This letter is a hard letter to write, and I’ve not really known where to begin. This is the last Curate’s Letter that I will write as my curacy finishes at the end of August 2021. The past three years have flown by. In that time, there has been laughter, and tears. I have grieved with some of you, and said sorry countless times, either as my Aspergers’ has come across as incredibly frank or due to the mistakes of former clergy. But there are also countless memories of fun and laughter. It is these moments I will cherish as I pack my things and prepare to leave Caithness.
I’ve learned a great deal about people. I’ve learned that what makes people tick has no rhyme or reason and is inherently more complex than the trigonometry and geometry that I based my previous career on. That tasks are no longer the checklist that used to define my working day but rather consist of prayer, listening and more prayer. I find it an immense privilege to be able to listen when you need someone to listen. To pray with you when times are rough. To be able to pray with ministers of other denominations regardless of differing doctrinal beliefs.
I’ve learned that working with volunteers is nothing like working with employees. Having been a manager, there are times I have had to unlearn things. But I have learned other skills that will hopefully stand me in good stead as I move into a different role. I’ve reflected on the feedback given either to me or to the bishop. I’ve used countless times the tools provided by SEI, that include critical incident reports, and value-based reflection. The end question would be along the lines of ‘what would Jesus do?’
The door to the study is all important as the point where I leave the day’s tasks to be picked up the next day. I’ve learned to ensure I have enough rest and enough exercise. To discipline myself to work 2/3 of a day and take at least one 24h period off a week. Morning and Evening Office are the shoulders of the working day, and the advent of Zoom for such services has helped cement these times into the daily routine. Not just for me but for others both on Zoom and on Facebook.
Lockdown proved an interesting experience, partly due to the long effects of Covid, but also in discovering new ways in which to reach out and do church in creative ways. Some of which were interesting, and some of which were and are only for a season. I am enormously grateful to the congregation of St Peter’s for allowing me that creative freedom and finding new ways of doing and being church.
To those who have invited me for coffee, lunch, or dinner, thank you! To spend time amongst families and friends getting to know you in your homes and find out what really makes you tick has been invaluable (other than the industrious and occasionally frenetic activity at church).
My next post is in Inverness, at St John’s, Southside, with responsibilities for Inverness South, and the chapel of St Mary’s, Culloden. It is a daunting, yet exciting prospect and I would appreciate your prayers as I head into this new challenge.
Caithness will always hold an important place in my heart – not just the geographic locations where I have found rest and recuperation (usually dabbling in rock pools), but with the variety and diversity of people whom I have met over these past three years. You know who you are. Thank you!
With every blessing,