Thursday, October 29, 2009

Seventh anniversary at the helm

This day seven years ago was my first day at work after my induction as Team Rector of Central Cardiff by Archbishop Barry. Such a lot has happened in those years, changes of personnel, the losing battle to save St James' Church ( still standing empty until its purchasers can summon up the funds to see through their internal conversation of the building into apartments). Then there was the splitting of the Parish nearly three years ago already, giving me more time to work on the redevelopment process and engagement with the city government. Then the Spiritual Capital research project, the church's internal redecoration, then Countdown 2009, and last week's SDC opening. In a way I feel that all the missionary undertakings that have marked the course of these fascinating period of my life have come to their conclusion.

Right now I feel I could walk away with a huge amount of satisfaction into retirement. I'm no good at just doing church maintenance. There must be creative initiatives and adventures to balance the queit stable routine of pastoral life. I can't enjoy the one without the other. So what am I going to do? It's six months until I draw my pension. I can't be kicking my heels for that length of time.

One of the reasons for my taking an interest in the Religious Diversity and anti-discrimination training is to find out if this kind of adult education process for civil society is something I can contribute to in the long term. In a way it's picking up on what I learned when I did teacher training 25 years ago, which I ploughed into development education work with USPG. I'm also curious about Digital Inclusion - a jargon phrase for government backed initiatives to enable people with disabilities, elderly folk, or those from socially disadvantaged backgrounds to take advantage of modern technologies - not just digital telly.

I've a fair amount of technical know-how and have helped a few people to learn about computer use over the years. An odd kind of ministry maybe, but it's important to help all sorts of people to engage with a fast changing world and not be afraid of what it throws at you. One thing that I would like to work on, when I have time to spare, is how to make computer systems more user friendly, and jargon free, less esoteric than they are to complete beginners. In the same way that this job has immersed me in the different worlds of retailing and local government, and given me such positive stimulus, I'd like to think that a return to adult education will also bring freshness to the freedom that pastoral ministry in reitrement brings.

In the meanwhile, there's preparation to be done for my last Advent and Lent seasons at the helm, and an effort to set everything in order to make the handover to my successor as easy and natural as it should be.

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