Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Worrying about others or myself

It's nearly 10 months since I began probation at Airside Kirk. Wow - that's certainly flown in, but with it comes the ever growing realisation that it won't be that long till I'll be moving on from there. Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh.....

God willing, I'll 'pass' my final review (the intensive interview which decides if I can can proceed to ordination, and which allows me to being the formal search for 'my' church). Then I have 3 months to find a job, before I'm unemployed. I know everyone tells me I'll find somewhere without a problem, but I'll begin counting chickens once they've hatched!

I have been looking, on occasion, at parish profiles, so I have a bit of an idea where I may go. I am trying to be as open minded as possible, as if I say I am not going somewhere, I can guarantee that's where I'll end up.

In among this all, I am still learning (but that will never stop), still growing, still doing what I am called to do, which includes supporting colleagues - especially (at this stage) those of us who are also on probation. I have been sometimes concerned how they will manage once 'on their own,' but I now realise it's been a whole load of projection on my part.

I am concerned how I'll manage once I am 'The Minister.' Once there's no more buck passing (not that I get to do that much, but I hope you know what I mean); once I go somewhere new and I have to begin the whole process of getting to know the congregation, the parish etc again.

I know this is the way it much be. And there are things which, I completely support, I wouldn't necessarily do it that way, long term, where I might go. There's things I may say in another context, I would not say at Airside. Perhaps not because they shouldn't hear it, but because it would not fit with what they're used to (sorry, being deliberately vague!).

So, I need to think, when I wonder about others, am I really wondering about myself? And, if I am being honest, the answer is yes.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Taking time to think

Because I have (I was going to say had, but thought that wouldn't be completely true) a tendency to, on occasion, put my foot in it (I know, don't we all?), sometimes I take a wee bit longer than normal to answer a question.

It may be while I work out what the real question is; it could be I'm aware the person speaking to me is a little fragile and I need to be careful how I answer; or it could be I'm trying to work out whether or not they are being really sarcastic. If it's the latter, I need to take that second or too longer to (a) work out whether being cheeky or sarcastic back would be appropriate or (b) decide to answer politely and move on.

This will take a moment. Just a moment, as I try to use a wee bit more sensitivity than I think I need. Okay, so I'm usually very quick at answering, so that may confuse you. But, sometimes, as I am learning, a wee pause to think it better than putting my foot so far in it that it'll take more than half a second to correct.

Of course, this all depends on who I am talking to (and where I am talking to them), the context of the conversation, who else may hear what I am saying, my state of mind and my awareness of the state(s) of minds of those with whom I am speaking.

So, if I pause to think before I reply, don't worry, I am listening. Really, listening and thinking and watching. Honest.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

This stage in my journey

Airside is currently 'doing' (oh, that sounds really bad, doesn't it?) its stewardship season at the moment, which is focusing on talents. I've enjoyed being part of the planning and preparation for this, which began back in September, just after their 'money' season. The team who organise and promote stewardship at Airside are a hardworking, dedicated and fun group (boy, am I going to miss this congregation...).

There's a coffee morning next week, to for the congregation to come to and see what they can maybe offer, to help the church. Maybe for a one off, maybe for a year. I know, there has already been people coming forward, to help with things, as a result of hearing and reading about the stewardship campaign. Which is great.

Today, was the 'main' service, focusing on talents, how we are all gifted, all called, and all can do something. And it was well thought out and planned, which was reflected in the service.

What I wasn't expecting, was elements of it to freak me out. Some of the words of hymns, or prayers, or even looking around and realising what a great community there is at Airside. Mainly, it was comments about gifts - unearthing them, trying something, taking the risk to see if that's where God is calling you at the moment - all not directly intended for me, but just were.

I'm so conscious of how much I've grown in faith and experience and trust in God during my time (so far) at Airside. I have unearthed gifts I didn't know I had (and they can only be from God, because how else do you explain someone who's musically inept, who can't read music and who can't sing, being good at choosing the 'right' hymns, not just for today, but 99.9% of the time? And that's just one example). As my trust of God has deepened, I have felt better able to have confidence in my abilities. All just goes to show how getting the 'right' probation placement was worth it.

And, if you've been with me from the start, you'll know the route has been the long-way-round. If things had gone smoothly, I may have been an ordained minister for over a year by now. But all the waiting and difficulties have allowed me to understand who I am and accept God's calling. Really accept it. Besides, if I'd have a smooth run, I wouldn't have got to do my probation at Airside, and I know this is exactly where I have needed to be for this stage in my journey.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Ripple Effects

Oh, I have been somewhat neglectful of this over the last few weeks (months?). As I get further and further into ministry, I realise there is less and less I feel I can post in a public forum, even in an anonymous blog like this.

So, what's been happening? Quite a lot. Spot and I managed a wee break a couple of weeks ago, getting away for our anniversary for the first time in since I began training. We won't get used to us, as it's on Palm Sunday next year. God willing, we'll both be ordained by them, and that's not a Sunday we can take off, is it.

But, there's nothing like a gentle, quiet beginning to being off work for a week. And I had nothing like it, but it was all my own fault, as I'd organised what was going on. Namely, The Easter Code (scroll down page to see what it's all about). I'd heard of it via Spot, who'd helped with it on his first placement, floated the idea with The Boss back at the end of January and was trusted to run/organise it. We invited all the P7s from both primaries in the parish (around 120 pupils all in) and they said yes, which was pretty impressive.

It was brilliant to be trusted to do this, to contact the schools, co-ordinate who did what (in background prep and leading on the day) and recruit the volunteers needed. (It's funny, the other places I know of which have run this have a chaplaincy team for a primary, due to the overlap in the catchment areas for the primaries, meaning straight away there may be 2-3 ministers available to take part. Not for Airside, where there is 1 church in town, with 1 minister and me!). It was well worth the effort, as the children really got a lot out of it, as did all of us from Airside Kirk who were involved.

The schools have also been really impressed, with one now asking if they can come to the church more often, to hear about other Christian festivals, baptisms etc. And, the people who helped run it are really keen on running it next year, and are looking to maybe run it's sister program, Bubblegum and Fluff, nearer Christmas. Oh, the ripple effects of my comment about perhaps it could be something Airside Kirk could run a little over 2 months ago!

Now, I'm in the midst (as with almost every minister) of services for Holy Week. But I'm loving it. Loving the chance to take time to worship God, to listen to his word afresh, to walk with Jesus to the cross and, once more, realise how much God loves me and his world.

I am so blessed to be in this place. I am so blessed to be called by God to ministry. I am just burstung with delight at the moment, even when things seem dark.