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- Page 4

  • The Unsettlement Process

    Eleven years ago I left 'vicar school' with no idea what the future held.  After meeting several churches and two 'preaches with a view' (sole nominee in Scottish speak) I had no call.  It was hard, really hard.  The college and the union were wonderfully supportive, and I remember being told by an experienced minister that this happens every year... for no obvious reason some of the most gifted and talented and, well, divinely called people don't settle in the average time frame.  Obviously I did settle, and I will always be grateful to Dibley who took a chance on me then, and the Gathering Place who still do so now.

    This year I know of three people - two women and one man - who have fallen foul of that same system.  All three are gifted... one I know first hand, they do supply preaching for us, two I know by repute.  And it sucks - big time.  The reasons they don't settle are, frankly, petty and judgemental, excuses given after meeting them that were obvious from their profiles submitted ahead of time.

    I believe in the settlement process, for all its flaws and failings, I just wish God didn't have to have a Plan B and plan C and a plan D for some of the best ministers.  In the end, the churches that take the risks get the blessings, and the churches that say no lose out.  But when you're going through it, it's rubbish.

    Thoughts and prayers with H, B and L that I know of, and others that I don't.

  • A Day in the Life...

    I began my day by checking the current VAT rate and sending out emails on various administrative and premises related topics.  I had it in mind to write one of those "things they don't teach you at vicar school" posts, then events overtook me.

    There was a phone call to return to a local faith-related organisation to give them our detials for a new directory they are creating.  Then a meeting with someone from a Christian arts/music organisation.  Then a very important pastoral matter to attend to.  There was the 'letter' to write for the monthly newsletter and my annual minister's report to finalise.  There are sill a whole heap of jobs not begun let alone done... my desk is still buried under candles and books, I still haven't begun either of the book reviews due by the end of this month...

    But, as I near knocking off time after a reasonably 'normal' length day, I know that this role is characterised by enormous privleges that outweigh any frustrations at not getting done all - or sometimes even any - of what I had planned.  As the old adage goes, "tell God your plans and she laughs..."

  • I see the moon...


    I love looking at the moon, and where I live I can often look out on a clear night and admire its silvery beauty.

    Last night was such a night.

    At various key moments of life, happy and sad, I have chosen to look at the moon which keeps silent vigil over all life.  I think that's why I love the moon so much... its 'softer gleam' bathes the earth in the dark watches of night and signals constancy when all around changes... the same moon watched over Gethsemane and Bethlehem... the same moon will watch over earth long after I am gone and forgotten, and that somehow gives me comfort.

  • Summer's End...

    This morning we wrapped up our Commonwealth Games themed services with a 'closing ceremony' in which we contemplated passing on the baton - the stories, the values, the faith that has been entrusted to us by those who went before us.

    As a church, and as a nation, we have massive decisions to make this autumn, but whatever the outcome- whether it is all we dream of or our worst nightmare realised - the gospel is unchanged and is the unique gift we bring to a broken and battered world.

    The summer has not been all plain sailing, there have been challenges along the way, but, as it draws to its natural end, I feel energised and exhilerated... and just a little bit exhaustificated!! 

    Two free Sundays now before the autumn term gets underway.


  • Changing the World - One Starfish at a Time

    Conversations and reflections this morning have led me to recall this modern day parable...

    One morning an adult was walking on a nearly deserted beach. He came upon a child surrounded by thousands and thousands of starfish. As eagerly as he could, the youngster was picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean.

    Puzzled, the adult looked at the young child and asked, "Little one, what are you doing?"

    The child responded without looking up, "I'm trying to save these starfish."

    The adult chuckled aloud, and queried, "There are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?"

    Holding a starfish in their hand, the child turned to the adult and, gently tossing the starfish into the water, said, "It will make a difference to that one!"