retreat house that just happens to be in my training parish. While I'm generally happy and fulfilled in my work here, I still struggle with visiting Glenfall, with driving past my old church, past the homes of people whom I love and care about, and knowing that chapter of my life is done. Most of all, I miss the wisdom and companionship of my training incumbent, WonderfulVicar - and there's nothing like spending time with my chapter colleagues to make me fully aware of my own inexperience. Not that they are anything other than splendid and supportive - it's simply that as we spend time together reflecting on ministry and planning for an exciting Deanery Mission which will take place this coming autumn I find it very hard not to believe that I should be doing everything...and doing it now.
My colleagues, being older in ministry, if not in years, have a degree of realistic wisdom that I struggle with. Those with big dreams and ambitious plans generally have the human resources in place to make it at least conceivable that they might accomplish them. Me, not so much!
I know that wild excitement and high aspirations are part of the way I live life, and they have led me into all sorts of wonderful and surprising experiences...but I also know that I can only do so much and that fretting myself into misery over all the unattainable things I long to do won't benefit anyone.
I have an email from a wise wise friend posted beside my monitor...it begins with the reminder
"It's a marathon, not a sprint"
I'm reading and re reading it this evening, while contemplating the to-do's that might otherwise submerge me.
God willing, in two weeks time I'll finally get to that retreat that was stymied when I broke my arm last year. I want to go into that precious space with nothing too major outstanding, so that there's no voice at the back of my head saying "You really ought to have brought the laptop..."
So I'm listing the main things that are rattling around in the vicar's brain tonight, in no particular order - and looking forward to gradually crossing many of them off over the next 10 days.
Find and reclaim my Youth Emmaus (have a vague memory of saying to someone a good while ago "Do borrow it, I can't see myself using it here for a while) or order a replacement copy for our young confirmands group beginning next month
Plan PCC Away Day (1st Saturday in Lent)
Choose appropriate Sunday for taught Eucharist during Lent
Plan Experience Easter trail & dates
Write to local schools re Experience Easter
Order banner for Messy Church
Sort out access to parish website and update material there
Respond to Valley Church PCC Secretary re extra agenda items for THEIR PCC
Christian Copyright Licence (there must be someone I can delegate this to...I feel pale green every time I open the file, but we ought to have paid some money several months ago)
Convene meetings x 2 to discuss our contribution to Deanery Mission
Consider role of closing service of above, which we are hosting and which I am apparently planning (ideally with a team, if one can be found...)
Plan the thing
Convene meeting of lay intercessors to follow up on FabBishop's training and share it with those unable to attend
Convene meeting of servers to iron out liturgical hiccoughs and to begin training children to serve
Choose dates for deanery theology reading group which I agreed to convene before Christmas - and actually get hold of and read the flipping book.
Writing that lot down has scared me somewhat, but made it abundantly clear that the half-made decision to abort the possible extra service to celebrate love and marriage on St Valentine's Day is the only one possible. In any case, I would want the service to extend beyond the wedding couples of recent years to be a genuinely inclusive celebration - but there's a fair way to go before I can attempt to steer either congregation officially into the Inclusive Church fold, and my gut feeling is that this is a battle for another day.
Marathon, not sprint. Marathon, not sprint.
In a while I'm off to have a pub supper with the Herring of Christ (TM), as a follow-up to the recent curates' and incumbents' training morning. Curates are absolutely not and never should be a spare pair of hands, but another brain to help with the prioritising is more than welcome. Experience suggests that he will refuse to dance around the mulberry bush, and that can only be a good thing!