Curate’s Contemplations

It is now over a month since I was ordained priest and more than a year since I joined the benefice as curate, where does the time go? I am very blessed to be working with you, it’s been a very happy year.

Thank you for your support and generosity – in particular for the huge generosity for my ordination gift and your support on the day. In case you are wondering, your gift was in cash, as I was unable to make up my mind about a suitable gift and could never have anticipated your generosity. I will buy something that I can use regularly and that is linked with the Benefice, so am investigating some options with vestments – stoles and chasubles (the over garment worn for celebration of the Eucharist). Although I made my white stole I have yet to get around to making the green, red or purple ones. I can’t think why! I have ordered a purple stole (for use in the seasons of Advent and Lent) from a friend who makes them professionally and gives great weight to the story behind the stole. Mine is linked with Psalm 17:7 and dance.

Thinking about being busy, I sometimes refer to this time of the year as ‘silly season’ as our usual routines are abandoned for holidays, or working around others’ holidays. Maybe I’m odd, but I find it rather refreshing. When our routine is disrupted, it can help us to think about why we do things, or why we do them the way we do.

It has certainly given me food for thought as I move into my second year of curacy and the new academic term begins. I am still studying – I have several modules to complete this year including ‘Adult Education for a learning church’ and ‘Reflective practice on Mission and Evangelism’, so if I ask some penetrating questions about why we do things, I may be thinking about an essay or assignment. Do answer them freely, it’s an opportunity for reflection and prayer. Are we answering God’s call? Sometimes it’s hard to know.

In Morning Prayer over recent weeks, we have been reading from the prophet Jeremiah. God’s instructions to the remaining Judeans at one point were ‘leave here’ (Jer 38:2) and at another ‘stay here’ (Jer 42:10), which sound somewhat contradictory. But in the intervening time, the context had changed, so the instruction changed. We live in times of change. One of the reflections on this text suggested that perhaps our expectations in discerning God’s presence and leading need to be more dynamic and imaginative than we realise.

As we look forward into September and the new academic year, let us pray for understanding, patience and vision for our benefice.