Today I have doubled the number of services I have taken at St Mary’s to a grand total of two. This morning’s family service went really well and Clifford did a great talk on the falling tower of Siloam, aided by some cardboard tubes. After the service we hot-footed it down to the ‘tin tabernacle’ in Golden Green for another family service and then a quick ‘question time’ for the new vicar. I had to confess that I do not play the guitar or sing so we may need to rope in some musical support in the future for that one.
We should be moving into the Vicarage in Hadlow straight after Easter, when the work on the house is finished. Until then I remain a long-distance vicar, driving about an hour each way to the parish. Whilst everybody has been absolutely fine about that (at least within my earshot) it does feel distinctly ‘odd’ not being present in the community. In fact I am doing the absolute opposite of what I thought and imagined I would be doing at the start of a new ministry, which is basically being everywhere and seeing everybody. As my training incumbent always said: “Man proposes, God disposes.” In other words God looks at our plans, has a little chuckle, and does what He wants to do with us. I suppose this time of transition is both helping to ease us out of our beloved, adopted, Woodchurch, whilst reinforcing the value and importance of a priest being present in their church community – to use the phrase – ‘incarnating’ the gospel.
On the home front (still in Woodchurch) Annabelle had a big day today as she rode her bike for the first time without either stabilisers or daddy holding on. I know it probably should have happened years ago but, nonetheless, today I had that rather poignant moment of stopping running and watching her cycle down the road on her own, willing her not to fall and feeling very proud but still missing the ‘holding on’.
Back to Hadlow in the morning for a meeting with the people at Hadlow College for a talk about chaplaincy work there.