No, not in the ‘bitchy’ sense. I’m doing a lot of looking back and looking forward today – so more Janus than anything else.
I’m looking forward to being Ordained Priest in 10 days time. [Aside for those who don’t get it: there are three “states” of clergy – Deacons, Priests and Bishops. Bishops are self explanatory (and have oversight), Priests are what more people in a clerical collar are (they are presbyters, who preside at Communion amongst other things), Deacons are those who are called to serve. All clergy are ordained as Deacons, and serve (normally) one year before being ordained as Priest. Some people are called to be Deacons, and so stay as Deacons. OK?]. I’ve known I’m called to the Priesthood for some years now (around eight!), so I am really looking forward to getting on with all that will happen after. First however, I am looking forward to the pre-Ordination retreat – peace and quiet and TIME! However, there’s a lot of planning and organising to be done before I disappear off next Wednesday.
Also before then, I go to my first 2-day Rural Ministry Seminar. I’ve permission from the Diocese to study with the Centre for Rural Ministry Studies, which is based at Stoneleigh in Warwickshire, although the seminar is in Hawarden in Flintshire on Monday and Tuesday. I’m doing a 15 min presentation about what I want to find out over the next three years (for an MA) or six years (if I make it to “Revd Dr!). So why looking back? Well, a lot of it is about looking back over the past year, about the place where I am, and the people I have met, and what their perceptions and mine are of where they live and the lives they lead. But some of it is looking much further back into my own upbringing in rural Warwickshire, and of seeing how that has shaped my perceptions. Growing up just outside a village with 18 houses, a farm and a phone box, gives a different life view to growing up in the middle of a village of 4000. Which is different again to growing up in a town or city.
So I’m doing a lot of thinking today about how the things I see are because of the way I look at them. If I look through a rural lens I see some things – if I look through a town lens I see others. It’s a good job that God is in both images!