It's halfway through Lent, second busiest time of the year. It's also my five year anniversary as parish priest. I'm looking back at achievement and forward to challenge which is a crisis or, speaking less dramatically, turning point.
So far as Lent goes midweek events I should attend more than doubled from three to seven, two of these being groups devoted to Premier's Talking Points series now finished. So far as my ministry goes pastoral contacts have grown so that, pleasantly in one sense, I am more in demand than when I started so that my diary easily fills.
There is a sense of achievement about Lent in terms of participation so far and challenge ahead with Holy Week liturgies and the Annual Parochial Church Meeting beyond them with the need to find one new Churchwarden and new Church Council members. Last time I had to visit nine people to find a warden! Remember we have a congregation of 60 in a village of 1500.
I am trusting the Lord that the invitation for church members to write a letter to God over the rest of Lent will fuel spiritual motivation so that candidates emerge for service on Church Council and so on. The last three Sundays of Lent will centre on the theme and song I'll Say Yes, Lord with a letter template headed 'Yes to celebration, sorrow, today, tomorrow'. Though some members will make a sacramental confession in Holy Week this exercise, being a confidential offering, should draw quite a few more into transformative self offering.
My mid-Lent crisis is thankfully nothing too spiritual, just increased workload in terms of services and the many more that will come in Holy Week. The death of a 19 year old lad is one of a number of extras weighing on me and on us all as a village, as my domestic pressures linked to ageing parents, seeing to provision for them, sale of property etc.
In reaching five years I'm around the mid point of my time in Horsted Keynes. I naturally wonder if good will built up will carry me forward lending momentum to my journey or whether any such momentum will run out before 'a steep and rugged pathway' ahead.
God will be at hand whichever path lies ahead and 'I can do all things through him who strengthens me'. Philippians 4:13