In recent months, some of you may have picked up that I tend to get anxious if I'm not sure exactly how I am supposed to be using my time on any given day. Part of this is the legacy of constantly having at least 3 times as much to do as I could reasonably hope to achieve, for far too long, and all within a fairly rigid timetable. Since ordination, this has changed...There is undoubtedly even more that I could/should be doing, but the timetable element has largely vanished and so it is scarily possible for me to reach the end of a day quite convinced that I have left undone those things which I ought to have done (and, no doubt, done those things which I ought not to have done as well) and completely failed to justify my stipend.
It was therefore less than comforting to be told today by someone I respect hugely that one hallmark of clergy professionalism, as it is presented in the Guidelines for Professional Conduct, is sacrificial self discipline.
I find it hard to envisage a more terrifying concept for one such as I....I know I have some virtues but I really don't think self discipline is even an outside contender for the list.
At the same meeting, our Deanery Chapter were also told of the rapid move towards two models of ordained ministry...one predominantly a ministry of oversight (for those aspiring to incumbent status) and one, largely non stipendiary, for everyone else....Alot was said about extraordinary skills and gifts needed to exercise the former ministry...and there was huge affirmation for the locally based, pastoral holiness which seemed implicit in the latter. Feeling short on gifts and having moved out of my nurturing congregation, I'm now wondering what on earth I'm doing....Is there still room for the likes of me,- or does sacrificial self-discipline begin with recognising that I'm mismatched with the vision of ministry that is currently abroad?