Monday, 7 March 2011

Quinquagesima Thoughts

Quinquagesima, meaning Fifty Days, the traditional title for the Sunday before Lent, Fifty days before Easter Day.

With such a long pre-Lent this year, I had thought it would leave good time for getting together the various bits and pieces we need to have ready for the beginning of Lent, but, in the end, as ever, the last few days have been marked by a great rush. School Half-Term did include a few days off, some of which was shared with the flu and generally feeling 'not good'. I did however, mange a trip to Heptonstall, and the chance to take a few atmospheric photographs on a wet and windy day, around the ruined Church of S.Thomas the Apostle and S.Thomas Beckett, and its Victorian replacement.

Black village of gravestones.

Life tries.

Death tries.

The stone tries.

Only the rain never tires.

...from Heptonstall, by Ted Hughes.

..and, because I was very cold and wet by now, just one of Heptonstall's marvellous octagonal Methodist Chapel.

Last week I was asked to speak to the final year Ordinands at the College of the Resurrection, Mirfield, on aspects of ordering the day, and managing the Study. While the sum total of what I know about administration can be found here, courtesy of the excellent Dave Walker, there were some interesting conversations around boundaries and managing expectations. In particular, I was grateful for thoughts on both the opportunities and pressures caused by the expectations of 24/7 availability; how difficult it is now to walk away from the i-phone and e-mail, especially on what is supposed to be time off.

At the time I was there, the College was undergoing an Inspection, and I was told that it was likely that one of the Inspectors would sit in on my session. It was therefore a little bizarre to discover that one of the Inspecting Team was my old Theological College Warden, Archdeacon Bill Jacob; he came to say 'hello', but then did the decent thing and passed me over to another member of the Team, thereby displaying a fine Christian act of charity in not seeking recompense for certain incidents all those years ago....A veil remains drawn.