To 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.