I’m at that point where I’m counting down the weeks to leaving my job. I have two count downs. One for number of teaching weeks left (8) and one for actually leaving my post (15). Counting down was fun at first (and still is really) but I do actually like my job and the students more so. I know what I’m doing, comfortable doing it and enjoy working with the students. Yup, I’ve said students twice now as really they make up for all the political rubbish we have to put up with.
So I find myself in an interesting place of not having to plan for the next academic year for my own teaching sessions but for myself as a student. The preliminary reading list from Ripon College Cuddesdon arrived last week. I already have a few books on the list and hope to get through it during the summer. A retired priest friend of mine said I didn’t have to read the lot to which I said How disappointing! Yet still being at work is hampering my reading as I’m tired at the end of the day and flipping my thoughts from work to theology is easier some days than others.
In other news, my vicar Clive, has offered me the chance to learn how to Deacon. I’m not sure what this entails other than serving at the Eucharist and jointly leading services. I’m really looking forward to doing that and exploring ministry in that way.
And finally, I was struck the other day by a realisation. Perhaps I’d discovered a tipping point between the need for nurturing my faith and the needs of the people I meet. In other words, up until now, the growth of my faith has been my main focus. But that has been changing over the past year. Subtle at first but now quite directly. I’ve always been aware of not being selfish but suddenly I realised (yes I am slow) that I need to find a balance between looking after my spiritual needs and those whom are looking for support. This was after a meeting that followed an evening informal worship.
In my group of rural parishes there is a realisation that something has to change for the community to grow. Hmm perhaps not grow as such but to know Christ better. Life has just drifted along and now they have a church whose average age is 70. No young families, children or anyone under 45 (accept me).
Yet what was being discussed was wanting change and do activities other than change what happens on a Sunday morning. The talk was about starting home groups, targeting young families and making youth groups. All well and good in themselves but I get a huge sense of imposing ideas onto people and expecting them to go to church properly ‘once they’ve got the idea’. I feel there needs to be a two pronged approach. The regular congregation needs to be inspired so that church becomes an attractive and loving place to be. A place where people are moved to use their gifts freely. Secondly, home groups, born out of the congregation (yet open to attracting the non churched), could be places of nurture, discipleship and fellowship.
Anyway, these are my ideas bron from the little experience I have. They are little seeds that I want to grow and develop. Something I want to keep thinking and reading about. 🙂