It has been a funny few days. I am back to feeling extremely tired which explains my absence yesterday. However, I am determined to maintain some form of normalcy when it comes to blogging because I find that once I stop writing, it is very difficult to restart.
This week is a very important week in the vicarage hence the title! Regular readers will know about the safeguarding issue that has been hanging over the Mhinisteir’s head. Strange as it may sound but being a clergy wife means that whatever affects your husband affects you; somehow you feel the tension. Maybe it is because the vicarage is also the Mhinisteir’s place of work making boundaries almost impossible.
Being able to live in a vicarage is a privilege. Along with the privilege comes the responsibility to keep things confidential and private so I never discuss anything with anybody no matter how difficult circumstances are, not even with my family. This blog is the only place where I “pour out” my heart; quite enjoy it actually!😁
Anyway, I am pleased to say that finally there is going to be a meeting with a senior cleric concerning this safeguarding issue. The bad news is that this senior cleric is very inexperienced; hasn’t been in their post for very long! I understand from the Mhinisteir that it has taken this long partly because somebody in the diocese conveniently forgot about the matter. Humanly speaking, I don’t think this matter will be resolved this week but then with God everything is possible!
I like a slow start to my day but the Thursday before our holiday was nothing like my usual start to the day. The Mhinisteir was out at a church service and we were expecting the tree surgeon to chop off the conifer trees. The Mhinisteir assured me that they will not be bothering me. Excellent I thought…..
Just as I was entering the shower room, the doorbell rang! I took a quick peek at the window and it was the tree surgeon and his chum. They were young men and I most definitely wasn’t going to meet them in my dressing gown so I ignored them and went ahead with my shower! When I came out, they were still in the driveway instead of the garden. Mmmm….. I got changed and went to greet them from a distance. They said all was well. Great!
I went to the kitchen to do the dishes when I suddenly saw two faces smiling at me through the kitchen window. Just for a split second, I assumed that they were that of the tree surgeon and his chum but no it wasn’t. Instead they were from OpenReach (British Telecom). They were not due until Monday!!!! I went to the door and they introduced themselves and said they were here to do some work on our telephone line. I said that we were told to expect them on Monday. Apparently, the people coming on Monday will be dealing with a different issue but these men were going to work on the telegraphic pole. Just then I remembered the Mhinisteir had an important zoom meeting with our Bishop!!!! Oh great I thought! The meeting was really important as it had to do with the safeguarding issue that I had wrote about some time ago. The men from Openreach assured me that the internet connection will not be affected.
The tree surgeon and his chum were working away in the garden until 3pm. Just as they were leaving, our cleaner arrived!!!! By then, I was so exhausted that I couldn’t wait for her to leave…..
Anyway, the good news is that the conifer trees are gone and there is so much light coming into the Vicarage which is wonderful.
The next day we got a telephone call from the Diocesan housing department informing us that the tree surgeon’s chum’s girlfriend had tested positive for Covid19 and so he is having to self isolate! Thank God that we didn’t have any close contact with him!!!
Here in the Vicarage, we have a bear with a sore head!
As you can imagine, it is very difficult to live with a bear let alone one with a very sore head!!!!!
Things haven’t been going too well for the Mhinisteir this week. One of it is a safeguarding/church discipline matter. Historical abuse cases in the Church of England mean that these days safeguarding is treated very seriously. I know some people will refute this but I can only base it on my experience. Generally, rural folk tend to pooh pooh safeguarding regulations thus making the Mhinisteir’s job doubly hard.
We hear a lot about clergy abuse but very little is reported about abuse to clergy.
If someone were to make a safeguarding complaint against a clergy, the Bishop has the power to suspend the clergy in question even before the matter has been investigated. Just like the world, the Church of England too doesn’t believe in Innocent until proven guilty anymore.
Before I continue, I must emphasise that the Mhinisteir DOES NOT find himself in this position. What I am trying to say is that safeguarding matters cannot be ignored but have to be treated with a lot of God’s wisdom and sensitivity because things can spiral out of control very quickly.
I am a little frustrated as I wish I can be more of a support to the Mhinisteir but I can’t but what I can do is pray which I always do anyway.
In other news, I heard the doorbell just as I was entering the shower. I assumed it was the postman and that he would leave the parcel on the doorstep. I thought I would wait so that I can hear him driving off before I re-entered the shower. When I couldn’t hear his van, I went to the window and there he was writing the “Sorry we missed you” postcard. I quickly opened the window and asked if he needed a signature and he said no. Why could he not just leave the parcel on the door step like he usually does????
Finally, I came across a new blog the other day and because I decided to read one of this person’s blogpost, I liked the article out of courtesy. Strangely, I came across the same blog again today and saw something that bothered me. This person had used the SAME title for their most recent blogpost. It is a title that I had first used in my blogpost earlier in the week. This person doesn’t follow me or has not liked my blogposts. Should I be worried? Maybe I should be more worried about the bear with a sore head than trivial things like this!!!! Ha ha!!
Today marks the first day of our 3 day mini break. Just 2 nights to be precise!
The Mhinisteir had some errands to run and so he suggested we turn it into a mini holiday and visit the city of his alma mater and so here we are in the famous city. It is a few hours drive but it was worth the journey. I have been reminded once again how important a change of scenery is.
The moment we stepped into our self catering apartment, the Mhinisteir’s mobile started pinging. Yes, you have guessed it right. It was a very silly trivial church business! Unusually the Mhinisteir was irritated and his irritation showed when I asked him a question. How dare he? I mumbled to myself but I decided to let it go. We were both probably tired after a longish drive!
Soon, he went off to run some errands and I decided to unpack. By the time he came back, we were both back to our normal selves. Thank God! We went for a walk and got ourselves a takeaway lunch.
Shortly after we finished lunch, he got a warning phone call that an almighty safeguarding problem was threatening to erupt and that there needs to be an urgent telephone meeting. I blurted out that there has never been a holiday without a church crisis! ” You know that Vicars can never have a complete holiday”! he said. I do, I do, I do!!!! He went on to add that his colleagues are usually very considerate of his days off and holidays. Are they really? I asked. Like a petulant child, I gave him a long list of the times when he had been rudely disturbed during his holidays. As you can tell, I almost lost it today. I decided to leave it at that and started typing this.
I am not proud of my behaviour because I knew very well what I was signing up for but surely we are allowed to a few hours of peace without being disturbed. However, this is a common problem when you are the Vicar especially of a multi parish benefice aka Vicar of everything! I think I have cooled down now.
I rarely blog about the Church of England (COE). There is usually not much to say about the Church of England. They are not perfect but then none of us are. However, something that I read in the latest CHURCH TIMES has been troubling me. A few days later something else happened (to be followed up in another blog) and that has really made me quite nervous.
The subject matter that really bothered me in the Church Times was about Clergy Discipline Measure(CDM). According to the article in the Church Times, The Clergy Discipline Measure (CDM) can leave clergy suicidal. The article also contained 2 case studies of clergy who both had to go through CDM without adequate support. It makes me very angry that they were basically left out to dry! This article has just reminded me of what is happening to the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford. Again, it seems to be that there is one rule for the accused and another for the accuser. Surely it is unfair and quite simply wrong to treat clergy as guilty until proven innocent!
If you can’t find fairness in the Church, where can you?
My article source is the Church Times dated 24 July 2020 (Issue No.8210)
I was furious ( over reaction on my part!!!) with the Milkman this morning. In order to prevent the milk from turning bad in the summer heat, I invested in a MilkandMore cool bag. I have been leaving it out for the milkman to put the milk bottle in it to keep the milk cool. I don’t know what came over the milkman this morning but he did not do it! The milk bottle was left on the doorstep to sun itself!!! Maybe he had the Monday Blues too!
Then I read in the papers that a certain clergy person has confessed to an inappropriate relationship with the wife of a former Archbishop of Canterbury. Not another Church of England scandal!!!
Things got back to normal when our new mattress topper from John Lewis arrived. We have an old mattress that is uncomfortable. We can feel the springs. We were struggling to find a suitable mattress. It was during this time that I read somewhere that there is an inexpensive option. To purchase a mattress topper at a fraction of the price of a good mattress. I did more research and found one suitable on the John Lewis website. Unfortunately it was out of stock. I decided to wait until it was back in stock but that day never arrived. In the meantime, we continued struggling with our mattress.
Last week, when we got some John Lewis vouchers in the post, I decided to go ahead and finally order a mattress topper.
We moved into our new Parish and my health was beginning to look up. However, a few months into the new year, we had a few sudden deaths in our family/friendship circle acutely reminding us of our own fragility.
The Mhinisteir found his new parish very challenging. There were a lot of unresolved problems that he had inherited. My own health was beginning to go downhill very quickly. It was discouraging. Serious illnesses were beginning to plaque older family members. Fair weather friends were exposed. Even though I am used to this, it still hurts when people break your trust!!!
Fast forward to December 2019, things were very different. Life is more settled. Health is still like a yoyo but I am contented. God was with us and constantly reminded us that we are never on our own like for example when we got this huge bill just before Christmas. In a miraculous way, it was all sorted within a week for it is He who owns the cattles in a thousand hills.
As I step into 2020, I do not have any resolutions but am going to cling on to His promise as it is found in Isaiah 52
For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward. – Isaiah 52:12
Happy New Year to all who faithfully read my blog!!
When I was in Primary school, I used to enjoy writing stories and my favourite theme was” the day when everything went wrong!” As one might correctly guess, that day was always Friday the 13th!!!!
I got reminded of it because of something that happened in the Vicarage this morning.
Just as the Mhinisteir was leaving the Vicarage, the phone rang. I couldn’t hear the conversation but I later found out that it was one of the Churchwardens. The grave hadnt been dug for the funeral that was due to take place later in the day!!!! Oh help!!!
I am pleased to say that all went well and that the panic arose thanks to an over enthusiastic church warden!!!!😬
Since coming back from our holiday, I have been greatly bothered by our grey skies.
Every time I look out of the window, all I is see is gloomy grey skies. Having lived in Scotland, I should be used to dark and dreary weather but strangely the grey skies are now bothering me a great deal😞
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!!!!