Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The light at the end of the tunnel

My first blog post was written on 17th July 2008, when I decided to blog my way through the Methodist Foundation Training and Candidating process. It served it's purpose well and provided a way for many friends to follow my progress and offer their encouragement and prayers. In fact it was such a good way for people to follow my journey that I decided to continue it after my acceptance as a Student Minister, it felt very right to finish sharing my training journey with those who had followed and supported me up till then.
It is now January 2011 and the light at the end of the tunnel has appeared!! A journey that started in April 2006 when I was Accepted 'on Note' as a Methodist Local preacher, is about to end another stage and change direction once again.
The last five years have seen me start and finish Local preacher training, get accredited as a Methodist Local preacher, start and finish Methodist foundation training, candidate and be accepted for Presbyteral Ministry, finish three years of formal academic and ministerial studies and start the fourth and final one. I have done two big Church placements, three pioneer placement, two pastoral placements and explored and studied many other things without formal placement. It's a wonder I've had any time to write on here at all!! There is still much work to be done before the end of the academic year and concentrating on work and not getting "demob happy" will be my greatest challenge yet because.......................................................
A week ago the reward for all my hard work, sacrifices, busyness and stress was revealed with the results of the deliberations of the Methodist stationing committee. From the 1st of September 2011 I have been appointed and the Minister at Cheam Methodist Church, and one of a team of ministers at Epsom Methodist Church. It is great news, the appointment fits like a glove and is more than I could have hoped for in my dreams. My family and I will move to Epsom to begin the next chapter.

2011 First Post

The first post of a new year, and typically ages since the last one!! However maybe this time I have a better excuse than usual. Eight weeks ago I underwent the second stage of a MACI operation to rebuild my knee, this was done using cells taken out during the first stage op and grown in a lab to create an implant. It is the second time I have had this done, the last time was about 5 years ago. It has been a very slow healing process, eight weeks on I still have a full length leg brace on for much of the time and am still restricted to walking with crutches. However my pain levels are already below the pre-op ones and all the early indications are that the procedure has been successful once again.
Having had two general anaesthetics in 6 weeks and large doses of pain killers, much of the last eight weeks has been somewhat hazy!! I now have large amounts of college work to catch up with and need to get back into a serious work routine as quickly as possible.
It is now only 6 months till the end of my final year as a Student Minister, the next months are destined to be busy with college stuff and the end of year panic over deadlines. There is some other stuff going on as well - but I'll save that for a new post!!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Time to rest

I am now counting down the days till the major reconstruction of my left knee, next Monday I have to be at the hospital for a 7am start and will be in for 7-10 days including my birthday. I am just beginning to get a little unsettled about it. Before then I have college to attend, a Bible study on Philippians 4 to write and lead, worship for Sunday to prepare and lead and a first aid course to teach, but my mind is definitely wandering back to the hospital everytime I try and concentrate on anything else.
I didn't publish this at the time but it makes a good link to my next post.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Reflection on September

What a month - Joe started "big school", Ash left for Uni, Hana and I started final year studies. I'm back on placement this time in the Worthing circuit, very different from Dorset Gardens!!
I am spending most of my time at Offington Park with James, one day a wek with my mentor Ian and about two or three sessions a month with Andrew. It has been fun working with each of them, they are very different and have very different styles of ministry, which has been a good reminder that it is such a personal calling.
I have helped at youth club, led a bible study, helped at "Church with a difference" taken out extended communion, been into school, been to Toddlers, washed up at a coffee morning, preached, led worship, attended the September=too many meetings, had regular reflective practice sessions and done some less formal reflections and above all met and chatted to loads of new people.
It has been great to be with a selection of supervisors and to be allowed time both to do and to be!!! I am really looking forward to the journey through Advent and Christmas with them all.

Monday, 20 September 2010

All change

Wow, I knew it would be hard when the first of my children left home - but I was completely unprepared for how hard.
Yesterday we drove Ashleigh to Docklands and helped her sort out her new room, unpack all her things, fill in a host of forms, and start to settle into the new phase of her life.
Then at back at home some bedroom moving took place as the other three settled into their new spaces and roles, Kate and Joe finally getting their own much needed space, and Hana realising that now she's the "BIG" one.
I had had a few tears during the day, after a couple of loving messages from friends enquiring if I was ok, and as Ash hugged me to say goodbye, made harder by the tears of the others. But it was much later when the ache started as the enormity of what had happened hit me, things here will never be the same again.
I hadn't realised that there would be an actual physical pain like a bereavement, and I was unprepared for the flood of tears that came. I thank God for the friends that stood with me in the dark moments last night, and today of course looks brighter with the dawn.
Things won't be the same here again, but we will soon learn how to live with the changes.
I'll finish for now with the words of the song that helped me through the pain, a prayer that all Christian parents have for their children. 'Find your Wings' by Mark Harris.

It's only for a moment you are mine to hold
The plans that heaven has for you
Will all too soon unfold
So many different prayers I'll pray
For all that you might do
But most of all I'll want to know
You're walking in the truth
And if I never told you, I want you to know
That as I watch you grow

I pray that God would fill your heart with dreams
And that faith gives you the courage
To dare to do great things
I'm here for you whatever this life brings
So let my love give you roots
And help you find your wings

May passion be the wind
That leads you through your days
And may conviction keep you strong
Guide you on your way
May there be many moments
That make your life so sweet
Oh, but more than memories


It's not living if you don't reach for the sky
I'll have tears as you take off
But I'll cheer as you fly


I did indeed have tears as she took off, but will cheer the loudest as she begins to fly!!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

New Year

Been a long time since I wrote in here again. A time really mixed, between rushed off my feet busy as I finished placements and college for the year, and really quiet and peaceful during the holidays. I caught up with several friends - many that I haven't seen since last summer holiday!! I watched many special friends get ordained (last ones this Saturday) and know that as I start my final year training it will be very different without my starting year group around for support. And I spent some very special times with the family, including the wettest holiday going to add to our memories of being together!!
September is going to be a time of great change in our house, today Kate started at Upper School and the beginning of the road to GCSE's, and my youngest started at senior school - no more little school and a very different phase in our lives. Hana starts her final year at college next week a year in which she has to make some quite big decisions about what she wants to do next, these are somewhat complicated by the fact that we are moving house next year as well.
On the 19th the biggest change to hit the family since Joe was born 11 years ago will happen, Ashleigh is leaving to start at East London University, I am very proud of her and love the young woman she has become - she will be missed by all of us and we must learn to live with a new family dynamic.
This time next year I will start my new job, this year I have just started a new placement in the Worthing circuit - life is about to speed back up to frantic for a while I think and on top of everything I have to find time to fit in two operations and then recover from having my knee done.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Direction, knees and DG

Time to draw breath and catch up again, I am now three months into my placement at Dorset Gardens and am having a wonderful time, it is going so quickly and I will be sorry to say goodbye - I have met some very wonderful people, shared in the worship, fun and fellowship of the Church, I have led worship, played with the toddlers, had fun and made cards at art club, eaten tea at Cameo and drunk enough cups of tea to satisfy any Methodist Minister.
I have even met someone brave enough to take on the role of my Spiritual Director, we had our first meeting today which was great I feel much less guilty about things and I have been left with many things to reflect on this week.
The news of the bionic knee grows more complicated, I have had a third of the graft removed as it had become loose, it is now incredibly painful, I have to go back to see the specialist in July to assess the pain and see if it has settled down, if it has then they think I will be able to live with the smaller version of the graft if it is still this bad then they will harvest a new set of cells and grow and insert a new implant. So it could be a complicated final year at college - good job I'm such a pro on the crutches after 32 years of knee trouble - but hopefully they will fix it before I'm stationed.
The good news is that I only have 5 more pieces of work and one service to do before the end of term on June the 20th which is great because the last few months have been completely hectic and I could do with a few minutes to catch up with everyone