Neither here nor there

It's a funny thing being appointed to a new Parish - whilst still very much concerned for the wellbeing of my current Parishioners and with carrying on as regardless as possible in living out and developing the vision of our Team, I am also starting to drift in focus towards what needs to be done, and all the exciting possibilities of my new role down in the Wild Westcountry...

I say this because we (the family) have just been down for a few days to meet up with the Diocesan Surveyor, who cares for and supervises the work on Clergy homes for the Diocese of Exeter. We talked bathrooms and kitchens and carpets and curtains.... New windows and doors are being fitted, gates fixed, gardens sorted etc etc, knowing that this place will be our home, and seeing more of it is making our move in October more and more a reality.

For those of you who don't know about the system of Clergy housing in the Church of England, let me enlighten you. Part of the role of a Stipendiary Parish Priest is to be in situ and live within the community s/he serves - due to the prohibitive costs of mortgages in some parts of the country, and the fact that Clergy often serve for anything from four years to twenty and therefore might move with some frequency (I've been here for eight) it would be nigh on impossible to be constantly buying and selling property so there are a network of houses, usually called Vicarages, Rectories or Parsonages, which belong to the Church and come with the job. These houses have to conform to certain minimum standards, four bedrooms, separate study area, garage, garden etc etc in order to suit clergy with families and who have certain responsibilities in terms of admin, meeting people at home and all the variety of things a Clergy house may be used for.

So when we take on an appointment, we are to a certain degree taking on a lifestyle (living above the shop, as it were) and a location too. Its all a part of the decision - in fact deciding not to take a job recently offered to me was highly influenced by the state of the housing! It wasn't the right job either, though I knew the other candidate and was very pleased when he took up the offer!

Our new house is a relatively recent build, 1980s, but was purpose built, so has a good study which is separated from the house by an inner dividing door. The rooms are all a good size, and the views are amazing - from the back you can see for miles out over the Axe Valley and from the side you can see lots of gravestones....ahem.... actually, its a lovely Village Church next door, and a beautifully kept Churchyard.

It's a very practical, and welcoming home and I am actually starting to look forward to moving into it.

But, I do need to stay here, focus wise, for another 12 weeks or so! I love these parishes, i love these people, I have plenty to do, lots of people to see and take care of, and they deserve and warrant my full attention in these coming weeks. I am looking forward to some holiday in August, but apart from that I need to try to avoid being distracted too much by the upcoming move!


Anonymous said…
It is difficult to look forward to the new while embracing the old. Still, where you are now you have a solid history and relationship with the people. You will never really leave them behind because they have become part of you and how you pastor. I would be very surprised to hear you didn't fulfill your final duties adequately.

My prayers are with you and your family as you prepare for this move.
I concur with Quilly, Alastair, you no doubt left a good feeling with your flock and concregation and they will remember what you taught. It seems God has called on you to Minister in your new place. You have a beautiful place to live, I so love the Country and your pictures remind me so much of Nova Scotia where I was borne and raised. Thank you for sharing the pictures, and glad my award left you with that Warm and Cuddly Feeling.

Blessings to you and your Family Alastair

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