Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Disabled - but not uniquely so...

It was a bit weird, if I'm honest...


I was recently part of a day conference hosted by the Inclusive Church Network, looking at Disability and hearing different people's experiences. I was there with Dave, Jarvis his guide dog, and Bill - we are the core team of a group called Disability & Jesus.

And it was great.

And it was weird.

I was suddenly surrounded by people with disabilities.

I found myself at one point sat on a chair alongside 3 people in wheelchairs, looking across at another 4 wheelchairs, 2 guide dogs, and a variety of people with walking aids...

You rarely find that outside A&E departments.

I'm usually the only disabled in the village - surrounded by ableds.

At the conference I was not unique.

Neither was I alone.

As I say - great, but weird.

http://disabilityandjesus.org.uk/ 

https://twitter.com/DisabilityJ?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.953275201401456.1073741876.166299846765666&type=3 




Monday, 29 December 2014

tug-o-war....




It's Monday morning,  the first proper rest day post Christmas and the first of the 6 I'll take as holiday before putting on my dog collar and resuming 'normal' service.  I should be asleep,  having turned my alarm off, booted the snoring husband to the spare room for one night to guarantee unbroken sleep. Instead, it's 07:33 and I'm wide awake,  processing....

 

Vicars - well, ok,  perhaps just this one - are caught up between the two ends of a tug-o-war rope.  

 

At one end, the annual cycle of events and services, patterns of worship, seasonal 'must do it like this' moments - and I spent a day putting them in my diary through 2015, along with observations as to how they'd gone this year,  reminders ahead of time about publicity and planning,  and notes as to whether they needed tweaking or completely re-thinking. Also at that end are the nuts and bolts of management: the fabric of a Victorian building which shows itself again and again to be a huge frustration when it comes to welcoming and hosting a total of almost 900 people over the 5 services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day: the growing and pressing need for staff appraisals, especially in the light of one who refuses to be a team player and instead presents the world with the sour and disapproving face of the Church: the Budget that doesn't give anyone a sense of joy: the expectations (from Diocese, local clergy, people in the pews,  teenagers in the youth group, Church Council, Leadership Team...) that I will be the catalyst for church growth (just like in the golden days when Revd *pick your favourite vicar from past years* was here) ........ The list goes on......

 

And at the other end of the rope? 

 

Well....

 

.... The quiet, but persistent question, "what's the Jesus-point of all this?"  

 

And I have 2 problems.

 

You see,  the 1st rope end could be any organisation trying to run itself efficiently, develop its staff, make its buildings fit for purpose,  balance its budget when money (and generosity) is short, and present its purpose to the public in an engaging and attractive manner. An entire Church Council can go by with no mention of God...

 

And whereas Jesus should be at the other end of the rope taking the strain and shouting encouragement,  I look and see that he's tied it to a tree and has disappeared somewhere else.... And I really want to know where he's gone and what he's doing. 

Friday, 17 October 2014

Walk with me....

Walk with me....

Not holding back from the pace you'd rather be walking at....

Not walking ahead, then waiting for me to catch up, then walking ahead.....

Not in a gang ahead of me as though I don't count....

Actually with me, shortening your pace to match mine, your speed to match mine,
almost as though you're needing to keep up with me, rather than hold back for me...

Please, walk with me.

Just once.

Walk with me.


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

It's quiet.... A little too quiet...


Tup-towers is quiet.

Too quiet.

Since the wee man started school for the 1st time, and Mr T has gone back into full time paid work, the house is quiet most of the day.....

Nice to have my space back? To have my timing back? To be distraction free?

Actually, no.


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Words that harm....

My 'baby' has now started "big boy school" - he looks all grown up in his uniform,  and despite my fears that education will ruin my beautiful,  kind,  considerate, loving son, he seems to be thriving.

However, a word has entered our vocabulary and I really don't like it.  This word puts a strain on our relationship, makes me feel that I've failed in some way,  and generally upsets me.... 

The word?

Hurry....

Since starting school we are in a hurry: 
not getting dressed quickly enough - "hurry up" 
not putting his shoes on quickly enough - "hurry up" 
not getting in the car quickly enough - "hurry up"
not walking down the path quickly enough - "hurry up" 

And before you tell me to set the alarm earlier, yes the alarm is early enough.  The pressure still remains, that we are now working to a strict timetable and cannot be late.  We are clock watching like never before.  We have no time to "stand and stare", but must be there.  And I don't like it.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Bishops - Men & Women....


There's an old saying:  "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig...." 
a pig wearing lipstick
Yesterday (14th July 2014) the 'governing body' of the Church of England - the General Synod - passed a motion to enable men and women to serve and minister across the whole of the CofE: to be ordained as Deacons, Priests and now Bishops.  The Legislation has been passed, and now goes before Parliament and then the Queen for their assent.  It then becomes Law, and those who are part of the selection of Bishops can now consider both men and women according to calling and gifting, and not be restricted according to gender.

Good news for those of us who - after a thorough engagement with scripture - believe this to be the right thing.

So why the pig in lipstick?

There are those who believe that to be a woman priest is impossible,  the very phrase is an oxymoron, that a woman can no more be a priest than a pig in lipstick be a lady.

So, the legislation passed contains an anomaly.  The Law will say that I am a priest and able to be a Bishop.  It will also say that I am a lipstick wearing pig.  Why? Because it contains promises of safeguarding against my porcine ministry.

Not sure I have any more words for the minute...

Saturday, 14 December 2013

New beginnings...

So, we have moved!  When God says, "Time to go," then you pack up and move.  In our case, 6.2 miles from where we were.  Over a parish border, into a different Diocese (and a different Province - so now I am accountable to the Archbishop of York - although if were being pedantic I am ultimately accountable to God!)

All of this means a new house which is to become a home, a new community to find our way around and belong to, and a new church (just the one this time) in which to flourish.  Oh, and the way we got to know our immediate neighbours was when we asked them to help us manoeuvre the caravan onto the driveway by hand, and there's not enough swing on the road to use the car (unless I demolish the church wall... which I nearly did with the car... hence knocking on doors... as the school run was about to start...)


Chris levelling the caravan outside the Vicarage - the driveway slopes more than you can tell from the photo

So, 5 weeks into the post (of which nearly 2 were wiped out when I suffered the whole-body effects of pulling the muscles in my 'good' leg during the moving process), how are we doing as a family? Well, there were several cries of "we are never moving again!".  And that seems to accurately sum up how we are.  We belong here - home, community and church.  And here we are - until God says, "time to go..."