Ok, so I haven’t blogged in quite a while, for which I apologise. A number of things have gotten in the way – not least a medical condition affecting my lower back and leg that have made sitting for any serious amount of time somewhere between uncomfortable and agonising! Still, I seem to be having a better morning so here I am bashing away at the keys before heading off to Church for the first time today.
It’s the first time today because this afternoon the whole Wesley House community will be heading to Wesley Church for our Start of Year Service. Usually this is held in the chapel here at Wesley House but this afternoon’s service is not just a Wesley House Service but a Connexional event, for as well as welcoming our new students to help us build a new-yet-continuing community but inducting and welcoming new staff. Our former Director of Pastoral Studies (DoPS), the Rev’d Dr Jane Leach, is to be inducted as Principal, while we will also be welcoming and inducting a new DoPS & Vice-Principal, the Rev’d Dr Jonathan Hustler, and a new Director of Studies (DoS), the Rev’d Dr Cindy Wesley. This means our service is not being presided at by the Principal herself but by a former Principal, who happens also to be a former President of Conference and General Secretary of the Methodist Church, with the sermon preached by the current General Secretary. It is, therefore, a big day in the life of Wesley House. It will begin with escorting some of our new students to Wesley Church, then lunch with my Worship Group (I have been chosen as a Worship Group Leader this year, an immense honour and challenge) before tea & coffee in the Common Room, then the Welcome Service, then Tea with many guests, before drinks for College Students and resident families in the Principal’s Lodge, and then finally Compline. And then, of course, comes the beginning of induction and the job of really starting to build that new-yet-continuing community through induction and into the beginning of lectures.
There is no denying this year is going to be a big challenge for me in many ways. There will be reflection and development to be undertaken following my time in South Africa and my week with the Royal Navy Chaplaincy Service – which I realise I have not reflected on here but which, suffice to say, was an amazing, challenging, inspiring, demanding, engaging experience (and included “buzzing” my parents’ Somerset home in a Navy Sea King out of RNAS Yeovilton). It will also include learning how to work with churches as a Presbyter rather than as a Lay Worker while I carry out my year-long attachment in the Fens. And it will include needing to look forward as I and the family approach the process of Stationing so that come January we will be told where we will be geographically located by this time next year. And alongside all that will be the ongoing degree studies, as well as the added difficulties of coping with, and hopefully fixing, the problems with my back and leg, as well continuing to develop management strategies for keeping the Black Dog on his leash.
For now, though, it’s time to head to Church in the glorious sunshine and in the company of my family and members of the new-yet-continuing community known as Wesley House.
Wherever you are in your journey, whether looking back, concentrating on today, looking forward, carrying on or starting all over again, travel well.