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Accountability, Happiness and Virtual Engagement 19 October 2012

Posted by Dr Moose in Chaplaincy, Church, Faith, Life, Ponderings.
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Most of my readers will know that I am now Full-Time in my University Chaplaincy role… and it is wonderful. The experience of being full-time in something you are called to be is hugely liberating, while at the same time raising challenges for the mid- and long-term future.  The challenges I was thinking of are primarily those related to the ministry itself, or more correctly through the dual responsibilities of Chaplain and Employee. As an employee of the Diocese of Peterborough I can rest assured that they understand what Chaplaincy actually is. As University Chaplain, seconded to, and part-funded by, the University the challenge is to demonstrate my value in a quantifiable manner, alongside the more true, qualitative nature of Christian ministry.

I am hopeful that I can achieve this, the need for which is highlighted by the process of both buying a house and also going through the process of application for LM’s place at Secondary School.

But this has also had a knock-on effect in terms of my virtual engagement with the world, in social media. Friends have commented how obviously more happy I am. And I am. I still cannot quite believe that I have the joy, privilege and gift to exercise a ministry that I love – and also that I might be working at it far harder, and far more efficiently than I was able to do before, without it feeling like harder work. I next need to identify more opportunities on campus and get moving on them.

However, as people notice how much happier I am, I simultaneously am finding social media status updates harder, as for years they have served as a channel to share frustrations and the need for support. Instead I feel in danger of sounding like a friend whose updates nearly always are full of positive mental attitude and enthusiasm (and often twinned with capital letters and exclamation marks)! The new challenge is to engage virtually without sounding like a cliche, and without making colleagues too jealous (and myself guilty) and while contributing something more positive. I cannot deny that I worry more than ever for some of my colleagues ploughing through the hard soil of parochial ministry with its unrealistic expectations and deadening workloads.

I haven’t cracked it yet, but God-willing I will. It is a work-in-progress, as am I, and, of course, as we all are.

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