Saturday, April 05, 2008

Revising, refocussing, re-vision-ing (!!??)

Those of you who come here regularly, or semi-regularly (you know who you are!) will have noticed a distinctly sporadic approach to blogging has crept in over the past months. This past couple of weeks, since Easter Sunday, have been completely quiet due to my absence from the Parish on a visit to France as I considered the next stage in my ministry.

I mentioned that I had considered whether it might be the right thing for me to think of moving, and I did, and didn't get very far in the process, and feel very happy to have done it, but it has allowed me to take stock of what I am doing, have done, and hope to do and come to a point where I am quite sure I am in the right place, doing the right thing and am called to stay here for some time longer as I see through the next phase in the life of these parishes.

It's an unusually bold statement for me to say that I believe I am doing what God wants me to be doing, but that's exactly how it feels at present. I came back from some time away in Paris having visited a Church, met an exceptional minister, made some new friends and feeling very enthused about what is happening there. On my return I received an email saying that I wasn't being shortlisted for the position and after the initial disappointment of not being called to interview, felt a huge sense of relief and a renewed sense of being in the right place here and now. I am very happy for their exciting and growing ministry to be their exciting and growing ministry, I have my own exciting and growing ministry to be a part of here...

My lack of focus in the past months, on the blogging front certainly but also in part in my Parish ministry, has been because I felt the need to explore other possibilities in ministry, a post as a Theological Adviser/Parish Priest combination, a Cathedral Position and a Chaplaincy abroad were the three that stood out. This was not through feeling a desire to move on, but wondering whether my calling was leading me elsewhere for the time being. I turned one of the positions down, didn't really get a look in at another, and the third wasn't for me. All of them had very different focuses (focii?) to my present position, and all appealed for different reasons, but it seems I needed to explore them in order to feel rooted here again! I don't feel a great sense of disappointment, it was something I needed to do and enjoyed doing, but I do feel that it has honed my sense of calling to do and be what I am now.

I think in many ways our Christian journey is often like that, we need to explore, question, consider, before we realise that where and what we are is where and what God is calling us to be. It's reassuring in some ways, as soon as I let people know I wasn't going anywhere a number of current endeavours kicked up a gear and I felt very affirmed in my ministry here - particularly with the few who knew about these explorations telling me how they were very worried I might be leaving.

So now I feel I am at a place where I am rediscovering my vision for my part in this ministry, and I am excited to be here. I have a new role in the cathedral, I have new things to consider in the course I will be leading in the Autumn in training worship leaders, I have ideas to put into practice in the local Churches and a round of Annual meetings to complete, I have six villages to serve and a place that feels like home. I am happy to have got to this point, and very happy to be here. You may well be seeing more of me here in the near future...

3 comments:

quilly said...

Sometimes it is the viewer and not the scenery that needs changing. Luckily, you realized that before making an irrevocable commitment.

Marion said...

How great you checked those other options out. You would have always wondered about them, if you hadn't.

I'm glad you feel centred now, Alastair!

Naomi said...

I've always been a great believer in fate and destiny Alastair. I always think we end up where we are in life and in certain jobs, situations, etc for a reason. The grass sometimes always seems greener on the other side. It was good that you explored other options but you're obviously fated to stay where you are for the time being. Your parisioners are so lucky to have someone like you.