On this weekend 4 years ago I was ordained in Rochester Cathedral. That experience holds as one of the most important and amazing days of my life, beaten only by our wedding day and being present at the births of my three children. The moment was captured by Peter, a good friend from Nailsea, in this sketch.
Four years have flown by, and it has been an amazing four years. The blog has been quiet this week as it has been, quite understandably, an emotional time as I started to leave. There were lots of people to say goodbye too and it has taken the best part of a week for me to catch up with everyone I needed to.
It has struck me that I have found the moving from this role to be particularly hard, uniquely so as, being a pioneer, I quite like change … thrive on it even! This toughness has caused me to reflect upon why leaving, in this instance, is proving to be quite a unique experience.
I need to say first, though, that I am in an odd situation that does not make a lot of sense. I am very excited, as well as daunted (as I was 4 years ago) about the new task in front of me. The thought of starting afresh in a new area is exciting and scary all together … but this time it is tinged with a massive sadness of leaving Rochester behind.
In my reflections I have wondered and have realised:
It’s not really about the city of Rochester, although it is very lovely and a wonderful place to work.
It’s not really about Rochester Cathedral, although it is a magnificent building and to start my ordained journey there has been the most amazing experience. I have done things there which I would never of had the chance to do elsewhere and not a day has passed when I have not realised how fortunate I was to be a curate at the cathedral.
It’s not about wetherspoons despite their massive choice of good real ale and cheap prices and the way they have welcomed and embraced pub theology.
Surprisingly it is not even about Deaf Cat which is by far the best coffee shop in Medway, probably the whole of te south east!
My sadness at moving has not been about any of these places ….. it has been about the people I have spent my time with in these places, the people who have invited me into their lives and the people who I am incredibly lucky to now be able to call friends. It is these people that I will miss chatting with on a daily basis and it is these people who have had such a profound impact upon my life while I, in turn, have had the immense privilege of being able to listen and then share our dreams, our hopes and our struggles. Sometimes we have laughed together, sometimes we’ve cried together and other times we’ve got angry … and each was right in its time. Each of these friendships are very special to me and I will continue to treasure them massively. The only thing I can say is ‘thank you – you are amazing people!’.
But now, for me, the time has come when my focus must shift as my ministry and life look to be useful in a new part of God’s world. I move on taking special memories of special people and I thank God for those friends and experiences, and I look forward with expectation at how God will continue to bless us as I acknowledge again the sometimes gritty reality of Romero’s Long View…
It helps, now and then, to step back
and take the long view.
The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.