I’ve had bad experiences. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve learnt from them. I have been a baaaad blogger, and upset people with blogs in the past.
I also appreciate that blogging is an excellent form of theological reflection, and that Parish Life (note the capitals) benefits from parishLife (the opportunity to blog). This means that if I promise to stick to the rules, much can be learnt from thinking about Parish Ministry, walking the way of Christ and trying to foster a Missional Community on the South Coast of England.
There needs however, to be some groundrules: for myself at least.
1. Try not to say anything too outrageous about people amongst whom you minister, remembering that is they whom you serve. My mistake in previous blogs was too much honesty. I promise that if I say anything confrontational about the parish, I will have cleared it with the person I speak about. I am, however, quite critical of myself, but this I find to be productive.
2. Stop pretending you can be anonymous. Anyone with a copy of Crockford’s can work out how many Father Simons there are on the South Coast. Should I make the job easier for you: I am Father Simon, the Priest in Charge of St. Thomas the Apostle, Elson. There: that made it a bit easier. We are a small church. We are a poor church. We cannot afford the quota the diocese has set us and our cash flow is at present appalling. We need to re-order our sacred space and we have limited funds for that. Some of that angst and anxiety will need to be worked out here.
3. Accept that trying to be a Christian, to be a priest, to follow the teachings of Christ in this troublous life is not easy. Recognise that we all find it difficult and speak of it with some honesty. If that helps you, then good. If not, please do not try to be shocked by the suggestion that being a Christian is not always a walk in the park.
So, my charter:
- To strive to be honest with you about what is happening at the cutting edge of parish life
- To not spin some success story but document my thoughts and reflections on a Missional Community. There will be triumphs. There will be disasters. There will be a large mixture of both.
- To make sense of the Gospel, as it is significant here, in this place.
Tall order, I know, but walk with me and it may be fruitful.
Fr. Simon, the iPriest