By the time that I publish this post, four or five announcements will have been made, all of the same substance. On this occasion, those announcements will concern me and the next stage of my ministry.
In simple terms, I have been appointed as Vicar of the Parish of Ss. Philip & James in Whitton, Twickenham. It has been an interesting little voyage; first the usual things like adverts, forms and interviews; but then news that the appointment must be made (or at least confirmed) by the Archbishop of Canterbury. His office wrote to me, I wrote back - deal is sealed. Such are the wonders of the Church of England!
This is a wonderful moment for me. Those of us who are called to public ministry are not called to theological college, or indeed to curacy particularly, but to what lays beyond. For some of my friends, that has been a sector or armed-service chaplaincy, for others like me, incumbency. That said, the ministry of curacy is life-forming, whole and complete - it just has the freedom of the 'trainee'.
This post becomes an interesting one. I have pondered whether this might become the death-knell of the Vernacular Curate. Should an incumbent blog? Should a vicar blog as a the Vernacular Curate? I wonder if the Vernacular Vicar can catch on? The great joy and privilege of a good curacy (and I have had the best that there can ever be), is that we Assistant Curates (our proper titles) have chance to expound on the imponderables of life in some freedom. The life, ministry and expectations of the priest with whom the 'buck stops' is necessarily very different, and I now need to consider long and hard the appropriateness of what I write in the new 'job'.
Another reason that this post becomes an interesting one is that it may well be the first thing that the good folk of Whitton read. We live in a world of Google-search, and I expect that one or two will do that thing which I always do! If you are from Whitton, welcome to my blog. Have a good read, you'll get a feel for me soon enough! I look forward to getting to know you soon.
Then, of course, there is the prospect of leaving something good, whole and wonderful. Whilst my move to Whitton is a source of absolute joy, the prospect of leaving my beloved Aylesbury currently weighs heavily on my heart. Curacies have to end. The good ones are always too short, the harder ones endlessly long. Mine has lasted but a moment, a snip of time. However, all good books have their separate chapters, and this one is about to move to Chapter II.
Please pray for my beloved Jo, Jessica and Rebekah. This change is not just mine.