Thursday, 3 November 2016


Still a picture from the Arizona desert, but outside it is cold and wet, and 'inside' the difficult ministry news as I take things up again is that, while we are really grateful for a new full-time Team Vicar who will begin work alongside us in a few weeks with a particular outreach brief in which she will be able to give creative attention to lots of the openings we have, the overall creativity, quantity and variety of such ministry will in fact become much more constrictive locally as the diocese decides not to deploy a new Curate in training here at least in 2017 and it has become public that our local Urban and Industrial Chaplains are being made redundant.

It is slightly strange being in a much more centralised diocese these days anyway (literally so as the Bishops and Archdeacons move to live or at least work from central offices): our Team Vicar interviews took place for the first time in Lincoln rather than in the parish, something to which we were alerted only a few days before the interviews took place (by an HR officer e-mailing to say she needed to 'manage your expectations'); the e-mail telling us about Curate deployment was at best distant after twenty-two years close engagement in this area of work ('Bishop Christopher has asked me to thank you for your interest... they would like me to stress that if you remain interested in curate training for 2018 you will need to make a fresh application'); the ending of all industrial chaplaincy is not what was being explored in the working group of which I was a member a few months ago and a particular sadness given the quality of our local Chaplain.

But the desert cactus flowers and bears fruit, so there is great potential even in landscapes much more barren than ours, and the imminence of the arrival of a new full-time colleague (members of the Bishop's Staff took the initiative themselves to secure more than the half-time appointment we would otherwise have expected) is a joy on this drab and chilly day.

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