POSTGRADUATES PASTOR screamed the advertisement in the latest Church Times. Hang on a minute. What on earth is a postgraduates pastor?
I was intrigued by the title and decided to read further. This church is a Church of England but just that they don’t seem to be very proud to be part of the CoE because there is no where in the advert this is mentioned. I had to go to their website to get this information and even then it is in very small print at the bottom of their webpage.
Anyway, back to the main story… They are basically looking for a Vicar for postgraduate students! Why? Will their usual Vicar not do? The advert ends by saying that many of these students have the potential to be future world leaders!
This jogged my memory to the time when the Mhinisteir was an ordinand in Edinburgh. We used to worship in a Church of Scotland that used to call itself a professional church meaning it was a church for high flying professionals! Its no wonder that the homeless man outside the church never came in!!!!
This week, we were greeted at the Vicarage door by these figs from a member of the landed gentry.
The figs were absolutely gorgeous. I turned some into fig fritters. They too were delicious.
One of the wonderful things about belonging to a rural parish church is that there is no division between Jews and Gentiles. We have a good mix of ordinary folk like me and members of landed gentry who co exist without any problems.
This is not the case in cities: once when I was in a Church in Edinburgh, I was told that that particular church was a professional church meaning it is only for professional people!!!!! Fancy that????? The Church is for ALL.
The same thing happened again in the English city where we lived. Folk who came to church from the nearby social housing developments were not even acknowledged. How ridiculous!!!!
Lesslie Newbigin’s A South India Diary caught my eye when I was browsing through the Mhinisteir’s library. The reason why it caught my eye was pedantic. I just had to take the book out to be sure that Newbigin did indeed have two Ss on his first name!
As you can see from the photo, This is a very old book published in 1951. The title was too attractive for someone fascinated by India. Furthermore I realised that Newbigin was first ordained in the Church of Scotland.
Lesslie Newbigin was a British Clergyman who became the first Bishop of South India. The book is really a diary of Newbigin’s time in India as the first Bishop of South India. It is a very interesting read even though at times it can feel repetitive as his days were very long and usually taken up by the same things (meeting people, attending meetings, conducting worship, solving disputes etc). It was an eye opener to read about another culture but also to learn of the challenges faced by converts to Christianity in that culture.
As Newbigin had a good way with words, this book gets a 3/5.
In early December, I got a letter from our bank which is the Royal Bank of Scotland to say that they owe me a few hundred pounds in PPI Claim on a loan that we took almost 20 years ago.
Just this past week, I got another letter from the same bank saying that they owe me more money in another PPI claim. Really?? I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read the letter. Another reminder that God is not only generous but that He knows our every needs!
Rural living is expensive as you have to have your oil tank topped up in addition to paying for electricity. It is for this reason that I think that the Church of England should give Rural Living Allowance to clergy who minister in Rural areas. I know for a fact that the Church of Scotland used to give out Island living allowance for clergy who ministered on Scottish Islands. I don’t know if they still do but I hope they do.
Anyway, we hope to use the PPI claim towards our Winter fuel expense as we need more oil top ups in the Winter months in order to keep warm. Oil is expensive and It doesn’t help that the minimum order for oil is 500 litres!!!!
As I was going through the piles of Christmas cards that we have received this year, I couldn’t help noticing that most of the cards that we received at the Vicarage were bought from Tesco, Sainsbury or Morrisons. Only a handful were from independent card shops.
Many years ago, we would only buy our Christmas cards from card shops especially Christian ones. I used to buy mine from the Church of Scotland bookshop in 121 George Street when I used to live in Edinburgh. However gone are those shops. I then started making my own when we lived in the highlands.
This year, I bought my cards from Mothers Union as I like my cards to have a bible verse.
Last Friday as I waited at the Doctor’s surgery for my turn to be seen, my mind turned to my blog. How do readers view my life in a Vicarage??? More importantly, how do I see my life in a Vicarage?
I think I often fail to mention what a privilege it is to be married to a Vicar and to live in a Vicarage. We share in the ups and downs of our parishioners lives. Our lives become intertwined with our parishioners that when It is time to move on, there are plenty of tears. Our parishioners are more than friends but they are not family. There must always be a professional boundary which can be quite tricky.
As a Vicar’s Wife, I am also sometimes privy to secrets which I have to bring to my grave!
I think the best way to describe my life in a Vicarage is that it is a big mix of Doc Martin, Vicar of Dibley and Midsomer Murders!!!!
Doc Martin – For the comedy and gossip that goes on in a small village.
Vicar of Dibley – For the funny things that happen during a church service like when the organist continues playing long after the congregation has stopped singing!!!!
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 Howtospendit that comes with FT Weekend. The last page of the magazine is dedicated to a column called MyPerfectWeekend. 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.
Power through prayer by E.M. Bounds was recommended by the Rev Eric Alexander formerly of The Tron in Glasgow in one of his online sermons that the Mhinisteir and I listen to as part of our family worship just before bedtime.
The Mhinisteir allowed me to borrow this book from his library and I have spent the last two weeks reading it.
Edward McKendree Bounds (1835 – 1913) started each day by praying for three hours. He stresses on the importance of prayer in the life of the clergy but I think it is relevant to all Christians. It is a thin book with short chapters.
I have always wanted to know the true meaning of the word “Unction” and I got three chapters of clear and proper description.