Home again

IMG_3830To be fair I’ve been home for a week, but now I know I’m home. I’ve conducted a wedding, presided and preached at Holy Communion, baptised two lovely children and realised I’ve forgotten to chose any hymns for Evensong.  On the other hand, the banns book is written up and the Banns Certificates await collection. The situation is normal.

The Inbox is under control, and I have a number of Pastoral visits lined up. (Who is being pastoral to whom is a reasonable question to ask.) I have a website redesign to consider, a number of policy documents to fettle, and some stuff to think about. I’ve even got dates for Harvest Festival, the next Pilgrim Course, and Adult Baptism/Confirmation Prep nearly under control. I am determined to keep August reasonably light, mainly by only doing stuff I enjoy unless it’s vitally important…which means I’m doing everything, but more slowly.

Homecoming is a strange thing. I have felt homeless for a few years, knowing that that curacy was only ever a temporary state. But driving back into the village from my holidays, I could feel my big sloppy grin returning. This place feels like home, it has a permanence about it – however transitory the presence of each Rector in the community. And my place here is being proclaimed in paint, I type this knowing that the signwriter is at work. I’m being put on the Church noticeboard, which feels very grown up and normal all at the same time.

Perhaps more strange to me is that my name is being added to the wooden board on which all the rectors of the parish dating back to the 1200’s are listed. It feels strange for a number of reasons – there is a weight of tradition in that list, a sense of history handed on. I am the first woman to be named on it, although I hope and pray I won’t be the last. The list acts a reminder that in a hundred years time, all that will remain is my name, anything I did will have been renewed and revised several times over. Each name represents a parish priest, some better, some worse, but most of them now forgotten – although the ones held in living memory still shine brightly. I have stepped into a line of priests who have all called this place “home”. I’m honoured and humbled to be here.

7 responses to “Home again

  1. Good to read that you’re home in a real sense of permanence in succession to those who’ve gone before. That gives a sense of continuity but combined with realism, this is but one stop, albeit a lightly longer than normal one on the vocational journey that started with your ordination as a deacon.

    Sometimes the beauty of such a system, which can be traced back over the centuries to antiquity is missed. Along with all of the feet that have trod your path before, have said mass, led matins, evensong and compline and have hatched, matched and despatched for centuries. It’s a sense of belonging that is missing from our more mobile and transient lives. We’ve lost our roots to some extent.and as we get older (at least in my case) we try to find out what we’ve lost, where we come from and who we are. Perhaps that explains the popularity of the TV geneology programs and family history research.

    I have my name marked for posterity in gold lettering on a board, displayed at a military unit where I once filled the post of Regimental Sergeant Major. Despite a long career and many jobs, it’s the only job that I did that seems to deserve being remarked and preserved for posterity. Not sure if I care that much about it, but it was an important step, being the senior soldier in a place for a time, with the next step being commissioning or retirement. I occasionally go to that place and look at the long line of people who succeeded me in that post and feel remarkably old. But at least it gives me a sense of a place in things, somewhere where my name will be preserved for posterity while the unit remains, and even afterwards in a museum somewhere, where this sort of thing tends to end up.

    Old fogey? Yes, but one who is glad to be remembered, however kindly or unkindly by those who pass the notice board daily. Succeeding generations of soldiers will have seen that and might wonder who I was, what I was like etc? A little bit of posterity as least.

  2. Really good blog. Glad to hear you feel at home in the village. You are a great rev’d, you make the services enjoyable, easy to understand and to follow. You deserve your name to be on the wooden board.

  3. “all that will remain is my name, anything I did will have been renewed and revised several times over”
    I don’t believe that will be true – your ministry is a vehicle for God to touch lives: your church members, the visitors who attend, the clergy in your deanery. Those lives touch others; those others touch others again. In 100 years time, they may not know the person God used to drop the pebble in the pond, but the effects of the ripples will have gone further and wider than you can imagine.
    Grace, peace and everlasting blessings to you!

  4. A quick note to say I thought this was a wonderful post. So glad you feel at home and are being given the gift of know that, and the time to appreciate it.

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