Well, I've been back at work now for just over a week. It was a shock. I deliberately went back on a Friday to ease myself in; apart from anything else, we had had an office move during my absence and as a result I had a new desk. I wanted to unpack in a leisurely fashion and get everything organised and sorted before getting into the week. Going back on a Friday enabled me to do that.
Reflecting back, my prior four weeks have been incredibly rich. A week of Easter School where some incredible friendships emerged and blossomed. It was where, as a year group, I think we discovered who might be within our support group in the year and indeed years to come. For some, this meant some very late nights drinking and putting the world (as well as the church) to rights. Was I one of these.....I wouldn't like to comment on that....!
The following three weeks on placement were rich and varied and I've blogged on those weeks. It all ended with a visit to HMP Belmarsh which rounded off my placement very nicely. It was especially nice as I was let out as well!
All wasn't over, though. I felt it important that I return for a Sunday to say my farewells to the congregation of St Augustine's. I also had the opportunity to preach. Once last chance to sit in the chancel with Fr Clive, MC and be part of the richness of worship at the church. I preached on the uncertainty of our future and how, whilst we try to create certainty we live in an uncertain world and that we need to trust in God more. It was a lovely Mass and chatting after to the congregation, many of whom had offered me their hospitality was a wonderful way to finish and say a temporary farewell.
Work has been difficult. I have gone from living in the vicarage, with a daily routine of prayer and worship (and time allowed in the day for this) to life once again as a commuter; the 12 hour day of almost 3 hours travel, sitting at a desk staring at a screen, internal and external meetings, strategising, planning etc etc......I love my job, but I did feel a certain sense of bereavement being away from parish life. The time flew by and now actually seems like a long time ago.
This last week there's been a lot happening in the public eye. We've had an election (in case you hadn't noticed) and a government, as I type, hasn't yet been formed. I guess I'm not the only one who just wants the politicians to get on with it and decide who's going to run the country.
Then there is the publishing, by the Church of England, of the draft measure for the admitting of women to the episcopate. I've printed off the 142 page document and intend to read it. It's not going to change my view. I'm fully in favour of the move. However, what I dearly hope and pray for is that both sides of the debate can discuss, debate and pray over the move in a manner that befits us as Christians and that some of the hate and vitriol that we have seen up until now doesn't reappear. I know of some who seem to have a personal mission against ++Rowan and the Church of England as a whole (but are ordained within the CofE). This is a significant move for the church and it is my hope that there can be some very adult discussions about this.
Finally, I would like to share this video with you. It is a short interview with Brother Roger of Taize. In a little time, it speaks to me greatly.
Peter, do you love me? from Taizé on Vimeo.