Wednesday, 11 May 2011


That is not an order, incidentally. Just the title of a blog post, ya hear!

So, the news is out, dates are being carved into the tablets of time, and there is now work to be done. Sadly, I must have been ill when theological college did the 'Buggering Awf' class, because n'ere a book rests within my copious personal library that attends to the 'The Great Scarper'. 

Actually, the truth is that the prospect of dis-entangling myself from so many things is a sad one to me. Leaving a ministry is tough I think (if it has gone well). I doubt I will get away with: "Well, that's me. I've left the files in the study. Speak soon and thanks for all the gin". It might be easier that way, I just don't know.

The funny thing is that stopping one ministry still involves moving forward. I am still engaging in new pastoral encounters with people, organising this and that, thinking ahead. No brown archive box with the picture of the kids and the pot plant for me! Oh no sir-ee. Public ministry means (I believe) involving oneself to a very deep level with the people with whom we engage. That means laughing with them and crying with them (with any luck at the same time that they are doing said things - bad ministry otherwise). It means pouring love into those chance encounters; prayer too. When those engagements conclude, we don't just turn off either. For me, I ponder those whom I have passed along the way and how they may be faring. 

Priests are nomadic. The tied accommodation is something of a paradox, because although vicars are often associated with vicarages, we are always nomads. Our stops might be prolonged, but stops they be, and move on eventually we do. When the time comes to make the next long walk, there is (I am now discovering) an odd period of stasis. We know we are called to leave, but not just yet. It requires some considerable effort not to lose interest and cast eyes forward. I haven't fallen into that trap to date, partly because it will be so hard leaving this place. In a very very small way, this must be how it feels to succeed to a throne. Becoming the next monarch demands (normally) that one's parent has died. A good thing under-written by a very painful thing. The prospect of a new ministry is wildly exciting for me, all the while underpinned by the sure and sad knowledge that I will have to say goodbye to Aylesbury.


  1. I've lost count of the moves made when my husband changed jobs. He was a bank manager and moving was essential to get higher up the ladder. A move is always terrifying for you and your family. One day at a time is the only way I tackled it. As a priest I've only moved once and that was to the next village. You will be overwhelmed by the people who are going to miss you. Accept the fact that they love you and that you love them. It's always very exciting once the nitty gritty has been done. Enjoy it David. You are goingvto make a great vicar.

  2. Please don't start our tears going yet, or you're in real danger of drowning before you get to Whitton.
    Just remember that it is hard for us too, but that is part of the progress of 'baby curate' to big vicar.
    Your new parish will benefit from our loss and so on an on.
    You have instigated many good new things in your time here and a lot of people have good reason to be gratefull to you, myself among them.
    You will be greatly missed, but don't start the weeping and wailing at this early stage, there are still a couple of months. Plenty of time for us to change our minds!

  3. There's many a Churchwarden (and one Cathedral Dean) that I have grasped warmly by the lapels and, in the most menacing tone I could muster (and that's pretty scary!) said, "Now you be sure to take good care of this one or we'll come & get him back!" Perhaps you should issue your prospective Churchwardens with hard hats now, just in case.



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