To be honest, that last post was a bit useless, so much to say and little motivation - due to the whole 'catching up' thing that sometimes makes holidays feel like and intrusion rather than a liberation.
I have actually been back at work for a week, and don't really seem to have achieved much at all - it feels as though I've been paddling madly and getting nowhere... The reality of the fact that we are moving in seven weeks is really hitting home, when we were the other side of our holiday it all seemed a very long way away, now its only a few weeks off I find myself thinking about how much I need to get done before I start packing let alone thinking about packing and moving and starting again.
The announcement of my move has had one effect that, though not a great surprise has been quite overwhelming, the number of people who have expressed regret that we are going. I knew a few folk would be disappointed that we were leaving, but the strength and the sincerity of people's feelings has been much greater than expected. I regret the number of friendships that were really starting to grow - particularly with those outside church circles - that may not last with such a great distance between us. A number of people who are parents of children at the school where my daughter goes have taken a year or so to realise that just because I am the Vicar it doesn't make me mad, frighteningly religious or 'holier than thou'. One or two of the other 'dads' in particular have started to become very good friends, and (at the risk of sounding overly soppy) I will miss them.
Not only that, there have been people who I have only met once or twice who have expressed a deep regret that i will no longer be Vicar. I'm not really sure how to react, or how to say that it's not because of any deficiency in these Churches or villages that we are going elsewhere, quite the contrary - its the idea of new challenges, of doing things differently, and because being a minister is not a job that can go on and on endlessly (though some might describe my sermons in such a way). The longer we stay here, the more attached we and our children become to the village, and the fact is that being a 'Team Vicar' as I am now is often seen as an assistant's post rather than one where I am fully responsible for the ministry of the Church. This isn't the case in our own Team setup - it is definitely a partnership of equals in this team, a culture fostered by the last Team Rector and very much an aim of the new TR - but from the outside staying too long in this position could cause questions to be raised as to why I haven't been willing to take on 'in Incumbency'. So for that, and other good reasons, it is the right time to move on - and I have discovered that there's nothing like announcing you are going to encourage and affirm you in your ministry (and to help convince yourself that you aren't either completely rubbish or very unpopular!)
That was a somewhat unplanned reflection, I've not said anything about our fantastic trip to the Dordogne in August, nor posted my last couple of sermons, so there may (or past history shows may not) be a flurry of activity over the next day or two....