Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Wants verses needs.

It's a week today until my local review. I can't believe how much I've learnt and experienced over the last six months. I've not always got it right, but I do know I am on the right path. I will hold onto that no matter what the outcome of next week is.

I've also been reflecting on the outcome of the local review. I would like to be recommended for the national selection conference. That said, I think it would be best if I have an extension in my co-ordinated field assessment. That would allow me to address the areas I need to. This would allow me to show others (and myself) I can learn from my mistakes and respond to constructive feedback. As I stated in my last posting, due to circumstances outwith my control, I haven't been able to demonstrate this and I think, even if I were to be recommended for selection conference, it would count against me. Also, as my hubbie pointed out, if I extended my CFA, I would still be on my first attempt. The more I think about it, the more I think that would be the best outcome.

The thing is, this Sunday is my last at my placement. Would I get another placement or more time where I am? Do I mention this at my local review or wait and see the outcome?

Whatever happens, I know it will all be part of God's plan for me.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The end of the beginning?

My co-ordinated field assessment is nearly finished - my last Sunday is 29th March, with my local review taking place on 1st April (yes, April fools day!).
In many respects, I feel I've covered a lot during a very short period of time. The CFA only officially started in mid-November. Also, between my supervisor's time off sick and my issues following the accident, I've not really done too much since January. At least that's sort of how it feels.

On Monday, I met with my supervisor for the last time before my local review. We discussed how I felt about preaching on Sunday and how I feel about my call. Preaching seemed okay and I received some very kind comments. As for my call, I very much feel called to the ministry of word and sacrament, though sometimes I doubt I have the ability to fulfil that call, yet I know God calls me despite of myself.

My supervisor asked what I thought was an interesting question. "What would you like the outcome of the local review to be?". Mmh - was this a trick question? I answered honestly - I would like to be recommended for selection conference, but I will wait and see the decision of the local reviewers.

So, is this the end of the beginning of my journey to ministry? I will know in 3 weeks time.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Deja Vu

I preached at my placement church this morning. As I've been not my usual self (what with pain, drugs etc), I decided to re-use the sermon I wrote for my home church four weeks ago.

The way things have worked out, between me being elsewhere for a variety of reasons, it was the first time I'd actually been to my placement church since late January. I was, if anything, more nervous about that than preaching. I needn't have been - a few people were asking how I was (my supervisor had told them of the accident) and said it was nice to see me back.

The sermon itself seemed to go well, despite the mic packing in for no apparent reason. I can manage without the mic, but it's necessary for the T-loop system, for those with hearing aids (which includes my supervisor). My supervisor passed me the lectern mic and I carried on regardless.

After the service one lady thanked me profusely for my sermon and said "that is a great God given talent you have there". I was very touched by that as it was obviously spoken from the heart.

Some people tried to give me a congratulatory pat on the shoulder - yes, my sore one. After a very "firm" one (argh!!! - I'm surprised I didn't swear), I learnt to protect my collar bone with my hand.

It was also my placement church's annual stated meeting today. Although I've attended them at my home church, I felt it would be useful to see how other churches ran theirs. In my placement church's case, it was literally the legal minimum - the statement of accounts. No discussion of what the church has done over the last year and what there is to look forward to. I know no-one really likes those meetings and the majority of people think of them as a necessary evil, but just the statement of account? Is that all the church has to show for a year to hard work? I don't know, it just doesn't seem right somehow. Maybe it's just me though?

Friday, 13 March 2009

The Kindness of Strangers

I've always been aware how kind strangers can be - helping out others for no reward at all; just doing the right thing. Since our accident, I have been even more aware of that than ever.

Only yesterday, my hubbie and I were in a cafe for lunch. He was trying to help with my jumper - not easy with 2 usable left hands between us - and the lady at the table behind us helped, then was really, genuinely, concerned to hear of or accident. Later on in the cafe, I had decided to get a scone (the fastest cake in the world - s'cone - it's gone - think about it. Sorry bad joke, but one of my favourites! Anyway, I digress, bad to my story.). A lady at another table offered to spread it for me.

Those are just the latest examples of total strangers helping us out. There was no reward for them doing so, except our thanks. Interestingly, last week I was reading The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The bottom line argument in Dawkins book is altruistic behaviour only occurs in order that genes in an organism will survive. The closer the genetic relationship, the more likely an organism will make a sacrifice for another one of its kind.

In many respects, and given I have a science background, I could understand where Dawkins was coming from. That still doesn't explain certain human behaviour - why did those ladies help my hubbie and I? Dawkins would probably argue as part of a community, they were genetically programmed to help other members of the community. The community shares similar genetic traits (white east coast Scots!). To me, true altruistic behaviour is what disseminates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. That, I believe, is one of the many gifts we have from God - a unique gift, as we are made in His image.

Only then can we explain events like Red Nose Day. People raise million of pounds to help others all over the UK and the world. People they will never meet or know. People of other communities with a different genetic inheritance. In terms of the Selfish Gene argument, what benefit to a teenager from Edinburgh's genetic inheritance is there ensuring a forty year old in South Africa gets clean water and anti-viral drugs for their HIV? Very, very little as far as I see.

Helping others for no reward is one of the greatest gift's God has given us. That is His Love.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

PDI - part 2

I managed to my second PDI yesterday, though I was exhausted afterwards. The way things have worked out, it was only just over 3 months since my first one. Also, I may have missed out on things between my supervisor being off sick and now my accident. Ne'er mind, these things happen.

The meeting seemed to go well, though I did loose my chain of thought on a couple of occasions - I'm putting that down to the pain/painkillers etc post-operation.

I was asked how I manage my time. I wasn't entirely sure what he meant by that. I wittered on a bit almost as though it was a job interview. I could tell that was useful information, but not what he was looking for. Then I mentioned I have a strict "do something with the other half" time on Sunday afternoons. The interviewer seemed "pleased" with that statement - he asked how well it was enforced - once in 6 years. I think we're doing well.

Another question was whether I'd had doubts with my call. I sort of discussed I doubted my ability rather than my call, but I don't think I really expressed myself very well. Mmmh - perhaps I should have postponed my PDI for a week. Oh well, it's done now!

My perceived strength and weaknesses were discussed. I think I can pretty much talk to anyone - any age or background. I believe that could be a useful skill for ministry. So, I'd call that a strength. In terms of weakness - well, given the evidence from January's fellowship meeting, I had to say it would appear I need to work on my group skills. Again, being able to work in groups is another important element of ministry (session/board meetings for example).

My interviewer suggested I try to work out exactly what triggered my reaction and suggested a book I may find useful. He asked if I had attended any other of those meetings - had I had the chance to show I had learnt from the incidence. Unfortunately, no. My supervisor was off sick for the February meeting and I was in hospital for the March one. My local review is before the April one. Pity - I know I should have been a lot more considered at the time, but I can't now prove it was a one-off. I really hope that one thing doesn't override everything else at the local review. Time will tell.

Finally, my interviewer enquired what I'd do if I wasn't selected. I'd naturally be disappointed - who wouldn't?. I'd take the feedback I'd been given, reflect on it and my call. If there were issues I could address, I would and then try again. What else could I do? Give up. Nah - I'm not that type of person - I am the woman who took 6 attempts to pass my motorbike test!!!

All I can do now is wait to see my interviewer's report. I also need to do my form-filling prior to my local review. It should have been back to 121 by yesterday, but as I'm preaching on Sunday, I've been given an extra week.

So. in less than 3 weeks time, I'll know if I'm going to a national selection conference. Now, it's just wait and see. At least my surgery is "distracting" me!!!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

All is well

My hubbie and I are now back following our operations. His was performed on Wednesday, with mine on Thursday. I think we both caused issues for the surgical teams as our ops took about double the usual time. As I've said before, we don't do things by halves!!!

We're glad the ops are over - we both saw them as the first step on our road to get our lives back. Now the physical healing process can begin. In just over a weeks time, we have follow-up appointments with our respective consultants and, a couple of days later, the physiotherapy begins.

During our hospital stay, the staff were amazing - if somewhat surprised to have a married couple with the same injury, getting the same operation. It's never happened before. One of the theatre nurses suggested to me we'd need to get matching anoraks now!!!

I have my follow-up PDI in Edinburgh on Wednesday - hopefully I'll manage getting a train. I think, apart from preaching ion my placement church, I've covered everything. I was supposed to be preaching today, so I would have preached before my PDI, but that's been postponed until next Sunday. I am going to use the same sermon I used three weeks ago in my home church. I had planned writing another, but circumstances got in the way!!!

So, we're now on the road of recovery and my CFA is almost over. Life is changing in VERY unexpected ways.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

I take it back

I had a meeting with my supervisor visor yesterday afternoon. It was a bit of a palaver getting there - I can't currently drive and it would have been a bit of a hassle and painful getting a bus. Ne'er mind, it got me out of the house!!!

Anyway, my supervisor was really concerned and supportive. I was to preach this Sunday (8th March), but as I'm having my operation tomorrow, that would be too soon. The reader-in-training at my placement church the following Sunday (15th) and my supervisor had ask him if he'd swap with me. We discussed any problems I may have doing the sermon as a result of my operation - standing for long periods being potentially the main one. As I told him, I won't really know until after the operation.

In terms of my CFA, I have covered most of the things we agreed and 121 needs. I had said I'd like to visit my placement church's organisations, but with my supervisor and I both being ill that hasn't been possible. He didn't seem too concerned about that - I have been involved in the similar organisations in my home church. Fair enough - I had thought it would be useful to visit the organisations as every church will have a slightly different take on them. I'm sure, if I am eventually selected, I will have ample opportunity to explore that part of the church's work.

My supervisor brought up the way I reacted at the fellowship meeting in January. He asked a few questions about how I'd reflected on what he'd told me. I told him I thought his comments were perfectly fair. I know I need to think more carefully how I react and come across. I also need to remember I don't know others backgrounds so shouldn't appear to be jumping to conclusions about their attitudes.

I think (hope) he was asking the questions to see if I had learnt from the experience. Also, to see if I had developed self-awareness in that regard. The fellowship meetings take place on the first Wednesday of the month. Unfortunately, the way it has worked out I will not be able to attend another before my local review and "prove" I really have learnt. I hope this doesn't count against me too much.

So, looking back at how annoyed I was with my supervisor, I now take it back. I see he was trying to help me. I don't know if he perceives me as having ministerial potential. That said, given it primarily appears to be my reaction at January's fellowship meeting that he keeps coming back to, hopefully he doesn't think I don't. I'll find out when I get a copy of his report. Fingers crossed...

Monday, 2 March 2009

Accident update

Well, the operations to plate my hubbie and my collar bones are set (no pun intended) are set to take place on Wednesday, having been postponed from last Wednesday. We were pretty stoical about the postponement - if there are no beds, there are no beds - others were pretty shocked we'd have to wait so long.

Well, yes we're having to wait a week (and, I must admit, I'd had better!), but using the power of google, my hubbie discovered the consultant who will be carrying out our operations is the canine testicles for shoulder surgery and rehab. Personally, I prefer waiting a week and getting the best.

In the meantime, some things have been getting to me - really petty things at that. Some friends of ours visited on Friday night and brought a huge food parcel with them (her Italian Mum sent it!). It was great to see them. They even did the dishes, but the didn't put the glasses away in the right place. Yes, they were in the correct cupboard, but not grouped with other matching glasses.

Big deal!!!

I know - they are clean, put away and still accessible for a couple with broken collar bones. That's just one example of the silly little things that are getting to me.

Yesterday, I had a big rant (poor hubbie, he got it and he's on the same boat as I am) and a bit of a greet to myself. I felt a lot better for it. I just have to accept how things are at the moment. It'll be okay in the end. I think part of my problem is I'm a busy person - always on the go. I find it very, very difficult to sit and let others do things for me - I do things for others.

The other thing is, I am getting towards the end of my co-ordinated field assessment. 121 have been informed of my accident and are being supportive. I am supposed to have my second personal development interview on 11th March - only 1 week after my operation. If that has to be postponed, my local review gets postponed too. That could have a knock-on effect for the selection conference (if local review sends me!).

I must admit, I would be disappointed if I missed all of that because of the accident (mmh, was it really an accident - that implies no fault; just one of those things). That said, I have other things to worry about in the meantime. To be honest, my hubbie is more concerned about the potential knock-on effect for my call that I am. I'm sure everything will work out okay in the end.

God is looking after us.