Illness

It’s not often I get ill, but I have been these last two weeks. I’m now left with just a chest infection which I have antibiotics for. This has meant not only visiting, but registering for the local doctors, something I’ve put off for 3 years. It’s not that I have a fear of doctors, although the whole surgery scene is alien to me. I like to give the body time to fight things off when possible, however rest is not always convenient.

None of us are Superman (unfortunately) and sometimes we need to ask for help.

When my head has not been too foggy, I’ve found myself thinking about the lifestyle of clergy. We generally are not the healthiest of people, most clerics I know don’t take adequate time off, work all the hours God sends and does not stop until something forces them. Not only is this not healthy for the individual, what sort of example are we setting for those in the church or those who feel a calling to ministry?

I recognise that there are some things that need to change in my own life, for example not replying to emails in the dead of night, and making sure I have rest time within the week, especially when a day off has not been possible.

Even God rested on the 7th day!

A plea to my clergy brothers and sisters: look after yourselves.

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6 Years ago…… provincial selection……

One of my friends has time hop on Facebook which will post about what happened on a certain day in their social media past. Today this picture came up….

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Provincial selection is one of the stages you have to go through when putting yourself forward for ordination. Its a 3 day event with different tasks and interviews for you to do to help the selectors discern if you are called for the diaconate or priesthood. And if you make it past this stage, you are recommended for training.

I still remember how I feel when I came out. I got a lift to the train station, and I was the only one there. I had to wait 30mins for the train to come, and I couldn’t stay still. I was on the biggest high of my life! Who needs drugs???  I was so excited, the three days hadn’t been easy, but I loved every moment of it. The interviews, the tasks (individual and group work), the worship and the socialising. I was with a great bunch of people, some of whom I went on to train with, and many of whom are today friends.

It’s funny looking back now, one of the jobs I have to do today in my end of curacy self assessment (due in the end of the month, last min again!!!! tut tut). How the time has gone quickly.

There is a saying that has been floating round me for the last few weeks ‘The days are long, but the years are short’ and I am coming to realise how true that is. How quickly things can pass us by, and how quickly things can change. And yet, when you’re in the moment, you wish the time to go quicker.

I am not the most patient of people, and when things go too slowly, I get frustrated, but thinking back on these 6 years, I realise I must try and take more time, and enjoy it. I must not wish the time away, or for things to go faster.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90.12

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4.14

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3.8

Bangor Clergy Retreat 2014. End of retreat.

We’re at the end of the retreat now, and I think it has been a very fruitful time. True I haven’t been able to do half as much reading as I wanted or planned to, but there has been some wonderful space to pray and meditate and be creative. There has also been some wonderful time to spend with people. I didn’t quite realise how much I missed my colleagues and friends from other areas of the diocese until yesterday. The evenings have been great as well, hum……..except the incident with a bottle of wine while clearing away last night. Luckily nothing was damaged.

I started the retreat thinking about balance, that life balance which keeps you sane. Whenever thinking about this topic, my mind always turns to St Benedict and his rule. Work, prayer and creativity are all hugely important, but in there right balance, so that they neither become burdensome or neglected.

I’ve also had this passage going though my head and cropping up in reading:
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6

God desires nothing from us except love. He wants us to know him, and to know him well.

Being able to know and love God requires us to stop occasionally from our busy lives and enjoy his presence, to count the blessings you have received and give thanks for them.

This retreat has been a time to stop, and count my blessings. It’s been a time to be still from the business of life. It’s been a time for reconnecting, on so many different levels.

Thanks be to God.

Camino Adventures – Madrid

I’ve abandoned my blog for too long! My apologies.

‘Tis the season for much busyness and my diary is looking rather scary atm, not sure when I’m going to get to sleep, let alone write. But I thought I would take this opportunity to look through some of the half finished, or barely started writings.

So all being well, I am back with you now!

At the end of October I went on holiday, quite literally a holy-day, I went on pilgrimage. It has been following me for several years, and pops up every few months, but this year it has been more prominent, El Camino, the Way of St James.

I decided that I would walk it during college when I made a vow to StJames, and the decision to walk it this year was decided during my ordination retreat which was lead by Ven Chris Potter, Archdeacon of St Asaph, he spoke about journeys and used his experience on the Camino to illustrate his points.

I was meant to have 3 weeks off work, but this had to be cut to two weeks due to time tabling which was a shame, I had planned to walk from Lugo, but changed this to Sarria which is the last point you can start walking and still receive the Compostela at the end.

I flew into Madrid on the 30th October, and stayed overnight. My plan was to tour Madrid on the 31st and get a overnight train to Sarria. However even my sightseeing had to be cut short when my passport was stolen between the airport and my hotel!!!! I was taking the metro to my hotel and someone must have seen me move my passport from my pocket to an area in my bag, because they cut my bag to get it!!!! I don’t need to repeat some of the words that came out of my mouth that moment, but starting my holiday in a Spanish police station was not the best start!

The British Embassy in Madrid is quite a nice looking building, it is within a modern tower, and this is where I spend the morning of my 26th birthday! I had to get there first thing to sort out getting a new passport before I could go any further because I would need to fly from Santiago to Barcelona. So, 8.30 in the morning I was at the embassy with my rucksack going through their metal detectors. I had to leave my penknife under the mat at the front door because ‘weapons’ were not allowed in the building, it made me giggle when I also found a fork under the mat, how did that person earthier lunch???

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Three hours later, I had a new ‘Emergency Passport’ it was white and gold and cost 125€. I decided to walk into the centre just to get over the cost before I found lunch. I actually found ice cream before I found lunch, and that really was nice.

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I wasn’t taken away with Madrid. The cathedral was nice, and some of the little churches I saw. I visited the Church of Santiago to get a replacement credential for the one I lost before I flew out. The priest there was nice, although he spoke very little English we manages to communicate.

I did the bus tours, but still, wasn’t breath taking. I wouldn’t rush back to Madrid.

After an afternoon of sightseeing, I made my way to the train station (didn’t want to miss that!) By this time of the day I’d had enough of Madrid and was quite happy to go. I stocked up on supplies for the train journey, meat, crisps, water, sweets. Was very disappointed when I discovered I had been put in a carriage with 20 15-16 year old school girls. It was an 8 hour journey, and they talked, and talked, and talked and talked and talked, all night long. I was very grateful that I had taken my iPad, so at least I could watch a few films, listen to music and drown them out a little.

It was just gone 6 in the morning when I arrived in Sarria. I found a cafe, got my first stamp and prepared myself, sleep deprived, for my first days walk.

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False Starts and New Beginnings

I have started many blogs in my time. I have kept some going for years. But I always end up with that urge to delete it all (because I think it is no good) and start all over again.

So…. this is me, starting all over again…..again.

And with any new thing, introductions are needed.

My name is Sally.

Revd Sally to some.

To others Sal, Sara, Jen, oi, thingy, sup! or Curate.

Most of the time I will respond to anything, but Sally is fine with me.

I am a curate. I serve in the Ministry Area of Bro Ardudwy Uchaf in the diocese of Bangor and have lived in Dyffryn Ardudwy for one year and 4 months. If you don’t know where that is, I don’t blame you, I had to get a map when I first found out where the Bishop wanted me to go. If you are interested, check out the website, www.broardudwyuchaf.co.uk, (my attempt at bringing the churches into the 20th, if not the 21st century).

In terms of my work and the church, I am passionate about mission, technology, liturgy, connecting with people around my own age group and those ‘missing generations’ within the church, the 20somethings to 40somethings. I love preaching, although I am far from the most eloquent speaker. I also enjoy working with the local schools, especially those unplanned interactions such as question and answer sessions, and the times I need to drop something off, because children are not afraid to ask the difficult questions and I enjoy their energy and interest.

I firmly believe I have the best job in the world, and I give thanks to God for my vocation.

I enjoy studying Church History, and look forward to the future where I might get a chance to do some formal study again. I not long ago graduated from my Masters degree at Cardiff University where I looked at the model and teaching of discipleship within the Eucharistic service (posts of this topic will come up, I promise). I have been asked to consider working my thesis into a book which is an exciting and scary prospect, but not one I really want to face at the moment.

I have a dog. She is a collie/whippet cross and she is two and a half years old. Her name is Poppy and she is the best dog!!! The best things about dogs is that they are always happy to see you, and they are very forgiving, especially of those days when I spend a lot of time away from the house, and my grumpy moods.

I am increasingly enjoying travelling. As I have discovered, when you are getting more then a student budget you are able to go away on holiday more and I am looking forward to my second holiday abroad this year later this month.

Anyway. I think that is enough about me. No doubt you will learn more the more I post.

I intend to keep this blog for sermons, work related activity and my theological musings. I have another blog out there which is less churchy (dare you to find it! Prize for those who do).

There may be a lot of activity to begin with as I transfer things over. I look forward to hearing your comments and reading others blogs.

Ttfn.