How stressed am I at present? On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say about 15
There is just sooooo much to be doing at present. Reluctantly I have had to drop two things: a database for some very lovely people whom I respect and admire, and promised to create something for them, but it was on the understanding that it fitted around parish work and a paper for the typo3 conference in September – I simply don’t have the chance to prepare the paper, and I expect the diocese wouldn’t be willing to pay for it, for it is on something so completely obscure: XML field representation in typo3 thin-client database applications – there: are you any wiser now.
It’s not just funerals and pastoral visits, daily office and mass that fills the time, but loads of other stuff which by rights should be managed by the parish, but which seems to fall always to me. I am under pressure to get the service plans out for Advent 05 to Easter 06 now! I now hear that one of the Churchwardens would like us to engage the people stuck at home in a praying ministry – which is funny, because that’s what I say to everyone I visit at home as I give them the weekly prayer sheet. I want to keep pushing the ministry of prayer in this parish, but this just makes me feel as if I havn’t been doing my bit.
At Walsingham last year, I was talking to a bloke from Hartlepool who was a former parishoner of Fr North’s. We were talking about my anxieties about taking up a new parish, and he told me the most prfound thing I have heard ever about parish ministry: “Well, you have to do what Fr Philip did – get the prayin’ thing right first”
“Get the prayin’ thing right first” – this has been my mantra here and if I ever succeed, it will be on this basis, for parochial ministry is based upon prayer.
However, it is hard enough to stay a week ahead with prayer intentions, let alone do them for six months. Maybe a task for the Worship Team…
There are a few ticks on my list now, more than last week, but still lots outstanding:
• Ikons talk – tick
• CJM DB – deferred so effectively tick
• Jude typo3 server – bugfix the diocese database – tick
• Make Povery History Video – tick
• Blesséd at Spring camp and Lee on the Solent – tick
• Typo3 Conference paper – tick
• Promotional Materials for Blesséd – tick
• Beer Tent
• Funeral Sermon – tick
• Wedding Sermon – tick (although I now have other funeral and wedding sermons to complete)
• Multisensory Worship talks – tick
• Blesséd for Summer Camp
• Service Plans Advent 05 to Easter 06
• Parish Magazine Article – tick
• Post Van service manual to Romania
So many things ticked off, so why am I still stressed?
• Ministerial Review
• D-Day Service this Sunday – no idea what is happening and know I have to do an address
• Blesséd on the 11th June (see www.blessed.org.uk)
• Need a retreat desperately
• Summer Fayre – sooo anxious for its success it is almost paralysing me, especially in the face of the conflicts it has caused
• National Youth Pilgrimage to Walsingham
• …and so much more that I don’t have time to write it all down.
It’s not going to go away, so I need to methodically work through it. Pray for us. Pray that it will get done, and what doesn’t get done will happen anyway, in God’s good grace.