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Dibley Doodles

It has been a funny sort of a week in and around Dibley, rather disjointed yet with a few moments of connection-making and new insight.

Being carless (or at least active car-less) until Friday meant lots of public transport with all the attendent hassles.  On Tuesday a twenty minute walk to a suitable bus stop for a ten minute ride to the next town for a one hour meeting.  Then a ten minute wait for the same bus inorder to return the long way round taking 40 minutes!  On Thursday a lift to a railway station taking 20 mins in order to catch two trains to get me to Manchester in just under 3 hours and then the reverse journey taking over 4 due to delays and cancellations.  It made me appreciate what it is like having to rely on public transport when you don't live near Oxford Road in Manchester or Oxford St in London!  New Saxo, I am glad to have you!

It was rather odd being in Manchester for another 'end of era' event with my final NAM conference before Min Rec (by any other name) in December.  Seven years' association with NBC reached it's conclusion - how fast it has gone by and how much has happened in that time.  It was good to catch up with friends and also to recognise that the time has come to move on.  Of course like a bad penny or Arnie 'I'll be back' if only when I visit the university as part of my ongoing studies.

The Church Meeting on Thursday was one of those 'wow' things where you walk away wondering how you got from A to B so painlessly!  We agreed to release funds for the essential manse repairs (costing about £1k), agreed to spend money on mission/outreach in a pub and even managed to home in on the central themes of mission, fellowship and worship (in that order) for our discussion with D+1, with only one person wanting us to focus on buildings and none on finance, governance or admin, let alone the colour of the hymnbook.

Yesterday we took the wrinklies to Southend (well, strictly Westcliffe on Sea) for the day and had a great time in sweltering sunshine.  We set off with 24 and came back with the same 24, despite one or two ladies hoping they might have been kidnapped by a nice young man!

All of this seems quite disparate and yet at the same time it links up and connects with the parable of the sower we looked at today, and my emphasis that the sower must risk a portion of last year's harvest in order to sow this year - and that this year's harvest provides the seed for the next sowing.  I risked a lot when I left work to train for ministry and yet the sowing of my time, money and intellect gave an abundant harvest of new insights, new visions and new energy.  I have NBC and the congregations I worked in Manchester to thank for providing the soil - good, rocky and thorny - that yielded another harvest.  Being in a small Home Mission funded church is risky but I have invested my time and talent in working with the good folk to here towards another harvest: twenty four wrinklies in the sun at the seaside is a good harvest from the first planting!  Part of seed from my last academic training is being replanted as I work towards a higher degree and the potential harvest of new knowledge that can once more be reinvested for the future.

When I set out on this path in 1997, when I began training in 1999, when I was called in 2003 and settled in 2004 I had no idea what type of 'soil' I was sowing with the precious seed.  Yet each time despite the struggles and frustrations the God of all eternity has returned me a harvest many times over.  Not always what I wanted, rarely what I expected, but the harvest that gives me the seed for another season.

This all feels a bit waffly and self-indulgent but it has been good to see that in the muddle of an ordinary week there are still extraordinary things happening.

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