Monday, March 08, 2010

End in view

This afternoon we re-started 'God on Mondays', two weeks into term, after the school OFSTED inspection, which has concentrated all attention and sapped collective energy since it was announced at the start of the winter term. I really wonder if the impact of this process is as good for the schools as a thoroughgoing evaluation is meant to be. Everyone already does their best for the sake of the kids, and that's evident from even the most cursory of visits. I wonder what the 'added value' element of inspection consists of, and how it can be quantified? Still, I might say the same about the Monday afternoon Family Services I have been conducting over the past four years. Will my successor think this worth continuing? Or think of something better, more attractive and relevant to help nurture the faithful who still value this link to the pastoral and liturgical life of the parishes that support the life of the school?

There are three God on Mondays sessions in this half term. I'm using them to look at characters who appear in the Passion story. Then, the day before term ends, Fr Roy and I will distribute Palm crosses to the children, and that will be the end of my pastoral engagement with the school, over the five years since the last Curate of St James left the Parish and was not replaced. Will retirement mean the end of my ministry to children, I wonder? I would like to have done a lot more, but holding the whole Parish together, survival in this era of resource starvation has meant that there's been less time for people (children included), and more time just coping with running a big public voluntary enterprise hemmed in by some many administrative and legal checks and balances. I have never been happy with that. And retire discontented at the inevitability of iit all.

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