Over the years, something has been bothering me a great deal……
Unfortunately, it came up again after my meeting with a retired clergy and his wife.
When we were in our other parish, I came across a handful of clergy including Curates who spoke about their vocation as a lucrative business. They were home owners and went into great detail to boast about the extra income they get from renting out their houses while they live in Church houses and how THIS was the main reason for them coming into the ministry! Non stipendary female clergy were often the culprits.
I feel sad and angry when I hear this because becoming a clergy is a vocation. It is unlike any other salaried job. The Mhinisteir started from zero and as we get older we realise that we do not have a house for retirement. In any case, we do not have the funds for it!!!! However, we firmly believe that God will provide for us when the time comes.
For this reason, It was a real encouragement meeting this retired Vicar and his wife. They are both young ( early retirement) and very disabled. They have gone through a lot of trials together. They too couldn’t afford to buy a retirement home. However, the Lord has graciously provided them with a roof over their head and they are very content. For all their sufferings they never complained once unlike one of the young clergy we heard of who is unhappy that they don’t get 4G where they live!!!!
It has been months since the Mhinisteir and I went out for an evening meal.
I suggested to the Mhinisteir that we should go to our local Thai restaurant for an early dinner sometime and so off we went yesterday evening. It was a pleasant evening and the restaurant was quiet. We were the only patrons at that time. The Mhinisteir likes to play safe and order what he has tried before and so it was the hotplate for him and the pad thai for me as it was the only non spicy dish on the menu.
As we were tucking into our starters, a young couple came into the restaurant. I smiled at them and continued with my starters. Shortly after, our main courses arrived. The moment the hotplate touched our table, we all started coughing( us, the young couple and the waitress)!!! The waitress opened the restaurant door to allow the smoke to escape. The man quipped that he too had ordered the same dish and we all had a good laugh.
Shortly after the young man’s hotplate arrival, four OAPs entered the restaurant. Their booking was for 7pm. I noticed that one of the couples seemed a little displeased by the smokiness caused by the hotplate. By this time, we had finished our main courses. Anyway, all four of them decided to sit right behind me and right next to the young man’s hotplate. They chose the table!!! Just minutes into their arrival, the couple who appeared displeased complained loudly that they can’t eat at that restaurant as the husband has asthma and walked out without saying anything to their friends. I felt very embarrassed for their friends and also for the young man who was tucking into his hotplate!
The other couple were very apologetic and explained that the couple who walked out were friends visiting from Australia. The nice couple promised the poor waitress that they will definitely come again on their own and left to go after their friends!!!
Anyway, just when I thought that order was restored, the young man’s mobile rang and it kicked off between the young man and his partner! The young lady started accusing him of not being truthful etc. Oh dear!!! They left abruptly after paying but not without saying cheerio to us!!! I felt very sad for them. They seemed like a lovely couple. I wondered whether the Australian couple’s over reaction started the friction between these two……
Despite the drama at the restaurant, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening and went to bed happy only to wake up with a sore tummy just after midnight. I was hoping it would go away but no it was threatening to affect my sleep. I popped some painkillers and finally dozed off at 3am needless to say that I was feeling crabbit this morning! Sadly the only safe option on the menu was not safe enough for me on this ocassion!!!!
Someone connected to one of our Churches had an unfortunate encounter with a Stag while out driving. As expected, their car was a write off but the Stag walked away unhurt.
As we were discussing this over dinner, the Mhinisteir commented what a strong beast the Stag is to which I replied that it was a Man Vs God moment. The car is man made while the Stag is created by God.
As we eagerly await the arrival of a new curate, I thought I’ll write a post on Curates.
It is only in England that I have become familiar with the term Curate. In the Presbyterian church in Scotland, we have no curates. You are just thrown into the deep end!
Over the years, I have gotten to know a few curates. In fact, I have known some of them since they were ordinands! Of course they don’t always remain a Curate. After 3 years or so they are able to look for an incumbent position.
I would describe a Curacy as on the job training.
However, I have observed that the Curates I know lead a cushy life. They don’t seem to have the pressures of an incumbent and for some strange reason they appear to get more holidays than their training incumbent for they are often on holiday especially on Sundays! I am here referring to a full stipendary Curate.
Once I was at Morning/Evening prayer as part of the Thy Kingdom come initiative. The Curate who was to lead the prayers simply didn’t turn up and sadly it was repeated a few times that week!
Could this be a reason for clergy stress? For if as a Curate one is molly coddled, then going into an incumbent post will be a shock to the system.
I also know that breakdown in relationship between the training incumbent and Curate is a very common problem.
Every Saturday, I look forward to reading the FT Weekend. Here at the Vicarage, we are very privileged as our daily newpaper gets delivered right to our door.
Once a month, there is a supplement magazine called How to spend it that comes with FT Weekend. The last page of the magazine is dedicated to a column called My Perfect Weekend. I love reading how people around the world like spending their weekends and so decided to write up my own perfect weekend!!!!
Bean A’ Mhinisteir’s Perfect Weekend
My perfect weekend would be spent on the Isle of Harris in the Outer Hebrides. Head to Luskentyre Beach on Saturday. Lunch at the Anchorage in Leverburgh. Walk around St Clement’sChurch at Rodel. A visit to the Harris Tweed Company in Grosebay. The evening will be spent by the fire with a home cooked meal from Croft 36
Sunday will start off with a church service. As virtually all commercial activity ceases on the Sabbath, lunch will be a home cooked Sunday roast.
The rest of the day will be spent walking around the island admiring the Salt marshes.
Disclaimer: I am not paid by any of the above mentioned businesses to promote them.
The Mhinisteir is almost always in his black clerical shirt except on his days off. Occasionally, he would wear his blue clerical shirt.
I have noticed that even his newest black clerical shirts start fading just after a few washes and they begin to look tired. Some of them are in expensive cotton while others are polyester and cotton mix. Irregardless of the material the result is always the same.
I was reading on the Internet that two strong cups of black coffee in the wash should restore the black shirts!
Is it too good to be true????
“Disability in Heaven”. That was the title of the article that I was reading.
How can there be disability in Heaven? I wasn’t actually going to read this particular article until I saw the title. I was so shocked that I had to read it.
The writer was arguing that there will be disability in Heaven. One of the reasons given is that people with disability will not know how to function without their disability.
The writer goes on to say that there are people who don’t want to be healed and that we should not pray for healing for them.
I do not have a disability but a debilitating health condition. I have no doubt whatsoever that I will be perfect in Heaven.
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful” – Revelation 21:4-5
“I have a new recruit with me tomorrow, is it ok to bring her?” That was the text message from our cleaner. “Of course”! was my reply.
After a few false starts, we finally have an excellent cleaner who has been with us for about 6 months now so what could possibly go wrong with bringing a trainee???
How wrong I was!!!!!
Our regular cleaner and her new recruit came at the allotted time. Instead of the usual two hours, all the cleaning was done in half the time and off they went.
The house usually smelled wonderful after the cleaner had been in. On this particular day, there was no said freshness.
Just out of curiosity, I decided to do a quick check and started with the shower room. The shower cubicle was looking just as tired as before the cleaner came. There was obvious damage to the plug hole. The wash hand basin had botches of blue liquid!
I know for a fact that it was the trainee who was cleaning the shower room. Usually the shower cubicle would be gleaming.
What can I do? I just have to pray that the new recruit doesn’t tag along the next time!!!!
Did you order anything?” asked the Mhinisteir as he walked towards me. He was holding a small parcel in his hand. No. I hadn’t ordered anything. “Did you order any books?” I asked. The Mhinisteir loves his books. No, he said.
Hmmm… what could it be? The Mhinisteir started unwrapping…. it was a box of chocolates!!!! A box of chocolates???? From whom????
There was also a wedding photo of a young couple beaming and at the back of the photo were some words of thanks addressed to the Mhinisteir!
The Mhinisteir had conducted their wedding about a fortnight ago and the box of chocolates were a thank you! How kind!! As I mentioned in my earlier post….
Over the years, the Mhinisteir has never heard back from any of the newly weds that he has married off! This is the second time in about two weeks that this has happened.