Thursday, 22 August 2013

Busy Rectory Bees - needing Confirmation advice

The pace of life doesn't seem to slow down at the rectory. Just when we can see a gap in the calandar, there are unexpected visits from our sons and other family members. It is such a joy to be on the visiting radar, as living in Devon, we were just that little bit too far for an easy drive for the rest of our families. The summer is full of village shows and we have tried to get to most of them. The Rector@6 still hasn't quite got broad enough shoulders to ignore remarks about his occasional lack of attendence at one or another show. These comments show such little understanding of how hard he is working, and whether the comments are in jest or not, they upset the Rector@6 and me. If they could only see behind the rectory door! Finding his way through the business of six parishes and getting to understand the people and how they work, is a very time consuming business.

As autumn approaches, thoughts are turning to harvest services /suppers (each parish wanting their own), Christmas (yes Christmas!), Advent courses and the post Christmas visit from the Bishop for a Confirmation service. The latter service means that the confirmation classes must be completed during the Christmas period. Of course the Rector@6 won't be doing this all on his own, he has a team of clergy who have to work together to cover the six churches of the benefice.

I am now taking on the role of Benefice secretary !!!!!! Ok - so I was going to have my own life - but it is just not possible and keep a sane husband. While we remodel the benefice website, it is easier to have this job under the rectory roof for a short period (it is not for ever!). I have also been going through some of the resources available for Anglican Confirmation. I am so disappointed by what I have found. Has anyone used up-to-date, none indoctrinating, challenging, exciting material for teenagers' Confirmation classes? It is a serious business but surely we should be tapping into the teenage energy and encouraging them with up-to-date understanding of the Anglican church and how we (The Church) recognise their gifts and can use them. There must be something out there that makes the Church of England look relevant to the average teenager!
If you can help, or can recommend anything, or can ask anyone you know who might have suitable material - please contact me. Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places but we do want to see our young people spreading their wings.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Six monthly audit and lots of faith, hope and love.

I can't believe we have been here for six months! Our life was upturned and redirected in February, when we moved to this small rural village and my husband began his first incumbancy as the rector of six rural churches. I can't believe how different one English county can be from another. Here we are surrounded by thatched cottages and vast fields of crops. Despite living in the countryside before, never has the onset of harvest been so obvious to me. We are surrounded by acres of wheat and barley that stretch as far as the eyes can see. Now, after a short, intense sunny spell, the tractors seem to be working continuously to bring the crops in. The thundering tractors race through the village from dawn until midnight (- when they are actually obliged to stop). As you look over towards the farms, it looks like there is a dust storm rising out of the fields - centred on a huge harvester monster that continuously crawls up and down the field. And so the crops will be brought in and the circle of ploughing and planting will start again.

The Rector has now had six months to listen and watch the six churches in action. When he came here, he promised to make no changes and to get to know the people and parishes in his first six months. This has required patience from those folk who wanted things to change or move on, or were worried that the new rector was going to shake up the familiar. It has been a great time for us as we have tried to attend most village events and the Rector@6 has tried to attend most parish meetings. It has also been a very busy and tiring time!

Often in August, being the school holidays, many church groups take a break so the Rector@6 decided that this was a good time to run a short course to get to know people on a different level. He advertised the York course 'Faith, Hope and Love' - to run in the Rectory garden with a bring and share supper. It has been a great opportunity to listen to people and where they are in their churchmanship, their faith journey and their relationship with the parish church. The Rector@6 would thoroughly recommend this course to other ministers starting out somewhere new. It has proved to be very popular - so much so -  that we have had to run it in two sessions, either with lunch or supper. It has made for a very busy August hence the lack of blogging on my part!

I am settling down into a routine of helping with and riding the big horses over in the next village. This is my escape from parish life, as they are outside the Rector@6's parishes. And I need it! We seem to eat, sleep and talk church in the Rectory. This settling-in period seems such an intense time but then that is the same with any new job - but I am not employed in this job - I just live in it!