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…but this resonates even from where I am. From http://theblogofkevin.wordpress.com/2009/11/18/i-am-the-vicar-i-am/ I keep to give the PCC to revise for their next parish profile ;-)

I am the vicar, I am.
I am the pastor, the carer, the listener
the one with the time to drop everything and
I also understand global politics and immigration and
I am the one who knows about Afghanistan
and cares about ‘our boys’
and I care about speed-humps
graffiti
litter
and the positioning of zebra crossings near schools.

I am passionate about school assemblies
council meetings
mums and toddlers and also
I am good at one-to-one and small groups and
I listen and empathise and at the same time
I am the one who plans and strategizes and
I am the one who understands budgets and decides if we can buy any staples
or replace the heating system.
I am the vicar, I am.

I am the quiet reflective prayer and
I am the speaker, the enthuser, the motivator, the learned teacher and
I can engage a room of 10, 50, 300 people with no problem because
I am the one who relates particularly well to children
older people
the middle-aged
the jobless
the employed
the doctors
teenagers and
I am the one who is always one step ahead and
I am the one who is endearingly disorganised.
I am the vicar, I am.

I care passionately about church politics
I care passionately about domestic abuse
I care passionately about the plight of Anglo Catholics
women priests
gay clergy
evangelicals and
I listen to the pope
the archbishop and
Rob Bell.

I am up-to-date with theological developments.
I understand the history of the reformation
the armed forces
the war
the government
the deanery
the Jewish background of Jesus and
I care about the excluded and
I manage my admin and
I know how to access children’s services.
I am the vicar, I am.

I am the one in whom trust is placed
I am the one in whom grumbles are placed
I am the one who is always talking to everyone else
I am the one who models worship
marriage
family
gardening
conversation
baking
prayer
listening
talking
planning.

I often get it wrong.
I am the one who has to keep my doubts under wraps and
I am also the one who is vulnerable and
dependable
stable
trustworthy.

I am the one who chairs meetings
I am the one who manages group discussions
I am the manager of an organisation that employs only me
I am the volunteer co-ordinator
the opinion co-ordinator
the trespasser on the territory of people who have been around a lot longer than me
and will be there after me.
I understand the heating system
the financial system
the rota system.

I love committees.

I drink tea with older people
And coffee with younger people
I listen to stories of bus routes and hospital visits and
I believe in transforming our community through the power of Jesus.

I am the one who is very tired.
I am the one who hates wearing dresses but still smiles
and would love to be muddy all the time.

I am the one who only works one day a week.

I am the one who loves this job.
I am the one who is making it up as I go along.
I am the one who would not swap this for anything.
I am the vicar, I am.

© 2009 Kevin Lewis

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Another worth keeping (alternate view of the waterbugs, or perhaps an apologetic for the science/faith conversation):

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In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replies, “why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.

“Nonsense,” says the other. “There is no life after delivery. What would that life be?” “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths.” The other says “This is absurd! Walking is impossible. And eat with our mouths? Ridiculous. The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after delivery is to be excluded. The umbilical cord is too short.”

“I think there is something and maybe it’s different than it is here.” the other replies, “No one has ever come back from there. Delivery is the end of life, and in the after-delivery it is nothing but darkness and anxiety and it takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” says the other, “but certainly we will see mother and she will take care of us.” “Mother??” You believe in mother? Where is she now? “She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her there would not be this world.” “I don’t see her, so it’s only logical that she doesn’t exist.”

To which the other replied, “sometimes when you’re in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her.” I believe there is a reality after delivery and we are here to prepare ourselves for that reality….

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Love this story found on facebook. Has been sitting open in a tab for ages waiting for me to make it a keeper.

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Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.

His bed was next to the room’s only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end.

They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation..

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man could not hear the band – he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.
He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, ‘Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.’

Epilogue:

There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.
If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can’t buy.
‘Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .’

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The closing of William Booth’s address at the Royal Albert Hall on May 9th 1912:

While women weep as they do now, I’ll fight; While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, I’ll fight; While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight-I’ll fight to the very end!

Amen… more…

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I was skimming through Alison’s book Crafts from the Creative Ideas series (if anyone needs to buy me anything ever, they’re on my wishlist…!) and was profoundly struck, since I’ve been reading for and writing an essay on Aquinas and the common good, by one idea. The feast with raffle. So easy, and yet so hard-hitting, one would hardly wish to use it, and I suppose therein lies its power. Invite all the church family to a feast. Give everyone a raffle ticket on arrival. Before the feast, work out more…

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Last week, when I was having a bit of an “OMG this is a bit real, what am I doing” moment, I almost blogged my way through some hesitations, but didn’t quite get round to it. What I was going to say though, is that I trust God knows what he’s doing. I mean genuinely. Partly I had to, partly I really meant it. And back came the answer in the form of the official letter saying more…

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At one of our experimental worships last year, we were treated to The Brick Testament in the background (our chapel is blessed with a beautiful expanse of white nothingness behind the altar to project onto) and I’m sorry, but much as I am a lego fan, it didn’t really get me. Bricks, no; but sand? oh yes… more…

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I’m feeling humble. Humble, but not not worthy. Believe me, that’s something a therapist would be pleased of me for. I’ve written to accept my curacy, and am humbled by both the letter from the vicar there to the bishop saying he would “be delighted if I were to go there” and that he would “think it a privilege to be her incumbent”, and by my college principal  instantly responding “and so he should”. more…

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In the old days, it was handy if a relationship broke up in the autumn, because then you could be extremely prompt with your Christmas cards, and sending them out before you began receiving them, signed only by you rather than by both of you passed on the minimum required information to friends you didn’t see every day.

I guess the opposite of this is the finding out you’re being dumped by someone changing their relationship with you to single on Facebook – but I want to focus on the positive of social media for a moment while I’m speeding up the country in the train in sunshine (presumably because I’m back over the border in Yorkshire, it was raining when I left Manchester…)

In the week that I spent in ICU back in 2007 when my Dad was taken suddenly ill, Facebook more…

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Do we not have
the courage
of our conviction?
What is it about
our 20-strong
congregations
(or 20-frail
congregations)
that keeps the yoof
away?
No prizes…

But what draws them
to other places? more…

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Category: Faith  Tags: , , ,  4 Comments