So much for time to reflect on my time away, I don't seem to have stopped since I got back - though I did enjoy mentally revisiting my reading for holidays in the previous posting.
The main focus of the past three days has been the fact that today I've had two weddings and tomorrow I have four baptisms to prepare for. This may not seem like much, but for each event there is a certain amount of preparation - for Baptisms i visit the parents or candidates (depending on age, obviously) and go through the service talking about the meaning of baptism and why the C of E Baptises infants - a whole discussion there which I'm not going to go into! It's a very good pastoral opportunity, though, and the three visits I did took about five hours - up to 11pm as one family really wanted to talk about issues surrounding baptism and tell me something of their own experience. Then in preparing for the Baptism (which will take place in a normal Sunday service) I need to get hold of candles, cards, books and various bits, which took me into Cambridge to shop for some bits that I needed... As well as that there's a bit of co-ordinating with Churchwardens as to whose bringing water (most of our Churches don't have running water, due to them being medieval in origin and not having enough money to pay to be connected to mains now), whose reading and a long chat with the church musician as to what songs and hymns we'll have and whether I will inflict my guitar playing on people, or he will play the organ, or whatever... It all takes time.
Alongside that preparations for the Weddings include a rehearsal, which is meant to take an hour but can take a couple, registers (being v important legal documents they have to be retrieved from the Church safe and filled out with great care, it takes a couple of hours to do registers for a couple of weddings), preparing the Church, getting there early to make sure everyone's fine for the service etc etc. Of course I then have to write sermons for the weddings and try to put something together for each service individually - though I may use ideas and even whole sections from other sermons on the same readings - and all in all the time seems to disappear, when I thought I had lots of it.
I've just finished preparing a sermon for my 8.30am service tomorrow, and thinking about an All age talk for the 10.30am with all the baptisms, oh and I have to fill out the cards and stuff for the four candidates. time flies! I think I'll need another holiday after tomorrow ;-)