'This must be your busiest time, Vicar.'
I smile inanely, and resist the temptation to say no, that would be Holy Week, and by the way, I'm not a Vicar. Instead I mentally award myself £5 for everyone who says that to me, with a £10 bonus if they are active church-goers, who therefore ought to know better.
I am up to £120 so far.
Christmass falling on a Sunday this year ought to mean that the first part of next week will give us, on paper at least, a little breathing space. The Schools and Hospice have completed their various Carol Services, Nativities and Light Up a Life, the main Parish Carol Service is this coming Sunday, leaving just a Home or two before we are into the Christingle, Midnight Mass and Christmass Morning itself. The daily round of Prayer and Eucharist, Funerals (lots) and pastoral care continues, while tomorrow we begin perhaps my most favourite time of Year, the Eight days of Prayer before the Nativity, beginning with O Sapientia.
This week I have completed my Common Purpose Course, meaning I can rejoice in describing myself as a Common Purpose Graduate. Last Year, the Bishop's Staff encouraged me to take part, and found the funding as well. I don't easily sign up for Courses on Leadership, not least because I'm not entirely convinced that Priesthood and Leadership, as the Secular world sees it, are talking the same language. There are still aspects of the relationship that trouble me, but, a year on, I have had a great time in sharing all this with a good cross section of People and Places from the Private, Public and Voluntary Sectors in Yorkshire. I hope I can understand a little more about the challenges and opportunities that they face, and I hope that one or two have learnt a little more about what the Christian Church has to offer as well.