So, we're leaving the country soon to go to the land of Maple Leaves, Beer, Ice Hockey, Mounties, Moose,
Such a move is bound to create lots of very mixed feelings and the odd sensation, more so than previous moves, that things are being done 'for the last time' in this particular context.
For example, as an Anglican Clergyperson in England I am legally bound to perform the weddings, funerals and baptisms (colloquially known as 'hatch, match and dispatch') of anyone who lives within the borders of our parishes - though there are some conditions on these things, it is pretty much an expectation that the local 'Parish Church' will perform these functions for all who request them. Which I love. I sometimes have problems fitting in all of these 'Occasional Offices' along with all the other duties I have to perform, but they are a HUGE privilege and a point of Pastoral contact that allows me to meet people at the highest and lowest points of their lives and share, unconditionally, the joy and compassion of Christ! Though human experience is the same all over the world, the unique position of the Church of England in this sense of Parish Ministry is not something replicated elsewhere.
Such differences are the things which are making me think at this moment! I don't feel sad that I am leaving, though I am sad at those I am leaving. I know that this is a place I could come back to with people who (hopefully) I will see again. I have a strong sense of rootedness around here - this is the area I was born and grew up in, and the homecoming was a powerful one, and one I thought was likely to be permanent.
I remembered this afternoon the overwhelming feelings of going to Stockland Church, a village I have a long connection with, as their Vicar for the first time. I felt amazed (and still do) that God had called me to come back to this place with such a particular role and that I was meeting with school and family friends from twenty years before in such a new way!
I am always encouraging people to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, it seems that this time I am listening to my own advice.