cheat (or is that cheeky?) pioneer post!

Wednesdays for me is a study day. In our working agreements, all curates are supposed to take a day a week for study. I’m fortunate in that Adrian sees the value of this and has encouraged me to make the space for this work. This is part of our training and formation. Personally I think it is a good discipline to protect this time, like protecting time with families and days off. If we are going to lead churches in appropriate and relevant ways it is important that we regularly keep abreast of old and new ideas so we can contemplate, study and avoid getting into a rut. If we can form good habits in our curacies then they are likely to stay in the future.  But … I digress.

My major assignment this year has been different to my fellow curates. I am to present a portfolio of my first two years work as a pioneer working out of a cathedral as an 8000 word equivalent. I have information, study notes, reflections and so on in a variety of places … podcasts that I have experimented with, journals for things and thoughts i do not wish to be public, notes from book I have red and applied to by context, and of course this blog. In fact the major part of the raw material for my portfolio will come from this blog over the last two years. There is so much reflection and information and ongoing questions that I need to make a judgement and the most sensible, to me, seems to be to take those that have come across as being the most major.

I have an opec spec on what particular facet(s) I choose to concentrate on … and this is where you, the wonderful regular readers of SHP come in. I very much consider that you have been traveling this journey with me. Many of you have been kind enough to make comments, or to email me or even meet up for coffee, beer or food to chat about some of the stuff that has been raised. I’ve valued that input and all of it has challenged me and most of it has influenced my practice.

So … I have a request. If you consider yourself to be part of this in some way (and I think you all are) I would be grateful if you could take a moment or two to consider what you think have come through as the major issues or questions that I have been experiencing or asking over the last 2 years. I would like my portfolio to reflect what others are hearing as well as what I believe I have experienced.

I hope you don’t think that is a cheeky question … but rather one that will massively help me to learn as much as I can from the last couple of years.


7 thoughts on “cheat (or is that cheeky?) pioneer post!

  1. I'm a Methodist Minister, 11 years in. I've read your blog on and off for over 2 years.The biggest issue (and one which I find personally useful to reflect on, living in a village and doing some of the same) that has come across on your blog is the discipline of 'hanging around'.I've loved your attempts to grapple with the theology of this and work out where God is in this process. I've noted your reflections on 'what on earth am I doing here?!' while that has been going on.The other issue I've noted is the struggle to form community- how long does one wait, 'hanging around' before doing this? Is it authentic to wait and see or wait and push. And does one invite those who you have been 'hanging around' with or form a worshipping core and then attempt stuff like your pub theology thingy?(I'm attempting some of the same stuff – albeit in a village of 2500 in North Yorkshire-and this blog is useful as a voice on the same journey).Thought- why not present this portfolio as an 'installation'? As a room to wander around in (and wonder in!)- with your fantastic pictures, snatches of dialogue, pc/projector on rotating loop etcKeep going!

  2. GrahamThanks loads for your comments … and in addition to that it's great to 'meet' someone new on here.the question over community is certainly a biggy for me and one I think we all need to grapple with. Hope your efforts in this area are going well. Don't put yourself down … village, town, city, hamlet … whatever – they are all full of people created in the Image of God who need to understand more of their true identity.I love your installation idea. My response … 'I wish!'. Sadly the University want 8000 words of written work … they don't seem to be that creative at Canterbury Christchurch!Actually .. we are visiting Yorks on august; wherabouts are you?

  3. Thanks Rob!I'm about 50 mins from York- much further North (Hutton Rudby- which no one has ever heard of- midway between Northallerton and Middlesbrough).Let me know your dates and location and I'll see what is possible (although I'm 'powering down' in Aug- 3 weeks in France, a few days back and maybe some time in N.Wales with friends)

  4. Hi Graham – I understand that as we are away for most of August too on a wind down.We are staying a few miles from Ripon from 23-27th which is probably when you are away too.maybe some other time

  5. That's around the time I am here: something may be possible.Drop us an e-mail on or a mobile number- depending on your side of Ripon something may be possible during the day- a coffee etc (I live in Hutton Rudby which is about 13 miles NE of Northallerton- Ripon is 45 mins away).You will probably get a response sometime around 22nd August as I go away this Friday..

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