Today has been busy and even fairly productive, at least in terms of giving me plenty to think about.
It included the lovely Wednesday Eucharist at St M's, a briefing/consultation meeting about the role of Readers (which raised all sorts of interesting questions about distinctive ministries, training etc) and then a meeting with a wonderful retired priest, who taught me simply shed-loads of useful stuff when I did a placement with him during vicar-school. His then parish is one of the few urban priority areas in the diocese, a fascinating cultural mix (in this rather monochrome part of the country) with a congregation that blends native Gloucestershire with Afro Caribbean, a handful of Irish and assorted asylum seekers from all corners of the globe. I loved it dearly and wept buckets when my placement ended: the whole experience confirmed my certainty that I was called in the long-term to work in somewhere that avoided the obvious problems of middle-class complacency.
So, as I try to discern the way forward in this anything but complacent or middle class parish, M seemed a sensible person to talk to.
And he was. I have heaps to mull over this evening...
Somehow this week has been rich in opportunities to reflect on what is actually going on here.
I met up with my official mentor on Monday...(the mentor system is a gift to all clergy in their first responsibility post here - and mine is particularly helpful) . We talked about ways to help me use my time more wisely - which might involve seeing if there are ways in which a bit of admin help could be unearthed somewhere, to go with the lovely new office space that has been created in the tower at church in the valley.
Yesterday I was with Best Spiritual Director Ever, who was quite firm about the need to write in and stick to regular quiet days, and suggested that I attempt a retreat at home BEFORE ADVENT....The "at home" element is to allow for the needs of the Dufflepud and the lovely Libby. My thought is that as I tend not to use our sitting room for work, ever, I could hole up in there with books, something creative and a roaring fire and that might be a way of avoiding the seductive pitfalls of the study, which so easily suck me back into work mode if I venture in there on days off. Definitely worth attempting.
Then today I had my conversation with M...He reminded me of the central importance of relationship - created by being visible, by visiting, by visiting and then visiting some more. I belive him, - but I have to say that my current practice doesn't reflect my beliefs.
Which takes us back to the need for some admin help
Currently I need (in no particular order) to
finish my expenses
write sermon & intercessions for Sunday
write another set of intercessions for special Deanery service at valley church, also on Sunday
chase up display from church on the hill for deanery exhibition
create display for church in the valley ditto (this will involve some time taking photos and more time selecting photos from the large collection I have been offered)
solve organist crisis
plan Messy Advent
spend time thinking creatively about Advent/Christmas generally
produce working agreement for NSM colleague
check whether Reader colleague is due a review
write something about Posada for school and set up "host families" for that Advent journey
confirm school and community choir for the carol service
Produce "Grapevine" our weekly "pews news"
Write letter and assorted articles for the December parish mag
work out "what's on" ditto
And all that is without even stopping to think - there's a whole load more lurking just beneath the surface of the brain.
Instead, when I got home from Gloucester I touched base with reality by a short hospital visit and some time spent praying with someone on-line.
It's worth any amount of rejigging if I can actually get to work on some of those things that I know are priorities - and right now, my top priority is sleep.
Good night, friends! Tomorrow is another day.