lake District with my lovely husband who has thrown himself wholeheartedly into being a curates husband and is now finding himslef with tasks such as being Crucifer for the main church ! Hope to blog more regularly after the holiday.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Funerals and other aspects of curacy.

Well the funerals continue to come into our team office and so next week I shall be priveldged to lead one. One thing I've learned above all during this time is that its by the grace of god I will be able to lead- and the power of His Holy Spirit. While at college I did the death Dying and Bereavement course but had almost no funeral experience while on placement. It is of course very dependant on people dying so in one way I'm pleased that I didn't get the expeirience. However when I arrived in my parish I warned my Training Incumbent that I'd had little experience. He assured me that come winter I would get experience. However that experince has come rather quicker. I have been slowly inducted into taking a funeral- allowed to read the scriptures , say prayers etc. Today I worked with a retired priest, which gave em another outlook on funeral ministry. One thing I'm certain of, its an important ministry we offer to anyone in the parish and gives us an opportunity to be Christ to the grieving around us. Next week i am also to inter some ashes on my own- another new thing for me. Its all very exciting and humbling at the same time. And I am always conscious that this work is to be along side those who are suffering and grieving. Other aspects of curacy have included home communions, sick visiting, the planning and taking of services including a family service, this Sunday I shall sing Evensong!( ANd how I wish I'd been brave enough to lead while at college when I had the chance) However we have a very good organist who has patiently helped me prepare. On the more personal friont having become a grandmother 2 weeks ago I've enjoyed spending tiome with my son, his girlfriend and new granddaughter who is beautiful. we have also had chance to meet up for dinner one evening with friends who were at college with us and also starting their curacy in this diocese. that was a great evening of sharing our stories and encouraging one another. Now its time to try and sort out a holiday for the end of September- have been so busy and have left it rather late!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

On being a woman, a priest and a grandmother!

I have never considered myself a feminist. no one was more surprised than I was when I felt called to oprdained ministry - because I was a woman and for years I didn't believe women should have a role of leadership in church. Bt God very gently buit very firmly changed my views, and when He called I responded with all my heart. Te long years of preparation have felt well worth it as I've settled into my new role over the last few weeks. I have been welcomed and made to feel wanted. My dog collar as I mentioned in my previous post has been a means of commnunicating with people and I love it. Then today I came up against the reality of being a woman in what is still considered by some to be a male role. We have a spate of funerals and my Training Incumbent has been very gentle in easing me into the taking of funerals. So far I have gone on funeral visits with him and also helped in funerals but not led. With another one on the horizon it was decided I should take the lead. however the family didn't want a female priest. I accepted their decision and my Training Incumbent will take the funeral. I wasn't particualrly upset about it- perhaps havign an uncle and Aunt who feel the same way had prepared me, perhaps I was able to think back to my past. My only concern waas that the family should have a funeral they need at a difficult time. I'm not sure if my views will change but at the moment I'm not angry just sad for the family. I'm sure my turn to take a funeral will come and all I want to do is do my best for God and for which ever family has sadly lost someone. On a much happier note I became a grand mother yesterday when my son and his girlfriend had a little girl. To say I'm thrilled would eb an understatement. It was strange holding this lovely little girl and looking down to see a female child looking so like my son did at a few hours old. She is beautiful and I'm looking forward to many more cuddles. I feel so blessed- to be fulfilling gods call and to be a Grand mother all in the same month. life can't get much better than this.

Monday, 9 July 2012

reflections on a dog collar.

I've now been wearing the dog collar for a week and have begun to learn what a difference it makes. people in Wirksworth were friendly before but now they stop and chat rather than just saying hello as they pass. I even had a lady in the next town stop me for a chat when I popped into the bank. But with it also comes responsibility for behaving in a certain way. I like to think that I am always calm, and polite to people. (Well I can dream) However one day last week I was shopping a supermarket without my dog collar. I was upset to have someone with a large trolley of goods from behind me in the queue, offered first place at a till which was opening. I objected and was told that I had the option of staying where I was or going to the self service till- I only had 4 items in my basket. I object to self service tills as they deprive shop workers of jobs but also there was still a large queue there anyway! I got nowhere with my objections and didn't lose my temper or anything but afterwards was left wondering whether I would have acted differently had I been wearing my dog collar. I came to the conclusion as I saw it to be a matter of justice I probably wouldn't have done anything different. but it does raise questions for me as to whether I 'change' when I don the collar! More thoughts on this as time goes on

Monday, 2 July 2012

And grace poured down

Well I made it! Sunday 10.45am in the cathedral I was ordained
a deacon in the Church of England- after 8 years of the most recent journey and after telling my mother when I was 17 that I would like to be a Vicar! Pouring down had been the theme of the retreat- literally. On Thursday morning between the Morning prayer and address and the noon Eucharist we had a cloud burst in the east of derbyshire- the result a lake in front of the gate to the church , a stream running across the path from the hotel and worse to come inside the church. in order to get in we all had to climb over the wall using chairs and stools kindly provided by those who had braved the lake and paddeld in. The scramblers included the Bishop of Repton resplendant in his purple cassock. Once inside we discovered that thelead to the vestry roof had been stolen leading to a seive like effect. Water poured in and we all began practising our diaconate ministry by emptying the vestry of everything we could- what we couldn't move got covered in plastic table cloths! It continued to rain over the following days and completed the pouring by raining as we all left the cathdral yesterday morning for the photographs. hence my rather windswept look. but nothing could dampen our spirits or our smiles- yeaterday was such a great day. And how did it feel? Through the retreat it all felt a little unreal- rather as if i would still be living in the hotel 3 weeks from now waiting for ti to happen. but then as processed into the cathedral and up the aisle in front of freinds and family I found myself very close to tears. I'd made it at last. Godhad been faithful to His calling and the church was now about to ordain me. The tears were never far away throughout the wonderfull service andthen it was pure joy as we left for the photo's and the after service party. it was also a thrill to have so many freinds there as well as relatives. The only cloud being the fact that two of my sons were iunable to get time off work to be there. However they have sent messages of support and maybe next year they can be at my priesting. now its down to work and the first full day out and about in a dog collar. I must admit so far it hasn't been at all daunting but I'm sure that will come. Thank you to all who read this blog who have prayed and encouraged me at any time- it was very much appreciated. now off to have some sleep as last night I was so full of adrenaline I only managed three hours which on top of less than normal sleep at the retreat isn't good!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

It's nearly here

Just a quick last post before I disappear to pre-ordination retreat to reappear as a curate. I've started to get post addressed to the Reverand J T which is a great shock and feels very strange. Today I've packed my clothes for the retreat, including my cassock stole and surplice and my clerical shirt and dog collar! Of course at college I got used to wearing a cassock and surplice- one of the advantages of Cuddesdon where we all had regular opportunities to dress up. But this will be the first time I will have worn my shirt and collar except for trying them on! Its going to be very strange on Sunday. In the meantime their is great joy at knowing how many people are coming to the Cathedral and later to my welcome service. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and thanking them for all their support on this long journey. Bye for now- I shall be back in my new guise!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The Kingdom of God.

I have just read this on another blog and it resonated with me : "he said that when one establishes the Kingdom of God (order, tidiness, serenity) in one's external surroundings, other things fall into place." This week has been an attempt to do just that. I've been to Mning Prayer each morning, attended a Team devolpment day for the clergy I shall be working with, also team council, I've shopped, spent a day with my sister and in between I've painted the bathroom and continued to unpack and organise. I've reached the point where the main job left to do is try and find a system of storage and filing for resources and paperwork in the study. And there I've come to a stand still. Just thinking about it sends me of to do soemthing else rather than tackle the problem. yet having read the above I know it's a task that has to be faced and dealt with before I go on retreat on Wednesday. In fact as I've to go and collect K's step mother and friend from Lncashire on Tuesday I've no choice but to face it by Monday evening. SO what am I do blogging about it you may well ask. Earlier this week the readings at morning prayer were all about he weak things being used by God. At the momnet I'm so grateful both that God does use the weak and that He reminded me of it this week. Perhaps not surprising but with the ordination week away I am feeling very weak and inadequate for the task ahead. Its been a dream for so long, something I've been working towards for 8 years and now at last its in touching distance and I'm back questioning what God is doing. yet at the same time my heart is singing an I'm so looking forward to it. Does any of that make sense? I may well not post again before the day but I shall be reflecting in my journal instead and will be back to blog the fruits of the retreat after next Sunday. In the mean time I shall work at bringing the kingdom of God into my study!

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Home at last!

A week on from my last post and we are getting settled into our new home. Being in a town I lived in 30 years ago- and somewhere I have returned to for lunches and walks over the years I feel very much at home. I find myself praising God as I walk down the hill to the town centre, for His goodness in allowing me to return here. The move went incredibly smoothly, the only slight negative was the hour sat on the M42 as we travelled north, due to heavy rain and a coming togteher of two cars. However once we were up into Derbyshire we still had time to drop the cat off at the new house and collect fish and chips before arriving at my sisters. We stayed the night and then drove over to the new house and started cleaning the kitchen while we awaited the removal lorry. It duly turned up at 10.30 and we were busy until 5pm unloading all our things. It was fun being re-aquainted with so much which had been in storage. Wednesday wtarted with a visit from the Team Rector and Vicar which was lovely. I shall so enjoy working with them in this benefice. I've agreed to go to an extended staff meeting next Wednesday to start to get to know the rest of the team. The rest of the morning was spent unpacking- by the end of the day I had all ourt kitchen and living room boxes from both Cuddesdon and storage unpacked and rehomed. K had his office unpacked and put away and then spent the evening packing for his sailing adventure. Unfortuantely in the afternoon when we came to walk into the town to collect some bread and milk we discovered the suspension down on one side of the car. Consternation as we tried to get it sorted and also work out how K would get to Derby to catch the train the following morning. Fortuinately being back in Derbyshire means ready access to Landrover repair places and we carefully drove down to the one at the end of the raod. Only to find when we got there the suspension had returned to normal. We left it with them for investigation and K found the bus times for Derby. Thursday I waved goodbye to K for 17 days and spent the morning with more unpacking. Then after a wander into town for milk, paint brushes, a trip to the library, a hair appt made, and registered at the Dr's I called at the garage to find they had been unable to find anything wrong with the car and I could drive it home. Reunited with the car I drove over to Chesterfield to a large DIY store for paint and a lawn mower, and then called in on my son and his girlfriend. It is such a delight to be so near to them again, epecially as they will make me a grandmother in 6 weeks. Friday had been booked for the suite to be cleaned and the new white goods delivered. Also a joiner called round to sort out the curtain rail in our bedroom which had fallen down on Tuesday- we have been hanging a curtain from nails since. While everyone got on with the job in hand I made a start on the study. All my books are now unpacked, and I am left with deciding what extra forms of storage are needed. I can feel a trip to IKEA coming on! After the workmen had left I had a panic. The cat had been shut uinto the en suite while they were there and let out when they left. Just before the plumber arrived to fit the gas stove I went looking for her to lock her up again, only to not be able to find her. The plumber and his assistant did their work to a soundtrack of me calling Fudge every few minutes round the house and out in the gardem. After they left I heard her crying and found her behind the dish washer. She got behind it again this morning which amazed me as the gap is only about 3 inches. However I've stuffed a box down the gap for the moment to avoid having to drag it out a third time. Today has been a lazy day bit I've managed a walk into the town for more milk and to use my new vacuum cleaner on the carpet. After I've blogged its back to painting the bathroom. I'm really enjoying making this house into a home, knowing we shall be here for about 4 years. The bungalow we rented in Devon and the flat at college were great for the time we were there but somehow never quite felt like home. Now I can put my mark on this house. I'm also looking forward to welcoming so many friends and family who live close by as well as visitors from farther afield. Today the tickets arrived for my friends and family for the ordination service. Two weeks today will be our final day of retreat. I can't believe how fast the time is passing now and feel so inadequate for the job ahead. But I kow that God who has called me is faithful and that I don't need to do it on my own but as the ordination service says - by the help of God I will.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Name change

Decided to change the name of this blog- hoping it works for people still trying to find it! Today has been a pleasant day away from the packing. K had a meeting and so having dropped him off I spent a pleasant few hours wandering round Wallingford and sitting by the Thames watching te boats drift by. My last chance to visit but I'm very excited to be returning to Derbyshire. This is likely to be my last post until after the move. Tomorrow I shall have to concentrate on finishing the packing and cleaning the flat. Monday the removals company will arrive to load up and Tuesday we shall start unloading in our new home. After nearly 2 years we shall have back all our possesions. Its been interesting managing witht he minimum of things but I'll enjoy having all my books around me, all my kitchen stuff so that baking will no longer be a challenge, and all my sewing bits and pieces ( sewing machine) Three weeks tomorrow I shall be ordained. My new life as a curate will begin. in my reading and also during lectures at college there has been much discussion as to whether ordained ministry is about what you do or what you are- doiung or being. At the moment I can't imagine how different I will feel after the Bishop has laid hands on me andf prayed for the Holy Spirit to ordain me for the task ahead. I'm trusting that God has got it right!! But just now it feels very daunting and very strange. however everyone here seems to think that God knows what He is doing and yesterday a number of people said to me that they saw me as a priest. Oh well see you on the other side of the move!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Leaver's Service

This morning amidst stormy weather we walked down to church for the last time for a Eucharist. this annual leaver's Service is very moving. Those of us who are leaving wear our cassocks and take our ordination stole to be blessed. The Eucharist continues as normal but the sermon is biased towards guidence for those leaving and the hymns tend to have some relevance- today we had Thine be the Glory and Brother Sister let me serve you. After the Eucharist the Principal prayed for us all, blessed our stoles, and then gave us each a book. We then processed out behind the Altar party through the west door and found that the rain had stopped. Of course there was a lot of hugging, goodbyes and even the odd tear as said farewell. Some left straight away, the rest of us went to the village pub for lunch. What amazed me most was the way this has come so quickly. It seems no time at all since we were at thL Leavers Service last year- and here we are saying good bye ourselves. I was particularly emotional at the Morning prayer as I realised that after so many mornings in chapel I was sitting at my last service there. I have been so blessed and fed by the daily morning prayer and I'm very pleased that I will be able to continue to pray with the clergy of the team where i am going as curate. Now we continue with our packing before moving on Monday. Oh and one piece of good news today- I was told I have passed my dissertation with merit!! I'm thrilled.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Last evening Prayer

Tonight we had out last evening prayer. Tomorrow evening is a Eucharist for Corpus Christi and on friday we have our Leavers service and then go! Or at least disappear from college life. The service this evening could have felt very heavy. However the mood was lightened by a friends one year old who was sat behind us and who cheerfully babbled away during the service. it is a great joy to me that as his family is also moving to Derby Diocese I shall continue to see this little boy grow up at leat until he is school age. Tomorrow is a quiet day away from college for those of us who are leaving. Last year I wasn't sure how to selnd the time but at least we had lovely weather. This year rain is due, but I shall take means to meditate with me and be ready to sepnd time praying and reflecting on what the future holds. I shall also spend some time praying with a friend with whom I shall form a cell group- we'd like a third to join us but nothing sorted at the moment. Today I had a lovely blessing from a friend. I've never met the lady in question but her husband is a friend of my husbands. They have become my friends through facebook as they now live in France. They are not able to be at the ordinations service but N sent me a lovely MOW pin. Although I've never been involved I do appreciate those women who worked hard so that I can now follow God's calling. I shall wear the pin to honour those who peacefully worked and prayed for that privelage.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Six days to go

Today has continued with packing of boxes- all books are now packed along with all the resources I brought with me in case I did any children's work. I took a break to watch the Jubilee seervice at St Paul's ( you can't have too may lessons in how to preach and conduct a service!) I thought the service struck the right note of solemnity and loved the choral singing. However it didn't fill me with the same pride in being part of the Church of England as the wedding did last year. That may be in part because it was more of a solemn occasion rather than a joyful one. In the meantime I'm back to preparing to move. I suggested yesterday that I may not continue to Blog but have had a couple of comments asking me to continue. If I do I think I should change the name- I named it when I was preparing to come to college- Vicar Factory. Now I'm leaving college the title no longer makes sense. Perhaps, Vicarfactoryleaving might work. However I probably should have something a bit more consistant with my new life. any ideas?

Monday, 4 June 2012

Last week countdown!

A week today the removal vans will be here. In fact by this tme we should be back on the road to Derbyshire. We had a lovely 24 hours up in Derbyshire over the weekend. We spent friday evening with my sister and her husband which was great fun and very relaxing and then we spent Saturday in our new home. It was great to see the house empty and to be able to start to really imagine whjere things will go. As is often the case some rooms seemed smaller than I remembered, others larger. Its going to be tight sorting out a spare bedroom but we worked out how we can do it. We also measured up for washing machine, dish washer and a cooker, and then went to a local shop to order them. I was so pleaszed to be able to use the local shop and still get a good deal on prices. They are going to deliver on the friday after we move, and will also fit the goods. It is so exciting to being able to plan for and make a home. It's not felt like home for over 4 years. Now back in college we are finishing the packing. We also spent the afternoon down in Wheatley as a garden fete.Wednesday college resumes and we shall have a session on cannon law, then on Thursday its our Leavers Quiet day at a convent. Finally on Friday we shall have the Leavers service where we will be prayed for and our stoles blessed. After that college will be over and we shall say good bye to many friends and leave for our new lives. Its getting so close and I'm still not sure that I feel prepared. At the same time I'm excited and looking forward to starting my new life. I was asked last week if I would still blog- something I'm still making up my mind about.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Two weeks today!

Two weeks today- we will have moved out of this flat and be staying the night at my sisters before moving into the new house on the Tuesday! its all happeiong very fast now. This last week and for the next two weeks we have the Leavers course- with such delights as clergy tax, child protection and other useful things. Along side the course its time for sorting and packing. Last time we moved I had 6 weeks from finishing work until we moved. I spent the last two weeks with very little to do. This time we have far less to tackle as 2/3 of our things are in store, and so except for books there is very little we can pack until the last moment. As a result we have enjoyed a couple of days out, revisiting places we have enjoyed here in Oxfordshire. I'm also busy sorting out insurence and other practical details. Spiritually its a strange time. I have now particular church to belong to now placemetn has finished so I can 'shop' around a little though I mainly worship in a near by large evangelical church. It's a friendly church but large enough that I can be anonymous. There's a strange sense round college of being ever so gently pushed out, no longer needed and the community already reforming behind us. It can feel sad, annoying and difficult at times, and at other times, I feel free and isolated from what has been our life for so long. I'm sure it's the normal experience, rather like a mother bird pushing the fledgling out of the nest. It's time for us to try our wings, be set free and fly. we leave behind security, friends and support, but will learn to be upheld by the wind of the spirit. Life is so exciting, nerve racking and strange but in the centre is God and his love and strength.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

And handed in!

Today I've printed off the dissertation and had it bound by the college library. Its been handed in to my tutor and that's it! Books have been returned to the library and my own books brought back from the spot in the Journal Room where I've worked for the last 2 terms. Now I can make headway in packing the rest of my books. I've also taken part in my last services. I led Morning Prayer yesterday- and it was lovely to have so many people come and tell me how much they enjoyed it. Its great to be affirmed as I prepare to leave. But then this morning I served at the Eucharist and rather muddled the introduction to the Gospel. However a tutor rescued me by saying the response anyway.This evening I read at Evening prayer and that's it. I shall not lead a service again until in parish. It's a weird feeling and yet so exciting to look forward to beginning the task that I've been wanting for so long. It will be 8 years in October since I first approached my Vicar and said I felt God was calling me to ordained ministry. The journey from then on was quite a winding one and at times very fraught. Nut now I've made it. Now the real work starts. Reading other blogs and books I know that the future will be exciting, and at times daunting. But as wer apporach Pentecost my prayer is HSpirit of the Living God fall afresh on me". because only with the power of the holy Spirit can I be the priest God wants me to be.

Monday, 21 May 2012

It Is Finished

the dissertation is finished. Although I need an hour to print two copies off, the actual work and editing is done. Today we started the leavers course- an oppportunity for the college to give us all the lessons they haven;t so far- such as pension and tax information. Later this week we will have the Curates from last year return and tell us what it's realy like! Then next week we have our Incumbents visiting to learn what we have been taught and to spend time getting to know us. After that it will be the final weeks count down!! Can't belive how fast the time is passing. I'm beginning to realise how many people I will miss but at the same time we are returning to Derbyshire where we have many friend and family so there are many plusses. Well off now to babysit and do some sewing, nice not to have to take soem serious reading.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Hail the day that sees him rise

Today began with a 7.30am Eucharist for the Ascension. We normally begin the day with Morning Prayer in the chapel, but on feast days and festivals such as today ( if they aren't a Wednesday!) we begin with a Sung Eucharist in church. I love walking down to church in the sunshine with the birds singing and today was just such a day. My menories of Ascension day before last year go back to my childhood when we had a day off school to celebrate. Our Sunday School always organised a day out by coach after the morning service in church. One year when I was 9 I was asked to do the reading in church. So, in a large Victorian church I stood in the Ambo and read - I'm convinced the reading was John 1- but can't think why it would have been that and not Luke or Acts! To practice for it my mum had me stand at the top of the stairs and read in a loud voice while she stood outside on the street- we did this until she could hear me, no microphones in those days! Now I am preparing to spend most Sundays leading services and preaching from the pulpit. I wonder if the desire to serve God in this way began that Ascension day as I stood looking down on the gathered people and read the word of God? The Ascension marks the point at which Christ's work on earth is fully finished- accomplished. This week should see my dissertation finished! I must get back to it now. Only 3 weeks until I leave college- where has the time gone?

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Friendship- again

When I was moving here 2 years ago I found myself reflecting and therefore blogging quite a bit about friendship. Then I seem to remem80ber that last year as the 2nd years prepared to leave I blogged again! now its my time to leave and it has me thinking again about the nature of friendship. When I looked at our Christmas card list it numbers 80+ , I culled that number to 40 to send Ember cards inviting friends and family to the cathedral and after party, while sending one to everyone in college. However I sent those and 20 of the friends ones by email to save on paper and postage. But it got me thinking about who we call our freinds and how we assess our friends for different events etc in our lives. I have friends all over the country- and even a few abroad. Some of my friends go back to my school days, others are recent friends made while here at college. But one thing I've learnt over the years is that good friends are there when ever you need them. When I found out about my first husbands affair, the friend I turned to was an old college friend who I hadn't seen for about 4 years but who I had kept in touch with.I have friends I made after that through a divorce support group who we'll be meeting up with this weekend- 10 years after first meeting. These days we don't see each other very often but the friendship is still important to us all. Today I spent a few hours with a friend from college who left last summer, She lives on the south coast and I shall be living in Derbyshire but we will still keep in touch and meet up when we can- knowing that we will be able to empathise and support each other in this ministry to which we have been called. but on earth two people are extrmeely special friends- they are my husband and my sister. Yet how aoften do I tell them how special they are? Something to ponder and work on!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Four Weeks Today

Four weeks today we will have had our leavers service! I can't beieive it's so close. My dissertation has been approved by my supervisor and though she has recommended aa few changes its up to me whether I do them. I shall make the changes and then print it and hand it in. I've arranged with the phone company to have this flats phone cut and the new one 'switched' on. Its all getting very exciting. Tomorrow is the village church summer fete which is the main fundraiser and which all college students are helping with. Because I was one of the sacristans for the last year it has fallen to myself and fellow sacristan to organise the college side of things. This has been made more difficult with the Themed Study week this last week. However by tomorrow evening it wioll all be over and my offical duties finished. At least I'll have an idea what is involved in the future! The TSW or me was Financial leadership- it was more interesting than it sounds. I now feel I have some background for the accounts in a church. Well non of this is very reflective but that can follow

Monday, 7 May 2012

It is Finished- wel nearly!!

Today I handed in the first draft of my dissertation. I'm hoping that it will come back with very little changes or additions needed. I have to finish the theological reflection and conclusion but otherwise I'm hoping its all going to be done by the end of next week. I've got the boxes to start packing and hope to have some time this week to do some of it. This week we have a themed study week and I've chosen to do Financial leadership. its an area I feel unprepared for and so far the course is proving a very useful and informative use of time. I finished my role as sacristan at easter but have still to co-ordinate the collges role at the Summer fete which is happening on Saturday. Another steep learning curve but we are nearly there. Life is getting very busy and it feels as if we will be moving very soon- well 5 weeks today we will have left the flat so it is coming soon! I have just received my rotas for July and August for my curacy which is exciting and daunting by equal measure, especially as I;ve been put down to be in two places at the same time on one date!!! I'm sure that this is an error and I'll be given just one to do.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Significant countdown begins

A number of my friends from college are seriously beginning to countdown to the Leavers service and moving out. Someone suggested 40 days but another who has a countdown clock going on his Blog suggested it was just under 38 days- depending on what time you plan to actually move out. So it seems its 37 hours until the service and in my case 41 days to moving!! That feels rather like a lenten excercise - with 40 days to prepare. On a more serious note I did go to the Eucharist yesterday afternoon and was very glad I had done so. I was able to come to terms with what had happened in the morning, to ask forgiveness for my own emotional response to the situation, and to feel God's forgiveness. Today is a new day and I'm making a real effort to write up my dissertation. Blogging being a short break after hours of trying to tabulate information on 11 churches! Now its lunchtime and then I'm back to the grindstone. ps Seem to have lost the ability to spellcheck with the new blogger look and so please excuse typing errors.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Community Living

For most of my time at college I have loved community living- and enjoyed the company of so many different people. My husband has not found it so easy. So when soemthing happened that he could offer his skills to help I was pleased that without hesitation he told me to let the person concerned know he would help. Unfortunately someone else took it upon themselves to send an email which was not particularly diplomatic or pleasent and as a result my husband withdrew his offer of help. I've played mediator this morning but have been left feeling very unsettled and glad that soon we will have moved. My feeling of disquiet is not helped by the knowledge that tonights service is a creative Eucharist and we are being asked to take part in a role play. I would prefer a straight forward time with God and for the first time since coming to college am actually contemplating not attending a service. However, now I've written it out and with some time of prayer this afternoon perhaps I'll feel ready to worship in a creative way. On another front, the boxes are ordered so we will soon be getting on with packing.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

The End is in Sight- nearly!

I'm still working on the dissertation this week I seem to have managed to get into a place where I know where I'm heading with it. I'm about half way through and I'm aiming to get done by the end of next week. In the meantime college continues- and now there is a feeling of the end is in sight- every so often I catch myself thinking "how many more of these will I be doing?" I realised today that there are some aspects of college life that I'm bored with- it worried me momentarily but then I realsied that it was natural. Gradually I'm letting go of this life and preparing for the new life to come. Over the last few weeks I have been given the rota and dates for various events over months until Christmas, which brings the future so much closer and make it feel real. I've also ordered all my clerical wear and started to look for things that we need for the house. I've prepared an ember card and invite which I've emailed out to as many people as I can, the rest I'll print off and send by post over the weekend. Last week I also made a flying visit back to derbyshire to complete CRB check forms, delived copies of reams of paper to the registrar and had an appointment with the Clergy tax people. Life is getting exciting!

Thursday, 19 April 2012


I came here to blog because I had received such encouragement and learnt so much from reading other peoples blogs. I continue to read blogs, and am always delighted when I find a new blog to follow. This happened a couple of days ago when I found Rev Jeans blog, the blog of a Self supporting minister down in Cornwall. I have read the whole blog over a couple of evenings and smiled, wept and been inspired by her talk of ministry.
I have wondered how I will be able to go on blogging once I'm a curate but having read a number of blogs from people who are both curates and vicars, I think I shall continue to blog- if only because I enjoy rereading my entries some time later. Of course I shall have to take care with what I blog but as it is really about my reflections on what God is teaching me I hope I can continues with integrity.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

One more step along the road I go

This song came to me today as I walked down Cowley Rd to go and order my ordination stole- a gift from my mother. I've now ordered 6 clerical shirts and collars- had 4 delivered, a long black cloak, a black preaching scarf and a set of stoles, plus the ordination stole. They are just more steps along the way to the move and ordination. My dissertation has moved on a bit- literature review just about complete and half the background to the research written, now I just have to finish the rest of the methodology and I can start writing up what I actually did, found and what it all means! Then I can breath a sigh of relief and concentrate on moving and settling into the new role.
I'm so looking forward to being able to pick up a book to read as relaxation rather than study. I've also got lots of needlecraft ideas I want to have a go at as a way to relax from work.( I suspect that often what I shall be doing won't feel at all like work!)

Monday, 16 April 2012

56 days to be exact!

I tried to post the other day but hit the wrong button and then couldn't get the incentive to try again. It's 56 days until we move out of this flat and into our new home- I'm both excited and daunted at all we have to do before then- and the fact that I can;'t arrange to do much of it until after the present curate has moved out.
Saturday I discussed buying and delivery of electrical goods with a large retailed and hopefully that should be possible during the Jubilee weekend when I hope to have a few days up north. meantime I'm battling on with my dissertation- and a battle it feels like at the moment. I know what I want to say but struggle to out it into writing.
On a more positive front, the college community has been enlarged over the weekend by the birth of two babies which we are all rejoicing in. Its lovely to have seen babies born ans see them grow up while we have been here, and one disappointment is that with these new two we are unlikely to see them in the same way. However, I shall become a grandmother in August and 'll be thrilled to cuddle my sons first child.
Have tried to put a picture on here unsuccessfully!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Just because I can!

This was my last Holy week and Easter Sunday for many years where I could choose what I wanted to do and how I wanted to worship. As a result I've worshipped in three different churches and picked the services which seemed to be where I was spiritually. Unlike last year when Easter worship was held in college and I was on the go from 10.30am on Maundy Thursday until 5pm on Easter Sunday this year I've had a much more leisurely approach to the whole season. As a result I've had more time to reflect on the Passion, and at the same time have come out from it far less tired or emotionally wrung out. With the build up to leaving college in 9 weeks and then ordination 3 weeks later that's probably just as well.
My highlight was probably the Easter morning service today. It was genuinely All Age liturgical service with a baptism of three of the young people from college- all old enough to make the proclamations for themselves and who all really participated in all that was happening. Also the service was the first communion for a young girl who had been confirmed yesterday evening in Christ Church Cathedral. Her look of pure joy as she returned from receiving is something 'll be along time forgetting.
Good Friday I sat at home and watched the Preston Passion and was very moved by the whole event. I felt the BBC and who ever else was involved in putting it together did an excellent job. Then this morning when I came home from church I watched a friend on Youtube in a Flash Alleluia Chorus at Derby's shopping centre- it was excellent and seemed to draw a large crowd.
All in all a wonderful time of remembering all that Christ did for us.
In between I've visited my youngest son and had a lovely time with him ( and so in depth discussion about faith) and spent time with K's family.
now the countdown truly starts to the end of college- just 16000 words of my dissertation to go!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Reasons for blogging

When I started blogging back in June 2010 one of the reasons was to give help and information for anyone else looking to walk the same path. I'd received a great deal of encouragement from reading the blog of someone who was already at college. Yesterday I received an email from someone who has read this blog and found it helpful as they travel towards BAP and possible training. Today I met them as they came to college to look round and have an interview. It was a great joy to know that my burbling away ( or reflecting if I'm being serious) has been useful to someone else.
The last week has been a holiday from college and dissertation. First a visit to Derbyshire to revisit the house and measure up for curtains and remind myself of what size the rooms are. I also met with my Training Supervisor and filled in the diary from now until Christmas, including the first sermon and school assembly. Suddenly it all felt real! The holiday then continued with visits to family and friends.
Now its back to work on the dissertation- a day in the library yesterday making notes and today typing up my ideas on sacred space.
91 days until ordination, 70 until we move !!!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Oh the Joy!

Today has been joyful for two reasons. The first- it's Mothering Sunday and for the first time in quite a few years I got a card from my eldest son and telephone calls from the other two. I realise that I have my son's girlfriend to thank for him sending me a card- but then I remember prompting his father to send cards to his family so am not upset- it was such a joy to receive it. Added to that I'm going up to Derbyshire on Thursday and will be going to eat with them which will actually be a third joy!
For the second joy was the BCP communion service this morning when the Vicar who has been my placement supervisor for the last year graciously gave me the opportunity to lead the service up until the prayer of consecration. It was such a joy to stand before the altar and say the prayers on behalf of the congregation . Being a BCP is stood and faced Eastward away from the congregation except for the parts in which I addressed the congregation. I had anticipated that feeling strange but instead it felt natural and right as I offered the prayers of the people to their and my God. It was also very intense when I prayed about what Jesus had done with the elements of bread and wine in front of me and the crucifix above. So a taste of what is to come in July 2013 when I shall be priested and allowed to lead the whole service.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Farewell already!

It seemed impossible but this morning we had our farewell service at the village church. We began our duties on Palm Sunday and now nearly a year later its all over with. I've learned a lot during the year, and enjoyed most of it. But now I'm ready to move on- we have three months until we leave college. I'm champing at the bit to be moving on as are most of my friends here. We've tasted what we are preparing to be doing and can't wait to really start working. We then had a lovely lunch with my partner sacristan and his wife. A lovely young couple- we are old enough to be their parents, but in college where we are all learning together and share the same love of God, age doesn't matter and we all get along together.
We've one more week of this term left, and I've got a couple of interviews for my dissertation research then its five weeks holiday. I plan to really get my head down and write the remaining 17500 words!
Yesterday we went for a day out in Painswick and Stroud. I hadn't planned to do any research but as always we went into the village church and was pleasantly surprised to find they were doing many of the things I am going to suggest is how churches should be reaching out to their visitors. So out came the camera and I made a number of notes. More for me to write about! Then in Stroud we visited a Christian bookshop where we took part in the Big Brew and I delved into the second hand books and came away with 6 books for £8 So all in all a very good day. Oh and the sun shone and the daffodils were nodding their golden heads and it felt wonderful.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Countdown continues

Just counted up the day until we leave and move. Ninety three days until our leavers service! Its likely to be the Tuesday of the following week before we can move into our new home as their is still a curate in post. However it will happen sometime between June 8th and July 1st. I've loved college and all the friends I have made here but as the time grows closer to the move it is increasingly hard to live in the present rather than looking ahead to the future- especially as so much has to be done in preparation and planning. I've just got off the phone from the removal company who have most of our possessions in storage and who moved us here. They are going to send me a quote and I'm blogging while I await a call back from another removal company and I have a third booked in to give me a quote next week. Then this weekend I was discussing the after service meal for all who will be coming to my ordination, with my sister who has agreed to do the catering for me. The latter being necessary as I shall be on retreat from the Wednesday before until the morning of the service. Then as I blogged last week there is all the purchasing of clerical clothes and vestments and the diocese have sent me forms to fill in. Yesterday we had the penultimate lecture on curacy with a discussion of what its like to be second fiddle. Then my partner sacristan and I have our final service on Sunday when the church will say farewell to us. Of course we will still worship there during the week but will no longer have duties to fulfill. All in all life is unremittingly moving towards leaving.
But isn't that a parable of our christian life - our life on earth is a preparation for our future with the King. I've sometimes thought when I've heard of the 'prophecies' about the end of the world that it can't happen yet as I've not started the ministry I believe God has called me to- and it would be so disappointing after all the battles to get here!!! But then this morning as the thought flitted through my brain again ( no idea why!) I realised that if I truly believe in what scripture teaches about the after life, about the Kingdom of god and the New heavens and new earth, then all the preparation and teaching is just a fore runner to what ever god has for me in the future. I think I need to reread Tom Wrights Surprised by Hope to get a clearer vision of this.

Sunday, 4 March 2012


I've been busy over since Friday as my sister came to stay. She'd never been to Cuddesdon while I've been here so was really excited to come and see where I've been living. My sister and I are very close- there are only 14 months between us and though as with most siblings we argued and fell out as teenaagers we have long since become close and enjoy each others company. I'd go as far as saying shes my best friend after K and certainly the one person I prefer to shop with!
This weekend was a great weekend for ehr to visit, as I was able to swap guest night and so we were able to enjoy a lovely meal and company on Friday night. Yesterday we explored parts of the Cotswold's which were new to her. It was so wonderful just to laugh and share stories as we travelled around. then last night K and I took her out to the local pub for a meal.
Today she left early to return home and I had my church duties. Quite a busy day particularly as it rained then snowed this morning so I drove to the next village to collect K from his service.
Now I'm trying to motivate myself to make real progress this week on my dissertation. Most of the research is done and so I have no excuse not to be writing!
back to families- there are many humorous cartoons etc about the difference between family and friends. However I give thanks to God for all my family, K, my boys my sisters and my mum. God is good!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tat and all that

Yesterday was the annual Tat fair where those to be ordained this summer spend their Tat grant on such niceties as clerical shirts, 'Scottish Widows' cloak and stoles. For three hours we trialled round the different suppliers comparing quality, price and cut before making decisions. I'd already ordered 3 shirts from a supplier that came two weeks ago but wanted another 3. In the end I purchased 4 as there was a Fair Trade stall which had just what I wanted and did an offer on 4. Cloak was easily decided on but the stole!!! I went round and round trying to decide which symbol I liked with which material. Unfortunately my favourite Celtic cross wasn't available with my favourite material so back to thinking about it.
As I've already commented what we wear seems to say so much about what we believe and what sort of priest we think we will be- and I'm still trying to work that out!!!
In the meantime I have also turned my attention to Ember Cards , looking to get some printed to send out details of the Ordination service and the change of address. What surprised me was that most entries on Google for Ember cards were for some sort of game. however I shall have a simple design printed by one of the printers and then hopefully get them posted after Easter.
Today I'm off to do some more research for my dissertation - an interview with a Vicar of the church where CS Lewis worshipped, and some more writing on said dissertation.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


There's the old joke that priests only work on Sunday's and so for ordinands the same could be said to hold true- particularly this term when I have 2 lectures on Monday and that's it! However Sundays often make up for it with multiple services. In fact today I was only due to serve at the morning Eucharist. This was my last time as sacristan as next week my other half of the sacristan team is on duty and the following week is our farewell from the churches. Is it really a year since we started - how the time has flown. I've learnt so much in the last twelve months and become proficient at setting up for the service and coping with whatever slip ups come!
Today having been to Cuddesdon in the morning I accompanied K to the Wheatley Churches together lenten programme which was an interesting talk on what the Roman Catholics believe followed by question and answers. It was good to meet other Christians in the world outside college and to socialise with K.
This evening I attended college Compline. This is a daily service but it isn;t compulsory and so for most of the time here I've not gone. However as part of my lenten discipline I've decided to attend each day. Its a lovely peaceful service which prepares for sleep. As I sang along tonight I felt drawn into the Call the Midwife programme which often showed the nuns singing compline. Now its time for bed and the tomorrow is the start of a new week and more work on my dissertation.

Saturday, 25 February 2012


It was a lovely day today- blue skys and warmer than we should expect for February. So off we went to Salisbury. It's one of those places we had said we would visit before we left Cuddesdon- afterall from here its only just over and hour and a half whereas from Derbyshire its 4 hours or more. We arrived in time for a quick lunch and then a wander round the market before finding our way to the Cathedral.
Inspiring, wonderful, it reminded me of the Starbridge novels which of course are based on Salisbury. Once inside we wondered for a couple of hours taking it all in- stopping to pray when the Chaplain on duty for the day invited us to join him. I love the fact that in cathedrals across the country on the hour all stops for a short time of prayer. I was pleased today to see that most in the cathedral paused and a number joined in the Lord's Prayer.
I'm always amazed at what our ancestors managed to build with their basic technology. In salisbury tehre is a model showing how the Cathedralwas built which along with a couple of books I have read recently really demonstrated the wonder of what they did. And it was all for God's glory- to lift mans eyes to the ehavens and to bring glory to the Creator of all.
I'm thinking of 'collecting' cathedrals- so far those visited are
Derby, Durham, Blackburn (where I sang in Songs of Praise at the age of 16)Exeter, Ely, Wells, Christ Church Oxford, York, Sheffield, Newport, Salisbury, St Pauls, St Peters Rome, Lincoln, Coventry (old and New) Lichfield, Truro, Winchester. Actually having listed them I'm not doing to badly- but still a few to go!!! Any recommendations?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Evening Prayer

most days we have evening prayer and this term its BCP. However on a Friday we have A service of the Word which allows the officiant to form as service as they please and usually involves more contemporary music. This evenings service was based on pilgrimage and was a lovely reflective service. For me the most inspiring part was singing the Song O God You search me.

O God you search me and you know me,
All my thoughts lie open to your gaze.
When I walk or lie down you are before me:
Ever the maker and keeper of my days.

You know my resting and my rising.
You discern my purpose from afar,
And with love everlasting you besiege me:
In every moment of life and death, you are.

Before a word is on my tongue, Lord,
You known it's meaning all the way through,
You are with me beyond my understanding:
God of my present, past and future, too.

Although your spirit is upon me,
Still I search for shelter from your light.
There is nowhere on earth I can escape you:
Even the darkness is radiant in your light.

For you created me and shaped me,
Gave me life within my mother's womb.
For the wonder of who I am I praise you:
Safe in your hands, all creation is made new.

Bernadette Farrell. Based on Psalm 139

We snag it in the service and then at the end the musicians played it again and some of us sat and sang it quietly.
Now I can't get it out of my head- only problem I can't remember all the words.
Off tomorrow for a day out with K in Salisbury.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


So we enter the season of Lent again. Yesterday was both Ash Wednesday and a quiet day here in college. For the first time since I came to college I really enjoyed the quiet day. This in part was because I knew what to expect and so had planned carefully how I would spend the day. partly I think as well because I was so ready to have a quiet day.
The day started actually the evening before with compline and short address. Then yesterday after breakfast we had morning prayer and an address 9 on Poverty) from one of the Sisters of the Begbrooke convent. The sisters will be moving to live in a new building here at Cuddesdon. I spent the next couple of hours rereading my journal and making fresh reflections in it. Then we were back in church for Ashing and Eucharist. This was accompanied by a second address on Obedience then while everyone else moved to lunch I went out of college to spend 4 hours away on my own- walking along the Thames. Returning I read a book about fresh expressions in a cathedral. Then it was on to church and the evening prayer with address about chastity. We had a silent evening meal, and at 9.30pm there was an optional compline which had a Taize base- a lovely end to a peaceful day with God.
What I have taken away from yesterday was the need to prepare and plan for quiet days/retreats and that I need this time out with God regularly. I'm looking forward now to the three days of pre-ordination retreat in the diocese.
Today I've spent the day out from college visiting a number of churches to do research for my dissertation. I took a checklist of things I was looking for and then made comments on what I observed. This will now be written up into a chapter for my dissertation of 20000 words! I also took loads of photo's so they can find their place in it as well. I'm not as far on with the dissertation I was hoping to be- partly because I've allowed myself to be distracted easily. With that in mind my lenten disciplines are going to be - no TV before 7pm - I'm easily hooked on Countdown and escape to the Country!! And I'm not going to look at Facebook, Blogs etc until the evening. I will check emails during the day because most college communication is through email. I will also try and blog a reflection each day as I did last year- but not until the evening!!

In the meantime I'm going to watch the programme about the training of catholic priest and see how different it is to my training.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

This is the life

Since yesterday morning I've hardly been at home, other than to pop in and grab a coffee before dashing off again. Yesterday it was a combination of lectures and plans for a creative worship which I was involved in. Today it ahs been a funeral which was rather unusual. We started with a short graveside committal service, followed by a lovely cooked lunch before going over to another church for a celebration of life. It was a lovely service and celebration of a wonderful Christian mother and grnadmother. The whole family contributed to the service and made it very personal and special. As kevin kept saying when I apologised for having to dash off again- this is your life now we need to get used to it!!
Then I returned to college and the first of the 'Tat' suppliers was showing their wares. So I have ordered three tailored balck blouses and collars. I shall order another three from another supplier when the rest come in a fortnight so I can see how well they wash and wear. It was rather daunting and at the same time very exciting to try on the shirt and collar and see how I'll look in 4 months. This is coming very quickly now and I can't wait :)
Our creative worship yesterday was - well creative. We decided to reclaim Valentines day for God and celebrate His love rather human love. both of my fellow planners had come to the meeting with the idea of restaurant/food and so we went with that as our format. We set up a lecture room as a cafe with snmall tables and candles, and then invited people to take a seat and we began with a welcome and singing Love Divine. we then came to the Word section- we served pitta bread to be shared at each table and dipped into olive oil, while readings about the love of God were listened to, then vinegar as someoen read about the paqssion of Christ, and we finished with honey and readings about gods love and how we should share it with others. We then responded to the Word of God by singing How deep the Fathers love. For our intercessions we handed out heart shaped post it notes and asked everyone to write a prayer on the front thanking God for His love and writing on the back someone or something that was in the ened of God's love. These were then stuck on a gold card cross which slowly turned pink from the hearts. I've participated ( and led) similar intercessions before but yesterday I was amazed at the sense of prayer in the room as we wrote our prayers. We went on to say the Lord's prayer and then concluded by singing 'Here is Love Vast as the Ocean', and 'ANd can it Be?' We had a number of positive comments from people as they left and tomorrow we will have a review from the Liturgy tutor. I really enjoyed being involved in the planning of this service and seeing it excuted while I took a back seat this time. I feel so fulfilled and the sense of 'this is what I was born for' in these situations.
Tomorrow I am to deacon for a Bishop at the College Eucharist- an American Female Bishop. Should be interesting!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Time passes

I feel as if I should be posting more often- after all this blog was started in order to reflect on my training and one of the major elements of training is theological reflection! However as I try to get a grip ion my dissertation ( rather like trying to grab a jelly!) I don;t find my mind finds it easy to reflect. We continue to countdown to the move- which only makes writing the dissertation more urgent. I had hoped to have it done by the end of the Easter break but I've already moved that deadline to the 20th May. From the 21st May we are on to the Leavers course at college and then time will really fly by!
Leaver's Course- this is really going to happen- I am going to complete my course, hand over duties of sacristan and move on from college to curacy! Part of me longs for the day, longs to be out and doing what I feel God has called me to do. The other part feels so at home here with the friends that I have made that I wonder how I'll ever cope away from college. Most days the former triumphs but just occasionally the latter gets a grip.
Meantime next week and the week after we will have the college 'Tat fair' ( Tat for the uninitiated is the name given to all liturgical dress and soft furnishings). There we will be able to select stoles, clergy shirts etc and begin to think through what our clothes will say about the sort of priest we want to be. When I came to college I was planning to wear coloured clerical shirts ( if for no other reason than I don't look good in black I'm told!) But as time has gone on I feel that I want to wear black but I'm not sure why! I don;t think I've become more catholic in my views but do think it seems to speak more about being a priest and representing God. At the end of the day it will be a uniform not a fashion statement! Decision, decisions!
Time now to go and get changed into a suitable outfit for a funeral visit.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

142 days to go

I realised today there are 142 days until I finish college! Last time I was counting down days there were 10 to go until I left my last job before coming to college. How quickly time has passed and I'm sure the next 142 days will pass even more quickly. I won;t post everyday as I did when there were only 10 to count but it has given me much to reflect on. I'm coming to the realisation of what this next step will mean- and wondering whether I will ever be good enough. then I know the answer- no I won;t without the strength, wisdom and blessing of God. But I also know he chose me and that this life is not one I chose but one which God has called me to. At Group worship this morning we prayed for each other and I asked for prayer that God would fill me afresh with His Holy Spirit. Only with His spirit will I be able to do what He wants me to. I am going to try and post more regularly as I reflect on all that is to come.

Monday, 16 January 2012


Its been a while since I posted, in part because life has just meandered on and in part because I've been away for a few days. The new year has come, college has started and I've settled back into community life which is slowly beginning to feel a 'real' community again. Its hard to describe a how different last term was as new students started and we missed those who had left. But now we are gelling together.
This evening my group was on leading worship and 4 of us had planned a Creative Worship- two of us from the 2nd year , two from the first and we worked well as a team.
We decided that as it was the beginning of a New Year and a new term we would use parts of the Methodist Covenant Service. It was a lovely time of reflection and rededication and touched quite a few people judging by the comments made afterwards.
Although an Anglican I love the covenant prayer which has been very special to me at key points in my journey here. For those who don't know it here it is:
'I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.'

We gave people 5 minutes of silence to reflect on the words they would be going to say and as I reread them and reflected I was struck particularly by the phrase
"let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,"

and had to ask myself did I really mean it. It is easy for em to say yes to being emloyed by God- but laid aside- how hard I would find that. Yet if I truly want to be what ever God wants me to be, truly want to do whatever He wants, truly want to put God first then I have to be willing for that to include being laid aside. I wrestled with that through the silence and though I prayed it and meant it- I expect I'll have to keep saying yes to it.