Tuesday, 9 June 2015

15 years ago today

Today 15 years ago Bishop John Austin of Aston presided over my first service here at St. Mary's Church, Pype Hayes​.We, Erin and Meself had no great plans but believed God had directed or whispered to others to guide us here. Daniel and Ruth our children came willingly, well Ruth almost willingly,we sent them to the local schools. At 10 years old Ruth went to the school down the road on the estate at that time was in special measures. Daniel 13 years old went to the local Roman Catholic school. During the last 15 years we have never doubted that we are in the right placed but there have been some very dark and painful times and possibly as many joyful life giving times. Although im not sure of the balance. When I meet strangers they ask how long have I been here and I tell them, they look surprised or a well disguised disappointment. There response at times prods me to askhave I stayed too long? Im not sure how to answer that, I came on a 7 year licence and we thought we should not move until Ruth had finished school as she had been to a number of schools because of Gods call upon us. But 15 going on 16years! After 11 years a clergy person once said to me “Nigel they will have no vision and no imagination on your file”. My response was to say I would rather see it more like a commitment to urban mission and my people. So 15 going on 16 years I am unsure if have stayed too long, I don’t know how to measure or judge. I came to a poor insignificant parish I am still the servant of a poor insignificant parish nothing much has changed. I suppose I live in hope something of the Kingdom of God has been lived out by all of us in the parish. 

 

Lament

This weekend has been a time of many celebrations in the Anglican Church it has been a time for candidates for the ordained ministry to make some sort of commitment before Bishop and God that is life lasting. I went through the same journey a number of years ago from deacon to priest sliding nervously but passionately into parish ministry, my commitment was also followed by a family party to celebrate!  This Sunday morning I preached on 2 Samuel 1:17 end. I thoroughly enjoyed the preparation, it is King David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan and their death on the battle field. This section of the Old Testament recognises the cosmic shift from God and people to God, King, the Kings Kingdom and Gods people. I think this new favoured one of God, David, genuinely laments for Saul and Jonathan’s death. David in his lament models to his people the passing of something and someone in death knowing new possibilities to come. So I wonder on the Sunday when people celebrate being ordained would we not be better lamenting something passing and dying. Lament   Our old lives, our ability to come and go as we wish, our careers, our network of friends, the option to choose where we shall worship. As I start my 16 year in my parish (my!)  I am more open to lament, (you won’t win many friends focussing on lamenting) more sober of the possibilities of God more aware of my own need for God to change me let alone my (my!) Church and my (my!) parish. So celebrate away my Anglican Church there will be a time of lamenting I hope.