From The Manse: Autumn 2008
It all began at the end of June, when I attended an EM2 (Education for Ministers) course at The Windermere Centre in the Lake District. Entitled, ‘The Word in the Arts’, we were given a rich feast of creativity and fresh engagement with the Bible, as well as some pretty amazingly creative food by the Centre’s Chef! We looked at Theology and Social comment in Cinema – 2000 years of the Bible in Art – and Handel and Cohen: Eschatology Set to Music. If that all sounds rather high brow, it wasn’t – just an honest look at how we see God in Film, Art and Music, and something which is very close to my heart.
Next, I was off to Ushaw College in Durham, for Minister’s Summer School, which dealt with the first of a three year focus on Mission. Here we discussed Mission in the British Context, looking at how social trends affect the spread of the Gospel and how Church needs to adapt in the way it exists within the community. Interestingly enough, we watched the 1986 film ‘The Mission’, which if you have never seen it, is worth a look because it shows how mission was carried out by 18th Century Spanish Jesuit priests. Our whole group was stunned into silence at the end of the viewing – which was a remarkable feat in itself!
A few days later, my travels took me to the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, for the URC General Assembly. This was my first full assembly, made even more special by being presented to the Moderator, with other ‘new’ ministers.
Last, but not least, came my ‘End of Year One’ EM2 Reflection weekend back up at the Windermere Centre. Here, all the new ministers who had started their journeys more or less at the same time in 2007, met up again to reflect and compare strategies for life in our various pastorates. John Campbell (Principle of Northern College, which trains ministerial candidates and the like), led us through such sessions as, ‘Spinning Plates: strategies for crash control and coolness’ – ‘Balancing Acts’ – ‘People, power and personality’, as well as looking at Gordon MacDonald’s “Law’s of Unseized Time” (from ‘Ordering your private world’, (c) 1984, Nashville). It was all designed to help us make the most of ministerial life, without hurtling head long into burnout.
Now, as I write this, I am looking forward to a couple of weeks of ‘real holiday’, so that by the time you read this, I will be refreshed and rested and ready to begin in September all that constitutes ministerial life here in Preston and Longridge in my second year here with you all.
Thank you for sharing your faith journey’s with me so far, forgive me if I haven’t quite lived up to what you were expecting, help me to change the things I need to change, as we continue to journey together as the people of God.