Jan 012012

I’m not given to writing retrospectives, so this isn’t a look back on last year (which was, to be fair, eventful enough). Rather, this marks the start of a year (and more) of very new things indeed.

I’ve also been a bit reluctant to blog about the most recent developments in my application process. The last time I blogged it was to note that things were progressing. Well, they have now progressed to the point where I shall be preaching as sole nominee on the 15th of January at Kirriemuir: St. Andrew’s linked with Oathlaw Tannadice. The main reason I’ve been reluctant to blog about it is that I don’t really want to settle into a sense of complacency about it, or to give any sense of it being a foregone conclusion. It felt that writing about it would be, in a bizarre sense, a betrayal of trust. However, it’s now public knowledge that I will be preaching as sole nominee and so, admitting it here isn’t a big deal. That said, I still don’t want to feel complacent about it, despite the reassuring noises from all and sundry.

As that date races into view though, and as phone calls and emails start coming in to make tentative arrangements for an ordination and induction, the reality of major upheaval in the near future is beginning to dawn on me. There’s the logistics of moving – but having to keep the current house going so that school can be finished. There’s also the daunting prospect of settling into a first charge – getting to know people, avoiding upsetting familiar routines (initially anyway), planning, doing, rushing around mad wondering why on earth I ever thought this was a good idea.

There’s a bit of me that wants to hold back and hide behind the idea that ‘it’s not settled yet!’ After all, I still have to be voted for by the two congregations. and yet, when I get a church calendar in the post, with the encouraging message that it’s for my new study, then it all seems a little less daunting (if still somewhat presumptuous) and I can let a bit of the excitement sneak through. And I am excited. I’ve met some of the people and, I think, made a good connection – one which I’m keen to develop. The area is beautiful. The churches are keen to develop. There’s some great work being done as part of a wider area ministry. School chaplaincy work. And the list goes on. All exciting and appealing.

In may ways it’s not what I had initially been looking for, but any so many more ways, it’s more than I’d considered. And perhaps the biggest clincher is that it has been received very positively by everyone in the family. That’s always been a big part in my discernment of the ‘you’ll just know’ advice that has come from many quarters. And that’s exciting too, because it is vindication of lots of advice and direction and prayerful consideration.

So, a new year; soon a new start. But, first things first – I still need to decide what to preach on on the 15th.

Jan 052009

I haven’t blogged properly for a little while and so the beginning of a new year seems like a good place to pick it up again. But first the formalities – I hope those who may be reading had a relaxing and joyful Christmas and that you are blessed in the coming year.

I don’t generally do ‘looking back’ but I guess it’s been a year with some pretty momentous (for me anyway) events. I guess being selected as a candidate has to be considered a ‘biggie’ and I could add other things like conferences, placement and so on. And I suppose it’s only right to acknowledge their significance. But looking back at them I don’t feel any particular sense of achievement as such. Had I gained these things through my own efforts or my own hard work or my own diligence then I could rightly note them as achievements. However, that’s not how I look at them, especially in retrospect. All that I have done is tried faithfully to tread the path that I feel God is urging me along. I suppose that’s a pretty big ‘all’ when you think about it, but there’s a sense of ‘rightness’ about it that makes the events of the past year less momentous. That’s not to diminish their significance but simply to note that following God should be the rule rather than the exception and so such things become, in a sense, unexceptional.

Looking forward is a rather different matter. There’s the old joke that if you want to give God a laugh, tell Him your plans. I’ve given up on plans (sort of). Mine never seem to work out anyway. So, rather than plans there are hopes. There is the hope that I can continue to sense what that right path is. This is particularly true for when it comes to putting in place my options for future placements and, looking further ahead still, probation. There is a possibility that I might be able to do my summer placement in one of the European locations. That might sound like a ready-made holiday, but there are lots of family considerations to account for. There’s also the pretty major issue of what I’ll be doing after the summer. Do I go back for a Masters or do I push for a part-time, paid, post somewhere to get experience and cash? That’s actually something that will need resolved sooner rather than later as I’ll need, at least, to apply for a Masters place by the end of March, which means investigating options before that.

In the meantime there’s still the small issue of finishing fourth year.

And that’s just me. There are also some ‘minor’ family matters looming like my older daughter going to uni or possibly embarking on a gap year later this year.

Ah well, to take a liberty with scripture, I will not be anxious about tomorrow and let tomorrow take care of itself. Rather, I will continue to seek God’s Kingdom and allow it to add what it will.