Friday, 13 June 2008

Farewell Jenny

We said goodbye to my colleague Jenny Vereker at St Nicolas', Great Coates tonight and it is going to be very difficult seeing her disappear into retirement. She spoke movingly about her calling, and about our calling to love one another. We sang her favourite hymns. Her newish grandaughter nearly stole the show. And we eat our way through some of an extensive buffet in her garden.

I was able to say that I'm not sure that I or the Church of England speak often enough about just what we owe to those who come to priesthood late in their career with extensive experience of church membership, family, voluntary work and work. All this background has come to play in the sort of priest Jenny is (and our parish has both produced and received quality ministry from other such priests).

And I also suspect that, while priests like me hide their insecurities by making most of the things other people will notice (a blog here, a diocesan Working Party there and a building project for people to admire elsewhere), priests like Jenny reveal their security by making most of the hidden things of priesthood which often are not visible at all if only because of confidentiality (prayers here, care there and a community initiative to be supported elsewhere). We shall miss her.

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