the Episcopal Church welcomes you

Dux is back — my very fine drake.

And at last, he is not alone.

I saw them process up the drive, Dux quacking knowingly.  He led his companion to the seed tray, the water dish, the shady shower of seed provided by the song birds, and then on (in the heat of the morning) to a cooling patch of mud.

Very proud he was too.

But this is my duck, remember — so it’s not quite as it was before.

Alas.  The same old story…

all is revealed

A friend of mine talks about ‘the angel of the church’* — the one that expresses the basic spirit of the place, on good days and bad.  This friend is better at spotting angels than I am — especially if they come in unexpected form.

Well, today, the angel of St Mary’s finally appeared.

It seems she’s a parrot.

I should have realised sooner, I suspect.

What a good day.

*(my friend admits to stealing the idea from other sources, but I suspect our private conversations about it spin off in direction the original authors never intended)


Oh the blogging possibilities.  Every hour or so I think ‘I must write about this’ but then the phone rings, someone appears at the door, I lose another hour looking for something in the church, or I get caught up with weddings, visits, discussions about where we are going and what we are hoping for.

My days are wonderfully diverse here.  And — because everything is new, and there is so much to take in — it is utterly exhausting.  This will pass.  I remember it from the first month of my curacy:  things that later felt very easy and hardly took any energy were at first  so full of surprises that I would at some point each week simply crash and sleep for an hour.

But the biggest surprise so far is that ordained life might indeed be what I thought it was when I went through selection.

I know:  all candidates are romantics.  We all have unrealistic hopes and visions of what the church is, what priesthood is, and how we might fit in.   But still, there must be something in all that dreaming.  And yet so much of my ordained life so far has not been that.  There have been many riches, many experiences I would not trade, but while I always knew it was what I was called to, there was always a gap between expectations and reality that I couldn’t quite name.

In the past fortnight here, there is no gap.

There is joy.

People come and go, conversations arise.  Drains are cleared and linens are washed and fish are carefully removed from walls.  The garden fills with children and then falls silent as the Rabbit nibbles on the lawn before bedtime.  I found the wagtails today, and sat by the bed of someone who was dying.  Yesterday, we played with 60 children in the church and taught them about baptism.  They loved it and we loved it, and everyone got wet.  There are discussions on liturgy and music, discernment of ministries and the importance of the link with a project in Zambia that the sisters from OHP run.

When I go into the church, I never know what will happen.  Sometimes it is the quiet hush of a building resting, waiting, and I can slip easily into prayer.  Other times it is a meeting ground:  women wandering home after the craft group, teenagers wandering in after a bad day of computing.  Sometimes something inbetween:  flowers quietly and beautifully being prepared, collections being counted, people just there.

It is good.