Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Few busy days, again...

Where do I begin? It was quite a weekend. Friday, as previously mentioned, was a trip to London with my daughter, apart from my philosophical misgivings about city life the trip was fun. Having promised her a treat we spent a bit of time with me revisiting my old stomping ground of South Kensington where I was assistant Priest and chaplain to Imperial College School of Medicine. I showed Kat, my baby girl, where we used to live and we then went around the Science Museum and the Natural History museum, followed by a trip to Pizza Hut (she was determined that that's where we were going to eat, and who am I to argue with a beautiful woman!??). Saturday was a pretty normal working day, wedding interview, visiting, sermon preparation, and a very enjoyable trip to friends for a barbie!

Sunday was a good celebration of Pentecost - not a great turnout at my morning service, but a good service nonetheless. The main focus of the day was a Confirmation service for some of the members of our team. We had a great service with the Bishop of Ely preaching very well and all of the candidates really enjoying the service. We had four adult candidates and two young people, I was privileged to prepare the adult group for their confirmation and I must say that they were probably the best, most receptive, thoughtful confirmation group I have ever experienced. It was a good service, the end of a very worthwhile process of preparation. One of the perks of this job is to be able to talk about and consider spirituality and theology at length with a group of people who just want to explore the life of faith.

Yesterday was a day out to see friends in the north of England, a good drive, with a bit of detour on the way back! Typical Bank Holiday weather meant grey and miserable, but the only rain we really had was on the journey. Good to catch up with friends and to spend time with wife and children. Pentecost sermon will be posted when i have more time.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

City living

I don't live in a city any more, and a trip to London yesterday with my daughter brought up very mixed feelings for me. I still enjoy the noise and the activity, to a certain extent, and I liked going to see a few of my old haunts, but the day left me with more of a sense of discomfort than I expected.

Part of me thought that my transition into country boy had come to completion, and that I was just more at home in the fields than I have been before. But another part of me realised that there are lots of things about cities which make me think about life generally and some of the parts of life which disturb me, or cause me concern, or something.

What struck me most was what a misfit I was - having lived 13 years in London it was a bit odd feeling a stranger in a place which was home for a third or so of my life. But I was aware of how trendy everyone seemed to be, or rather what a huge proportion of the people around seemed to be fashionistas! I don't have a problem with people being cool and hip and whatever outdated phrases I now use to describe being in touch with what's going on, but it seemed that 'individuality' was a uniform - in seeking to express themselves so many people are covered in brands and looks which actually just fit them into a mould!

Which led me onto another thought, there are so many looneys in the city! Not very PC, I know, and it wasn't just that there were a few wierdos, it was almost as if in an effort to be noticed in the crowds people were trying to draw attention to their strangeness - camp people were extra camp, loud people were extra loud, da boyz were extra gangstaaaaa, whatever. Perhaps this is more my perception or projection, but it seemed almost as if there was a search for identity going on, and in the absence of being able to be oneself, the adopted persona took an extra dimension. I was just one more tourist, out of depth in a city which felt like it had no heart.

And yet, in the life I was a part of in London only seven years ago, and in the friends i see when i visit, and in the churches I have been a part of in the city there is a sense of togetherness, community, faithfulness, shared searching, joy, hope, and a feeling of weaving together a rich tapestry of the colours of life. This wasn't the case in the city at large.

My glimpse of London yesterday was, for me, a glimpse of a culture which has lost identity, and perhaps lost hope, without anything of depth to cling onto people seemed to be living entirely on the surface of life, embroiled in issues of image, consumed by consumerism and carried along by sights and sounds without stopping to see and hear.

I suspect that this all betrays much more of my concerns about our contemporary culture. But it made me think of this one thing, and this is going to make me seem really cryptic and obscure, but I am going to write it anyway, perhaps we can discuss it later...

Jesus is the answer. What was the question?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

When I know I'm trying to do too much

My body tells me that things have got a bit much lately, I had to go to the Doctors today with a siezed up shoulder and neck. He says its a strain to the muscle along my shoulder, probably exacerbated by tension - I've got some strong anti-inflammatories and orders not to overdo things.

As I had to be tagged onto the end of the morning's list, I had to wait until the other visits were over at the Doc's, so had 45 minutes just to read, and quite enjoyed that, despite not being able to get terribly comfortable whilst sitting. The book I am ploughing through at the moment is a very good one by Brian McLaren called The Secret Message of Jesus which has a great DaVinci code ring to the title, but really goes over the message of Jesus that the Church is so very good at missing!


In the chapter I read this morning he talks of Jesus' signs and wonders as pointers to the kingdom, which most Christians probably know, rather than 'miracles' to show off his power. They represent the kingdom's agenda, of healing, freedom, love and faith rather than the worldly agenda of power and prestige. The way that Jesus used these signs shows a radically alternative agenda to that which the Church often pursues, he didn't use these signs to condemn the unbeliever, he didn't call down fire from above on his enemies, he didn't cause a flood to wipe out the unrighteous, in fact on the contrary Jesus offered healing, freedom and release to even the most despised.

Food for thought. Not as immediately captivating a book as A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I Am a Missional, Evangelical, Post/Protestant, Liberal/Conservative, Mystical/Poetic, Biblical, Charismatic/Contemplative, Fundamentalist/Calvinist, ... Emergent, Unfinished Christian (Emergent YS)but still very thoughtful, well written and theologically literate and well put together.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One day at a time

Things are very hectic indeed in our patch of South Cambridgeshire - hence the lack of postings over the past week or so. I'm finding that when I do have the chance to look at a few blogs I don't even have the energy to leave comments let alone think about putting something together to write here! So, apologies, i know that there are a few people out there who come to read and leave comments, normal blogging will be resumed as soon as possible!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This Week's Sermon

Not had time to write much this week, and this evening has been spent putting together services for tomorrow, so here is one of the sermons I will be using tomorrow... Again, a taster, and if you do want to continue then click at the end...

Year C Easter 7, Sunday after Ascension, 2007


A Time of Promise

Ascension day, which was on Thursday just gone is an important time in the Church’s year. It’s one of those feasts which members of the Church often overlook., but I believe it to be a valuable time when we remember the reason behind who we are asChristians.

Now many people have problems with the very idea of the Ascension – in our sophisticated technological world we wonder about the mechanics of it. We now know that the world is not flat with heaven ‘up there’ as our early Church brothers and sisters believed. Images of our Lord rising into the clouds to be received into the bosom of the Father no longer have that ring to them as when we simply believed there was hell, earth and heaven in three tiers all stacked upon each other. The picture of the feet sticking out of the ceiling, like the sculpture in the chapel of the Ascension at Walsingham, are rather comical instead of awe inspiring. But I believe that the mechanics are unimportant – what we do know is that somehow Christ was taken to be with the Father in bodily form, and that those who saw it could only describe it as Jesus rising to where they believed God lived – upwards. [more]

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

wossatholyjoesfingthen?

Having scoured my previous posts, not terribly vigourously, admittedly (just used the search box at the top of the page) I couldn't find any explanation of what Holy Joes is, so here's a very inadequate summary, tied up with my history of HJs in the 18 years or so I have been involved in one way or another...

HJs started (or so folklore dictates) when Dave Tomlinson left one of the Charismatic Movements of the 80s (Harvesttime? Pioneer? I think it was the latter) where he was in leadership, with the general feeling that the Theology of the movement was inadequate and he wasn't so keen on the style of leadership. I hope this isn't really misrepresenting the situation, but this is what I picked up on the way.

Dave and his wife Pat decided that they wanted a place to explore faith which, apart from anything else, their kids (who were young adults) could get to grips with Christian faith, and which offered a safe place to believe, or not, but to examine and consider and reflect and argue the issues that surround this Christianity stuff. They met at first in a basement in Acre Lane in South London, and then moved to the Plough in Clapham Junction. At the same time they produced an excellent satirical magazine called 'Nous' which took the mickey out of the excesses of the Church. Not Christian faith, as such, just the Church! That's when I got involved - I loved the mag and was a student in South West London at the time and after seeing an advert in Nous for the Holy Joes Christmas Party (1990?91?) I went and loved this group of people that met in a pub on Tuesday evenings and talked about faith. I was studying for my first Theology Degree and attending a pretty conservative Church, so HJs gave me an opportunity to see things a very different way.

I kept up with going to HJs over the next few years, past my graduation to a year paying off student debts by working in Market Research, then working at Imperial College London as a Lay Chaplain and exploring my calling to ministry in the Church of England. I stopped attending when I went to Cambridge to study Theology and be trained for ministry, which took a couple of years (it was 1994 by this time), by this time I was married, and the scrumptious Jo and I moved to Cambridge, and I attended on occasion, though by now I had enough experience and (vague) Theological Education to be invited to speak. Then I moved to Hampton - on the outskirts of London - and carried on this sporadic attendance and occasional speaking, and on moving to my second Clerical position in South Kensington attended slightly more frequently. During this time Dave Tomlinson had been trained and ordained in the C of E, oh and wrote a very good book called 'The Post-evangelical' then he moved to be a Vicar in North London and HJs took on a separate identity and carried on in Dave's absence - though it moved around Clapham to a couple of pubs then to Victoria (not that far from Buckingham Palace) then to the edge of Westminster (not that far from the Houses of Parliament) then back to Victoria.

When I moved up here to the wilds of Cambridgeshire I kept in touch with Holy Joes. There was no formal membership, and attendance went up and down. I went as a speaker when they were kind enough to invite me - or couldn't find anyone better - but it dwindled a bit, until they took a break a year and a half ago. Now Hjs has started meeting again, with a similar format to before but without beer or smoking as it now meets in a cafe in the basement of a Church. The only original member to still be there is Steve, who is the man whose fault it is that I am blogging! Another long term bod who is still around is my great mate Tom - yes that is the right link - (aka 'The evil Dr Tom - the man who stole the twinkle from the stars') and there are a few folk from the original bunch (some of whom I must say, in a moment of pride, I introduced to the group when they were students and I was lay chaplain!). It's a place to talk, wrestle with faith, disagree, agree, think again, argue and generally should 'bo**ocks when you feel like it! As I said before, try the website and go there if you get the chance. I'll be speaking there sometime in July if you want to meet me there. We'll be in the pub next door to St Mary Le Bow Church where it meets before hand, it's called 'the fine line'.

Link for the Post Evangelical:

Just a Holy Joe

First of all thank you for voting - I am now just above the poodle and dog blog in the Blog Village top 100!

Next, a quick explanation of why I am so absent from the blogging world at the moment. We are down to two full time Clergy covering this thirteen village area, with very able help from two voluntary (ordained) ministers. One of our colleagues is on maternity leave, and another is signed off sick (long term) so having lost two very able ministers we are finding ourselves tied up with lots of cover and things which need doing - most of which is as valuable and important as all the stuff we were doing in our own 'patches' within the team anyway, so we don't want to neglect that and see it suffer for lack of clergy. It reminds me just how valuable the lay involvement in our parishes is, but also how much needs attention from those of us who are freed up to serve the Church full time.

Anyway, that was a longer explanation than planned, but I don't seem to be able to hold back from reflecting whilst I blog...

The main thing I wanted to post about (and yes, I am aware that I promised to say more about Jem's excellent stag weekend, but that will have to wait) is my trip to our illustrious capital city yesterday evening (London, I mean). I returned to a group very dear to my heart 'Holy Joes' which, after a time of 'furlough' whilst various folk were taking a well deserved break from leading the group, restarted again a couple of weeks back and I found myself with the dubious honour of speaking at their first 'proper' meeting. There were only a half dozen of us in their new home at St Mary Le Bow (the Church where, if you are born within earshot of the bells you are a genuine Cockerney) and we discussed Judgement, Grace and Forgiveness. It was good to see a couple of old friends and to meet some new faces too, and I really enjoyed the evening, thought the conversation was really valuable, and look forward to going back again soon.

Have a look at the Holy Joes website, and if you are able to get to the city of London on a Tuesday evening for a couple of hours go and see what's going on! It will be worth the effort. I think I blogged about Holy Joes before, with a bit more detail about what it is, why it is, and what it does, so I will look that out when I have a moment (with all that free time I have, ahem) and post the link to my earlier post.

Though it might be quicker just to explain it all again.

Another time.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Vote for me!

Just noticing that I have dropped completely from the ratings on Blog Village, so in a desperate effort to get back in at least the top 100, if you have a mo please click here:


The sermon I promised

This week's thoughts - see what you think of what's below and follow the link if you feel like it!

Year C Easter 6 (2007) RCL Principal

Acts 16.9-15

John 14.23-29

Going further

Today’s readings are interesting, and I am afraid that I have no funny story or witty introduction to begin with this week because, really, the readings speak for themselves. Our Gospel reading contains words of Jesus from John’s Gospel – the section of John’s Gospel known as the ‘farewell discourse’ where Jesus – before his crucifixion, offers encouragement and comfort to his disciples as he tells them that the Holy Spirit will come and be with them, and that he gives his own peace to them as a gift to keep them steadfast through what is to come.

For those of you intrigued as to why we are having this reading in the weeks following Holy Week and Easter, it is because in our Lectionary which runs over three years the Gospel of John is spread throughout the festival times of the year, such as the Easter Season, and therefore these words don’t necessarily fit with the Church year in a simple, chronological way, though we could argue that as we lead up to Pentecost, being reminded of the promise of God’s Holy Spirit is very appropriate.

Our other reading is part of our trek through Acts that always happens in the weeks after Easter, and that reading must always displace any other Old or New Testament lessons we have alongside our Gospel reading. And though it seems a relative straightforward reading there is, as is so often the case in Scripture, more than perhaps first meets the eye, and some encouragement or admonishment for each of us in this short, simple reading from the book of the Acts of the Apostles. [more]

Way too tired

Yes, I know I said that I would post something yesterday, but having stayed up late sermonisificating (as George W might say) I found that after my services yesterday I could barely stay awake. Then I ended up going to bed in the evening at the same time as the kids. It must be my age! I have to say that even after lots of sleep I am still not at my best today - but that might be because of the amount I am trying to do at the moment!

Anyway, I have lots of things to do this afternoon, so if I get the chance later I will let you know how to have a sedate and thoroughly enjoyable stag weekend, and post that promised sermon, but don't hold your breath. Unless swimming, or generally going underwater, obviously.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Did you notice?

I've not been here...

Went away to York (beautiful city) for a very sedate, but extremely enjoyable Stag weekend. Got back this evening in time to put kids to bed (boy, did I miss them), tell wife I loved her (boy, did I miss her) and put on a clerical shirt (ie Dog Collar) in time to get to some of the Parish 'Barn Dance' in one of my villages. Good to be away, glad to be back.

More about time away, and a sermon for this week (just finished) when i have more time and energy in the morning, or perhaps in the afternoon after services.

ta ta for now

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Blog talkers last week (only a week behind)


Here's a question for you! Blog talkers number 18.
Who generally does the housework in your family? Do you say “Thank You” to your significant other when he/she does housework? Why or why not? Are you thanked when you do housework?
Um....well neither my wife or I are too hot on housework, and exhibit ridiculous gratitude whenever one or other of us gets around to it! We don't let the place get terribly dirty, but things do get untidy pretty quickly, and though we blame the kids, its pretty much both our fault rather than the children.

Jo (my wonderful wife) is better at putting things away than I am. She gets narked if the washing up is not done after a meal, where I like stacking up so there is a good amount to do in one go. Jo tends to work the spaceship that is our washing machine, though I am not averse to it, but she is definitely more conscientious than I am with doing laundry! We both do the hanging out of laundry and gathering it in, though Jo being at home more than me means that she often grabs it off the line if it starts raining. Jo is the ironer in the household, I am the hooverer, I find vacume cleaning very therapeutic.

I do get annoyed at clutter, and though I enjoy dusting, there are times I refuse to do so because the shelves and surfaces are all full of trinkets and bits and gazillions of photo frames. Jo seems to be able to ignore dust, though she doesn't like things to be dirty generally, so I often end up doing the dusting anyway, despite my protestations.

Cleaning the bathrooms is shared, but i tend to have to be nagged to do it, as i tend to have a shower, get dressed and go, and Jo notices that the soapy water is making the shower cubicle grimy and i have to have a good scrub! Likewise, scrubbing the loo and sinks and bath are jobs I quite enjoy when i get around to it, but I need a prod to do it.

So housework is shared, sometimes only after prompting, I am incredibly grateful for all that Jo does, and as a stay at home mum for the past couple of months she has done lots whilst I have been out during the day, and the evenings. She's a star. I do say thanks, and am always thanked when i do stuff.

But don't be fooled, when we're in the mood for an argument, housework will often come up as part of the armoury of complaint we dip into!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Last night's talk

Last night saw the return of our 'informal' service, which i get to play guitar at and lead sometimes. the music was great, uplifting and enjoyable. I did a talk, which I can't decide if I am glad I did, or whether it was inspired or cobbled together. Here's the start and if you want to read more then follow the link.

Salvation and sanctification

Following on from a conversation I had during our series of Lent talks I want to try and dig a little deeper into the issues of salvation and sanctification which both Paul Gildersleve and Mike Booker touched on when we talked about the Creed over a number of weeks. I think there is some confusion about what these terms mean and just what it means to be saved...

In some traditions of the Church being saved is ‘it’ – that’s the purpose of what we do, that’s the purpose of being Christian. The focus of the work of the Church is to draw people in that they may be saved!

Of course, that is what we all want to see, that people are drawn in to the new life of Christ, that the know freedom from sin and that the death and new life of Christ are theirs as they are opened up to the Spirit of God in the new life which faith in Christ offers. I am not trying to distract from that. We are called to spread the Gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, and to invite others into the fullness of life which he offers.

But it doesn’t stop there. [more]

By the way

vis a vis my last post. It's raining, so the various little jobs around the place I was planning to do (strimming, grass cutting, trimming hedges) aren't going to happen. I might get around to putting the bike back together, though!

Blog talkers catchup

It's a bank holiday (public holiday) today and I should be taking the day off, though i have some stuff to do. It is a quieter day today, though, so I am going to take a few minutes to catch up on me blogging...

Have three blog talkers to catch up on, including this week's. I may stagger them over a couple of days, or I may just do the lot today - that's the kind of crazy, spontaneous guy I am!



Firstly number 17:

Why are people obsessed with the weather? And if you watch the Weather Channel, why?

I thought it was just us brits who were obsessed with the weather. In the absence of all other conversation, and usually in an effort to avoid conversations of any real substance, we will talk about how much, or recently how little, it rains. At least global warming is causing some variety in the conversation as our weather patters do seem to be genuinely different to the usual. The bit of England I live in (East Anglia) is, I think, the driest part of the country, and also contains vast swathes of Arable land so the weather has a direct impact on our farming, and with the amount of house building going on on our water supplies. So weather is a daily concern for many around here, or rather the amount of rainfall is.

We don't get the weather channel, though our digital TV services do have interactive sections which have detailed and regularly updated weather reports, which I do look at occasionally - usually if we have a holiday or a long journey to go on, especially if I am riding my motorbike any distance. It's not that the rain stops me riding but that i need to know how much wet weather gear to take, light showers are fine and I will happily get soggy and dry out as I ride, but heavy rain just makes a biker miserable and less alert if s/he doesn't have adequate protection.

So not obsessed with the weather per se, it is a helpful diversionary tactic in conversation, influences our journey making and holiday plans, and there are concerns about our weather patterns, but these crop up relatively infrequently really!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A post for Sunday

As I have been rushed off my feet for the past few days, due to a colleague being ill, I've not really had time to post much, so just to give a change of page for those of you kind enough to return here here is a taster of this week's sermon, you'll need to follow the link to read the full text. Thanks by the way to those who leave comments on the sermons, they are a real encouragement, I don't usually respond to comments on the deep stuff site but they are noted and I am very grateful for them!

Easter 5 (2007) Year C RCL Principal

Letting the outside in and the inside out…

Early one morning a young man received a telephone call, rather unusually God was at the other end of the line. Hello there, said God, I’m coming to see you today.

Rather excited this young man set about clearing up his flat, tidying up, dusting, hoovering etc etc After a couple of hours of this the flat looked fantastic – and he sat down to wait. [more]

Thursday, May 03, 2007

My Favourite Word

Grace

We need more of it. Or rather we need to allow the Grace on offer from God to soak deep into our bones, our hearts, our lives.

I always said that if we had children I wanted to call one Grace. I like the tradition of calling Children after virtues or Saints of the Church. In the end Katherine (meaning pure) got Grace as a middle name, not quite sure how that happened but giving her a very Irish name didn't fit so well with my wife, so Katherine it is.

But Grace is a wonderful word. It is the reason I do all of this Christianity stuff, it's the lifeblood of faith, coming straight from God, through his Holy Spirit and due to the life and work of Jesus. Grace upon grace, that's the promise of the Bible.

Grace is our reason for forgiveness, our inspiration for faith, our foundation for love. People who are grace-filled shine with the light and life of Christ. I long to be someone through whom grace may abound.

I've been reading Miroslav Volf's book 'Free of Charge' - subtitled 'giving and forgiving in a culture stripped of Grace'. It is inspiring, heart wrenching and even tear-jerking. It is uplifting and beautiful (and there aren't many theological books I would use those adjectives for). Simple in style, but filled with meaning and depth it's a non-weighty book that deals with weighty concepts. By which I mean it isn't veiled in theological language, but deals with the most profound theological thoughts in an accessible and profoundly affecting way.

It's not the only reason why Grace is on my mind at the moment, but it has been and is a great reminder of all that Grace should mean to the Church and to all who follow Christ.

Michael W Smith's latest, which is a few months old now, arrived through my postbox this morning, and it follows the same theme. He writes 'As individual songs started coming together, I became aware of a consistent message. STAND became a collection of songs about Hope, Forgiveness and God's amazing Grace. STAND isn't so much a 'call to action' as it is a 'call to respond'. As we daily understand more about His immeasurable love for us - we stand in awe of the one who gave it all.'

I'm listening to it now, good album!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

wassavicar?

As I typed the phrase 'random thoughts of a hairy vicar' into a site to advertise this blog, i had a sudden thought that some (many?) people don't know what a Vicar is... Or at least might be interested in why ministers in the Church of England are called, usually, Vicars. Anyone who watches reruns of old Brit comedy will often see a rather comical character who pops up, usually completely ineffectual and often pompous, who is 'the Vicar'. But where does this funny name come from? Here is my understanding of it, ecclesiastical historians - and indeed anyone else - are welcome to correct me if I am wrong.

First of all the confusion over 'Priests' and 'Deacons'. In the C of E we are ordained firstly Deacon (though I think the technical name for this is 'made Deacon') which, for most ministers, is a one year ministerial appointment - though there are more ministers deciding to remain in a 'permanent Diaconate'. Deacons have a pastoral role in the Church, they assist with the service of Holy Communion, they visit the sick, the housebound and those in need of care. Deacons can perform weddings and baptisms but cannot offer blessings, nor can they consecrate the bread and wine of the Eucharist (Holy Communion). They cannot offer absolution on behalf of the Church, so they don't hear confession, but they can perform most liturgical and pastoral functions, including preaching, leading worship and all that. After that first year a Deacon is ordained into the Priesthood and s/he will have hands laid on him/her (again) by the Bishop and will then act with the Bishop's authority to offer the blessing of the Church, absolve (or rather state God's absolution) of the penitent, consecrate bread and wine and fulfill the Sacramental Ministry of the Church.

By being Ordained (which simply means taking on Holy Orders) Priest a minister still has the calling to be a Deacon. Likewise if someone is Ordained (or Consecrated) Bishop one still retains one's Priestly ministry. So being Priest, Deacon or Bishop is a kind of qualification, like having a BA or MA or PhD. Every ordained minister in the C of E is one of these.

The other titles, like Rector, Curate or Vicar, or Priest in Charge, or Chaplain, or whatever are more 'job descriptions' - the confusion comes when Bishop acts as both a qualification and a job title. But that's not really that confusing.

These job titles all have different histories. The all embracing name for clergy used to be 'Curates' - those responsible for the 'care of souls' of a particular parish, the word comes from the same root as 'Curator'. In the prayer book of 1662 which is still in regular use in many of our parishes we pray for all 'Bishops and Curates' which reflects the general setup of the Church at the time.

As time went on and the ministries of the Church developed and diversified more titles were added to reflect the change in circumstances. A Rector tended to live in a Parish and would be supported financially by taking ten percent of the income on land held by the Church and let out to farmers and the like. They might also be supported by a 'patron' of the Church, such as a College, a particular charity or a Bishop. This was called 'holding a living' of a parish.

Sometimes the living of the parish was held by an academic who living in a college, or by someone who worked at a Cathedral. These absentee Rectors might have very little (if any) contact with the Church(es) they were responsible for so would appoint someone to do the everyday work and the Sunday by Sunday services for them, this person acted 'Vicariously' or 'on behalf of' and so the Vicar was created! Often a Rector or Vicar would have an assistant who was being trained 'on the job', in some places they might have a number of ordained assistants, these were called 'Assistant Curates' which these days are known simply as 'Curates'.

These days Rector and Vicar are pretty much interchangable as few Rectors gain any income from Church land. The only place it has a noticable effect are in Team Ministries - parishes grouped together with a share Team of ministers, such as ours - where the Team Rector is normally 'senior partner' of the Team and holds the position of 'Incumbent' for all of the Parishes.

There you are, ecclesiology 101, now aren't you glad you stopped by...? Probably not :-)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Soaking up rays

the weather seems to make everything a little better at the moment - not for the poor dry farmers around here, but for most of us the early summer sun is creating generally cheerful vibes. Today we had a meeting all morning talking about 'all age worship', led by our very creative, very funny, very thoughtful Acting Team Rector. The great bit was not just sharing the different ways in which we are engaging various audiences in worship, and reflecting a little on best practice and what might need improving and resourcing, but that we met outside! the meeting took place in my garden, and we sat out in the sun (not too blazing yet) and I am sure the meeting was more productive for it.

My afternoon meeting was in Cambridge, in a coffee shop, but by that time it was hotter and I didn't mind a couple of hours with a fellow minister talking about our 'Worship Leader's course' on which I assist. We were considering our session for this Thursday on 'Pastoral encounters in worship'. A very valuable meeting, and my colleague who I help with this course is fun to be with too!

I got my road tax sorted out for the new car, as my insurance documents arrived today, got to see my little sis who is finishing up her degree at Jesus College, Cambridge, drank way too much coffee, enjoyed the drive in and out of town tremendously (though still not quite as much as I will enjoy biking when I get the BMW back together) and have generally had a good day, thank you very much. I have a meeting at 6.30pm for a local charity of which I am trustee by virtue of my Vicar-hood, then I should be free from 8pm and hopefully will have a chance for a gym and swim to finish off the day.

I have half an hour for a bit of gentle photosynthesis before supper with the family. I'm off to play with my progeny.