Daily Reflection 10th November 2020

Welcome to Tuesday! A very different sort of day from yesterday as I am spending most of it in my study and in front of my computer screen as I am participating in a number of zoom meetings! 

A year ago if you had said zoom to me I would have thought you were referring to a retro ice lolly that was popular in my childhood or the noise a fast car makes! Now it is part of my every day vocabulary along with lockdown, furlough and social distancing! Indeed you may have heard on the news that Collins Dictionary have included all three of these words in their top ten most used words  for 2020, which is hardly surprising! 

After saying Morning Prayer, again using the Celtic liturgy of which I am so fond, I spent some time journalling. I try to do this most days although not necessarily at the same time but I see it very much as part of my spiritual practice. If any of you caught my sermon on Sunday, you may recall I spoke about the Ignation method of immersive reading of scripture. Another Ignation practice is known as the Examen. This is where you spend some time considering the days events, acknowledging what was good and giving thanks for those things and also reflecting on what was not so good and accepting that not in a judgemental way but in a way in which there is encouragement to improve. My journalling is part of my Examen practice as I am person that likes to see things in black and white so that I can focus on them more deeply and pray through those aspects that I have identified as the ones that I really want to bring to God.

After that I had a very pleasant hour on zoom with our brilliant curate, Shirley. We endeavour to meet regularly to talk through Shirley’s training and to reflect theologically on a range of topics. Today we spoke about the value of art in faith- as some of you will know Shirley is a gifted artist and I very much enjoyed our conversation about the topic. As a curate in hr third year of training it is important that we work closely together to identify those aspects of ministry which Shirley needs increased exposure and experience in and today we were discussing the fascinating topics of faculties ( a process that needs to be followed if a church wants to make the slightest change to its buildings), risk assessments and churchyard regulations! While these don’t sound very exciting on their own, it’s important that we acknowledge how apparently boring admin processes contribute to the mission of the church. For example we discussed the feasibility  and value of installing Wifi in Holy Cross, acknowledging that on line worship is probably here to stay and id therefore a valuable tool to support outrace and mission. Similarly in these Covid days, risk assessments are essential if we are to be able to open our churches for private prayer. The churchyard at Holy Cross has many visitors as families and friends  come to tend the graves of their loved ones and it is important we make sure that it is safe and accessible. 

I took advantage of a space in my diary to do some relevant reading over lunch which is always a pleasure! Last week I received a copy of “How Clergy Thrive” which provides some excellent advice on how in my role as Area Dean I can provide pastoral support to my colleagues and I also began to read the Living in Love and Faith report that was published yesterday by the National Church. Both reports are important, in their different ways  and I may say a bit more about them , particularly the LLF report towards the end of the week.

Another zoom call then beckoned as I met with a colleague from another part of the Diocese , who is a relatively new incumbent. All new clergy are offered mentoring with a fellow priest to support them through the first 18 months in their new role. I found the wisdom of my own mentor invaluable when I first became your vicar – over three years ago! – and I am glad to be able to support another priest in their ministry journey.

In a moment I shall say Evening Prayer than then later I shall chair the zoom Deanery Synod meeting in my role as Area Dean. I took on this role at the invitation of +Stephen earlier this year and it basically entails providing pastoral oversight to the clergy and lay ministers of the Basildon Deanery as well as having a shared responsibility alongside the Lay Chair for the governance of the Deanery which encompasses all the parish across Basildon, Billericay and Wickford.

So another varied day and one that won’t finish for a few hours yet but I leave you know with the canticle from Evening Prayer 

In the shadow of Your wings

I will sing Your praises, O Lord.

The Lord is my light, my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the refuge of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

In the shadow of Your wings

I will sing Your praises, O Lord.

One thing I ask of the Lord,

one thing I seek;

to dwell in the presence of my God,

to gaze on Your holy place.

In the shadow of Your wings

I will sing Your praises, O Lord.

I believe I shall see the goodness

of the Lord in the land of the living.

O wait for the Lord!

Have courage and wait,

wait for the Lord.

In the shadow of Your wings

I will sing Your praises, O Lord.

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