Laughing Anglicans

IMG_2802An evangelical priest in charge of an inner city urban parish and a catholic minded curate into rural ministry walked into a sandwich shop in Newcastle upon Tyne……

It does sound like the start of a joke, but it was towards the end of a busy three days of a visit by a delegation of Winchester Diocese to Newcastle Diocese. The great and the good (two Diocesan Bishops, three Archdeacons, two Diocesan Chief Executives and a Bishop’s Chaplain) were ensconced in a meeting to talk about the focus and future strategy for this particular link. They, the priest in charge and I had had two and a half days of being shown different kinds of place and ministry within the Diocese, described by its Bishop as “massively rural with an urban strip”.

We had both been taken a long way from our comfort zones (neither of us is that used to being around the great and the good), we had both seen eye opening, idea provoking work being done by people lay, ordained, Christian, and secular. We had had time to talk during car journeys, and learned each other’s coffee preferences. And both of us were surprised by the degree of commonality we shared, in our ministry, in our understandings of the areas we operate in, and in our belief in community and relationship as heart of Gospel.

We’ve both changed too. He understands a bit more about rural timescales, about living with the rhythm of seasons and long distances, about why change might happen more slowly with people accustomed to listening to their heartbeat. I will be more overt about why I do what I do, about why I try to help connect people with each other and with God, I will be braver about telling people what Jesus Christ has done for humankind.

The odd thing is that we didn’t really need to go to the Diocese of Newcastle to find those things out…. but we might not have laughed as much together if we hadn’t.

There will probably be several more blog posts about my Newcastle visit….be patient!


7 responses to “Laughing Anglicans

  1. I can see the dilemma, Evangelical v.Catholic, but to my mind, they can be two sides of the same coin. I’ve learned during my brief sojourn within the CofE that the different traditions (sic) are in fact at best, complementary and at worst (well I won’t go there).

    I have found worship in a wide variety of settings with both traditions, both Rural and Urban have much more in common than we think. I’ve been taken out of my comfort zone with some Evangelical sermons, which disturbed my conscience but also with one at the Installation of a Catholic tradition Priest which challenged my though discomfort in an Anglo Catholic setting, I loved it!!! It reminded me so much of my Roman Catholic uprbringing, that I was nearly converted from my more broad church outlook.

    The point is that each of these churches, their people and their communities fit together. Like a huge jigsaw puzzle that is the CofE, they each have their ‘right’ place and work because of that.

    As I begin a move to a new parish and diocese in the new year, I’m already known in the new place, which is semi-urban, but will really miss the people and dispersed communities of the rural benefice that I will be leaving behind. But I know that I go with their good will and love and hopes for the opportunities open in the new place.

    All in the service of God, isn’t the CofE wonderful??

  2. I love to read your blogs, they always give me such hope and comfort that the CofE is full of wonderful people working so hard for others (and God!). I’m glad you had such a good time in Newcastle my home town (although I grew up in rural Glos), the project you saw is really inspiring. I’ve just been on a trip to Botswana our Diocese other link and that was very moving. Shane our Diocesan Secretary was telling me about the visit and how fruitful it was.
    Keep writing, you are connecting with people you don’t even know and I’m really glad for one. Izzy x

  3. Pingback: Building community and body building? | Rev'd Claire·

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