Here we are on Saturday afternoon...the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and I've spent a day learning about ways that spiritual directors might support those with huge and difficult baggage in specific areas. Ummm.
Before that I spent 3 days learning about Messy Church - excellent stuff, though largely of the type I've been involved in almost instinctively pretty much for ever. It's frustrating to be between jobs - I came home wanting to try some of the ideas, but knowing it's too late for me to introduce anything else at St M's, and too early to know whether this might be the way forward for Cainscross (though I would love it if it were). In any case, it was good to be somewhere with time to pause and reflect on the underlying issues which make families struggle with church (and, indeed, those which make some churches struggle with the changes needful to make families welcome) - and in such a very beautiful place too. All these pictures were taken from our bedroom window. It's a wonder I managed to leave the room at all, really.
Lee Abbey is, of course, a community - and my extrovert self was stunned by just how hard I found it to spend time with several dozen others who've all come from places quite different to my own. Meal times were really testing...even with the knowledge that I'd be going home on Friday, and would probably never see anyone again. Interesting! My admiration for those who spend 18 months or more working there, serving others and learning to be community is unbounded. Perhaps I'm not as "E" as I thought...
But it was lovely to spend time with N - special friend from vicar school - and I accomplished two hitherto undreamed of miracles in that I returned home without buying so much as a Grove booklet, despite assorted well-stocked bookstalls and I also (whisper it not in Gath!) finished my sermon for Sunday evening on Thursday afternoon.
So that's it. Sermon crises sorted for ever more.
Just go away from the parish for 4 days....
I can really see that catching on!