As the title change of this blog might suggest, I am now across the line that divides one ministry from another. The line itself was a wonderful and emotional Service, attended by so many friends and friends-to-be, family and well-wishers, filled with (I think, because I chose it all) rousing music that all could sing at the top of their voices.
Across the line I am now in a new Diocese, working with new people and for a new Bishop. I have a different job with different expectations, facing a different future in a different house and with loved ones who themselves are doing different things in different places.
I am sort of wondering when the penny will drop and I will have map routed out in front of me. It was in my curacy. I know what I was doing and when, for whom and why. As you know, mine was a richly blessed curacy but one that was crammed full. Each day was full-on - and that in a training role too. Instinct told me that when I crossed the line to the next ministry, it would be even more that way: crammed to capacity.
A few of my friends have recently walked across this line. We were curates and now we are incumbents or the like. Their eyes were once cast towards a mentor for the direction and the plan. All eyes are on us now. It is a very funny feeling, not unpleasant - and so far, all is quiet. Today I prayed in the church alone (and did some nosing around). Today I pootled up the High Street and had some useful chats with people. Today I will complete sermons for the four services that I will be part of. I am secretly hoping that the Guide Book for Incumbents is in the drawer somewhere so I can tick off 'Jobs for the First Week', confident as I am that I have surely forgotten something.
Ministry is, I suppose, not set in stones (paradoxically). We are rooted in a parish that has a church. Sometimes that church has services that I will have some control of. But that is about it. How I spend the next decade is, broadly, in my own hands and that has the potential to be an alarming thought if laboured too much. For me, I want to be furiously active saving the world for God (often forgetting that God has a part, not just me). For now, I have no specific work-load and I wonder if I am just meant to be wondering. What am I called to do in this parish? What and where are the signs? What do I represent to these hope filled people? What needs changing, if anything? Where are we called to go, together?
If this post feels a little strange, that is because I am still a Curate in Vicar's clothes. I still yearn to be spoon-fed like before, but know that there is no longer a spoon. I am happy and fearful, overjoyed and worried - all in equal measure. The only thing I know with absolute certainty is that I am meant to be here. The rest will become clearer in the days and weeks ahead.
... I hope!