"Fourth Year"

As I have now entered the fourth, and hopefully final, year of curacy, I thought it was about time for an update (seeing as this blog is supposed to be a record of my curacy journey)!

As I posted in the September last year, I have been trying to think and reflect a lot more about Self Supporting Ministry, and reading as many books as I can find on the subject (and there aren’t an awful lot). Part of the upshot of this was a realisation that I needed to give my day job (and ministry there) more respect – it isn’t something I can just fit in on top of a leadership role and parish ministry.

So my final year of curacy is going to have a somewhat different shape – instead of working 4 days a week in paid employment, and then spending on day a week at church doing parish things, I am rather going to continue in my 4 days a week at work (albeit different days), and then have the other day a week to build in some time and space. To be honest, curacy has been a real struggle in terms of my own head-space, and I have found it really hard not having time on my own to process stuff. I guess the final straw came for me when I realised that I wasn’t giving my best at work, or behaving in the way I wanted to towards my colleagues, because I was essentially running on empty.

I’m anticipating that this change will allow to me to be a bit more intentional in both resourcing and exploring what (priestly) ministry in the (secular) workplace might be about.

In practical terms, it means I have now stepped back from parish ministry and being a member of the staff team at church (which has been an interesting experience in itself). I am very much still a licensed member of clergy, and continue with leading services and preaching – these are things which I believe are at the heart of the ministry God is calling me to. However I am no longer particularly involved in the pastoral and occasional offices, or indeed any specific area of ministry, or church governance (except that I still serve on PCC and Deanery Synod).

Of course, this beautiful new plan was all pre-covid19 – and while I have indeed stepped back from parish ministry, it has been replaced with a perfect storm at my paid job, and home schooling on my days not at work, as well as supporting my wife as a front-line worker. The picture since the start of term in September has been slightly better – work has calmed down, and I have had a couple of Fridays to myself; but to be honest life is still pretty tough in our household, as I know it is for lots of households.