Considering I am pretty much incapacitated, there seems to have been a fair bit going on here...but before you rush to remonstrate, I really have been doing my utmost to keep out of things & hide in my cave. It's just not been consistently possible - but where I can, I have done my utmost to stay home quietly. I know I need to - the tiredness levels are quite clear enough in themselves without anyone else needing to make the point.
But I would not have missed yesterday for anything. Though I know the can be of variable quality & value, I had a good few hopes invested in our first ever PCC Away day. It's so hideously easy for PCC meetings to focus solely on getting a church through from one Sunday to the next, on accounts, the state of the fabric & the colour of the carpet...They might occasionally do a little advance planning for festivals, or make an important decision about patterns of worship, but on the whole there isnt the space or time to dream dreams. So yesterday we decamped to the Poor Clares at Woodchester to do some work with the diocesan missioner on why we are Church at all, & how we might be Church better.
The Convent is a wonderful place - just what I was looking for for some personal quiet days & only 10 minutes drive away.The gardens were full of spring hope & the welcome from the Sisters could not have been warmer. Though even with several months notice it was not possible for all PCC members to attend, we got some useful work done as we began to consider the health of our churches. I found the experience of completing the "healthy church" survey distinctly sobering as the realisation dawned once again that, as priest to these communities, so much responsibilty rests with me - but it was so good to begin to think about this together. I hope there will be time to continue to reflect on the pictures that emerged & to to see what we can do to answer more fully our calling as the Body of Christ in our two communities. Perhaps not surprisingly, both churches recognise that we are specially weak at sharing our faith - though I guess that there may need to be a bit more stirring up of the gifts that are in us before either congregation feels bold enough to believe that we really have someting worth sharing. Lots to think about in my nest on the sofa.
I think that everyone felt the day had been worthwhile & my suggestion that we make this an annual event on the first Saturday in Lent was well received - so I booked there and then. For me personally, what blew me away completely was the generous hospitality that allowed me, an Anglican woman, to preside at the Eucharist in the chapel of this RC house. I didn't attempt to robe, & the demarcation of roles between President, Deacon & de facto SubDeacon was a liturgical mess - but the experience of breaking bread at that altar is someing I'll carry with me as the most unlooked for blessing at the end of a difficult week.