Comings and goings

It’s that time of year.  September has been busy with beginnings, but in the midst of those I’ve had the future on my mind.  It’s partially the whole harvest and autumn thing, but this year there’s a little more to it.  I’m very aware that this time next year, I’ll be thinking my way out of curacy and into incumbency.  Yes, I know I am getting ahead of myself, but the more I can think through in advance the faster and better I’ll adapt.  No, it doesn’t matter if I have to rethink in the light of new facts – having done even wrong thinking always helps me.  It’s the way I’m wired.

But I’m not the only one thinking this through.  The rest of the family are starting to wonder about the future too.  They’ve all been affected in different ways by the move south, and by living in someone else’s house, and by having a clerical collar in the family home.  They’ve experienced my curacy in different ways, and have learned their own lessons.  One of them is involved in church here, and has to walk the tightrope of being their own person as well as related to the curate.  Another has used the move to disengage from church.  And another is considering the extent of social involvement in church they can tolerate, and whether that might be different when we are somewhere long term.

The thinking at the moment is of necessity nebulous.  There is much living here still to be done.  But I am reminded of my final year of training before I left work, when I became more and more sharply aware that I would not see some things through to completion, that some outcomes would remain a mystery (is the 1320 MW SQSS planning limit any higher yet?  Anyone?  I’ll have to go and have a look).  That process of leaving hurt then, and will hurt again here.  Looking forward is a way of dealing with loss and pain as well as planning for the future.   

2 responses to “Comings and goings

  1. It sounds very much to me as if you have no illusions about change, and reading your words just reminds me that change is something I lived with most of my adult life.

    Living a transient life can be difficult, we moved every 2 or three years, sometimes several times having to change house during the time in one place. It particularly affected the children, who grew up being used to having to make new friends and go to new schools every couple of years or so.

    I suspect that the life of stipendiary clergy will be much the same, although changing countries might not be a major issue. It is easier in the forces in some ways, because you become used to it, and despite the many changes you make, you soon learn to adjust and actually become rather good at making new contacts, the added interest for me, was that most times we moved my career was moving upwards due to promotion.

    Clergy moving to a new ministry, tend to stay a bit longer in each place. They put down roots, including schools etc so the wrench for the family off the cleric feeling a call to a new ministry must be that bit harder. Particularly if the circumstances for the family are worse than the last place that they lived. It must be a fine balancing act for Clergy, who while themselves convinced the that nebulous new ministry is needed, they have to consider the impact on their family, which might negate any new move. In addition, there is the added uncertainty that a new living might not be possible. I'm aware that many ending their curacy face being jobless and homeless with no guarantee of a new post. At least in the forces, you are told that you are moving, where you are going and have no choice in it – it makes it a bit harder to blame the Army, rather than it being your fault….

    I will be following your future ministry, wherever and whatever form it takes, because its a privilege that so many clergy are so open about their lives, walts and all. 🙂

  2. Hi Claire
    Very thoughtful and I can imagine all the things that go through your mind when thinking things through. It was somewhat easier for Julia and myself as our sons are grown up and married (well married anyway)but still a huge wrench to leave one parish for another as we have so many friends there – you will know that they are a lovely bunch of people. We too have been thinking about the future although me more than Julia. Where will we go and when? Going back to your parishes would be a non starter as we have said our goodbyes and although we still have our house their we can't see ourselves moving back to the place. Perhaps another Vicarage somewhere or a final retirement place. We dom't have the constraints of a four year curacy as Julia now has a permanent contract but what is permanent and as we really like our four parishes and the people how and when could we leave? Being a clergy family is really strange at times isn't it. This is our first taste of it really, Julia having been SSM before. Will keep you in our prayers. We know you are well loved there. Dave & Julia

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