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The March of Time – what I’ve been up to 2 March 2013

Posted by Dr Moose in Boozewatch, Changes, Chaplaincy, Faith, Ponderings, Theology, Time, University.
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Last week was a good week. I don’t (in fact I don’t think I can) hide the fact that I love what I do and I do what I love. Its a sheer privilege to be University Chaplain. According to the book of Genesis one of the consequences of the Fall from Grace, irrespective of whether you read that as literal or metaphorical, is the existence of what we might call “work“: labour and effort to earn a living rather than the sheer delight of doing something that provides a living. Judged by that yardstick, I don’t “work”, I simply exercise my vocation with joy (church-speak for “do what I feel I have been created to do”.) It has been one of those weeks, and indeed, my time at University in a Full-Tine capacity does feel like that: joyful.

The last weeks have seen the joy and delight of having yet another, this time rather older, student turn up in the Chaplaincy wanting to explore whether she has a calling to ordained ministry – resulting in nearly two hours of conversation yesterday. Shockingly and wonderfully that means there are now four folks in the process of discernment, all at a secular university rather than one with any particular faith affiliation and another student for whom such a call might be there but is awaiting a suitable time. Sadly I managed to miss an event last week with them and some others from the diocese due to my beloved POG throwing a familiar automotive wobbly. On the other hand I have been asked to consider, and am strongly-minded to accept, a further diocesan role with young vocations which would naturally complement what’s been going on at Uni.

Part of all this is the fortnightly Theos Cafe group (simple hot meal with bread, wine and theological explorations), which is going very well indeed. After years of wanting to do “something” the right people, ideas and opportunities are  now here and it’s all coming together. One member is off at the Student Christian Movement annual conference this weekend and we are looking to get some of us to Greenbelt, next year, if not this. In other words the modest membership spans the academic years enough to look beyond the one year and in to the future, which is good news, as is continuing good links with the Christian Union and their new exec, most of who are known to me too.

I can hardly say that the average week sees many people in need beating their way to our doors, but they still come or are referred. Just this week I’ve had a “providential” meeting with a member of staff in the International Office over letting people know what we offer. I’ve served over 130 drinks to students & staff at Avenue campus, with some good conversations along the way, from simple good humour and silliness, through to more enquiring discussions about what I am and why we provide free drinks to everyone and anyone, as well as networking for our Guest Lecture with Rev Richard Coles this Monday (and the stress of discovering that the usual media support was not going to be available through the usual channels!) I’ve had the opportunities to pray twice with students, including one occasion anointing with oil (and that is so not my tradition but was most definitely so right that I’m glad I listened to the inner voice saying “you’ve got to do this”).  The deeds for our University Multi-Faith Chaplaincy Trust are nearly ready for signing (if people read and act on their emails – and if you are interested in supporting it, contact me!) and another referral has highlighted the growing need for investigating whether the University needs a formal link with Northampton Food Bank rather than the current informal one, as we look to help in student hardship cases.

No wonder last week was the longest (in terms of hours racked up at Uni) since I started in September!

In fact I’m enjoying it all so much that I’ve had to force myself to stop sometimes: I took a couple of days of precious annual leave in half-term, to ensure the children saw Daddy (and GLW saw her husband!), as well as almost accidentally getting nearly a whole day to myself. I then was able to take three days off last week from the time piled up from working longer than contracted, after which I still had nearly two weeks worth to use. In that respect I am my own manager, so it’s up to me to watch myself (something parochial ministry taught me) rather than anyone else enforcing it.

It also explains why my blogging has been rather non-existent of late. I may have have had plenty of thoughts that might have manifested in posts, which I might dare to call “good”, but that all takes time.

In the midst of all that it’s beginning to hit me that March has arrived. Yes, I know that it arrived yesterday, but you get my meaning. Two months of twelve have gone. I haven’t yet booked my travel arrangements for EternalCon, nor explored booking a family holiday, nor buying my Greenbelt ticket. Lent is a non-event, the fruit of worshipping in a non-Lectionary based church (although I did do Communion and Ashing at Chaplaincy, the day after we served well over 100 pancakes). The truth that it’s never really been part of spiritual discipline anyway for this “not very Anglican” Church of England minister. The likelihood of contracts being exchanged on the new house “by the end of the month” has evaporated (meaning that I need to chase more this month, because I really was hoping to have completed and moved by Easter) and LM and us now know what school she will be going to next September (our second choice, but it was really too close to call in the decision stage).

Some of my regular readers may also remember my Boozewatch, attempting to track and reduce my alcohol consumption (how very middle-aged!) Despite both a couple of wobbly weeks and the oversight of not copying the records off my mobile phone before conducting a factory reset (blame Google accounts), I’m pleased to report that I’m certainly not exceeding by much, and am, at present at least, doing rather well. (Famous last words).

And speaking of last words, I’d better stop. I know far better than to expect to do any much-needed Role-Playing Games development now nor even anything on the geofiction front (having finally re-started work on Atoria) as the family will return from orchestra any minute. Phew!



1. Chris Green - 5 March 2013

Good to hear that you are enjoying life.

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