|A 600 year old pointy-hat|
In the life of this parish, we are fast approaching the day of the confirmations, in a service that also marks Harvest and also the end of our 150 days of celebration marking our 150 anniversary as a parish in Whitton.
The entire world turns on its axis; the good folk of the parish continue with their lives as ever they did; God is in the heavens and the milk gets delivered - but there is one among us who is stressed.
I have fast recognised that the one primary difference between a suffragan or area bishop and the diocesan one is the amount of stress made manifest in the heart of the incumbent as the day approaches. I respect all bishops equally (and pretty jolly highly too, since you asked), but there is a definite difference in my stress levels when compared to the impending visit of the area bishop earlier this year. I don't know why, but it seems to be a fact.
I doubt that +Richard would wish for me to be up-tight, and I am sure that the entire day will be as wonderful as I predict it will be. I think it is also something about this new Vicar welcoming the top-dog of the diocese into the church. As a curate, I got very well used to grunting words about carrying the stick and the hat when men of the episcopate ambled in - also of carrying bags and smiling in the right places - you know, things that all half-decent curates do! This is different.
For me personally, some stuff from my retailing life is emerging and this present stress is the same as that precipitated by the imminent arrive of senior management who, if they found too much amiss, would geld the store manager with a blunt Stanley.
... and then sack him.
My church is tidy, the booklet nearly made, the catechumens mid-training, the roof water-tight, the safe locked, the cash in the bank, child-protection statement signed and displayed and the cotta ironed. Oddly, for the first time I am sensing a protectiveness on behalf of my 'flock' -will the bishop enjoy them? I am sure he will, as they are warm and wonderful people.
I think we all seek approval and none less than new Vicars. That my bishop is well known, darned clever, rather tall and knows the Royal Family - it all serves to make this meagre 'young' vicar wonder too whether he will make the grade. Time will tell, I suppose.