Frivolity and Frailty

It’s not often you see three clergymen dong the Lambeth Walk on Lambeth Bridge.  I was that privileged viewer, and here’s the very poor photo I took.  

We were on an Outing, The Romsey Deanery Clergy Chapter Trip to London.  It felt rather like being part of a school trip, although it was by no means clear who was acting the part of “Teacher”.  Let’s be honest, we were more like a bunch of 15 year olds who have escaped from Teacher and been allowed free time!

We did some worthy and fascinating things.  We were given a guided tour of Lambeth Palace, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury, a place of history and peace.  We went around the Palace of Westminster, seat of democracy and government.  Both visits were fascinating, in a small group of interested people, with guides who quickly appreciated that we wanted to be there and so gave their information with grace and a great deal of humour.  Our supposed hour long tour of Westminster took nearly double that as our guide went out of her way to show us the bits she thought we would be interested in.     Yes, the visits were fantastic. 

But we spent time together, something we seldom do without an Agenda.  My calm peace loving Training Incumbent found a rubber band in his quiche, and wanted to ignore it.  The Rural Dean getting very exercised, and insisting complaint should be made, a retired colleague giving marks to each side in the ensuing (loud!) discussion, has already become part of Chapter History.  

The aforementioned Rural Dean marched me into Watts & Co (a rather intimidating clergy outfitters, I usually use Wippells just up the street) and insisting they find a woman’s clergy shirt for me to try on – while he nearly bought a birreta with a pink pom pom.  Yes, it was like being in our very own episode of “Father Ted”.

We laughed, teased, joked and generally behaved like human beings and friends.  Sadly some of our colleagues didn’t join us.  There was debate about the intent of such a trip, about worthwhile use of time.  We all have busy parish lives to lead.  But if clergy are to support each other, there must be trust, acceptance, some knowledge of the individual, a relationship based on something more than geographic proximity and an accident of Deanery boundaries.  Team building in industry is acknowledged to be useful, and anyone who has been subject to it knows it mostly happens through sharing the stories in the pub after.  So it was for our deanery chapter.  

Frivolity shared means more trust, an easier sharing of frailty when we need support.  What a great day!

3 responses to “Frivolity and Frailty

  1. So sad that some couldn't see the value of this outing. There is at least one notable absentee from your photo! However, I guess it wouldn't have been wise for every clergyperson in the whole Deanery to absent themselves at the same time, else there would have been a guaranteed 'crisis' of some sort!

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