Chat with the vicar

Today was the day when I had to go and see the vicar for a chat. Not quite sure why, but I was a little nervous, I shouldn't have been. The aim of the chat was to sort out why I wanted to be baptised and confirmed. That's what I had assumed anyway. Not sure exactly what happened though. We did talk about it for a few minutes, but not long at all, although this was probably just my fault, when he asked me why? The best answer I could give him, was that it was something I felt that I needed to do, fully expecting him to ask me to be a bit more specific, or that he would think I was being a bit flakey. Instead, after I had apologised for not being able to describe it in a more precise way, or define my thoughts more accurately, he actually said that it was great that I had such a strong feeling in me. "oh ....ok.., I thought. I was so relieved when he said that. I was dreading what I was going to say, and in the end just told him what I really thought and felt, and it was fine, and he was fine about it too. Then, the conversation veered offtrack somehow, I now know more than I ever wished to know about the parish finances, how much the parish share is each year, which was shockingly large, what the annual turnover is, how the PCC goes about it's business, and other stuff like how many staff they employ for the various concerns,  and the fact that he is run off his feet, waiting for a curate, but apparently he is still waiting to hear about that one. He is getting a youth worker from Buckingham way in September I think he said, and then said rather than saving him work, it will just add to his workload. He also said he has to spend far more time doing paperwork than he would wish, and couldn't spend as much time out and about the parish as he wanted. Apparently the parish of the town church includes over 12,000 people, several schools and a hospital. That is a lot of people to get round. Maybe he was just telling me all this to see if he could scare me away from the idea of being a priest? He then told me about the direction he wanted to take the church (and gave me a little printout to illustrate the point). In particular, he wanted to involve everyone in the service, including preaching etc, but not doing communion, obviously. He said last Sunday at the 10 am service two people took it, who were a bit like me (slightly bizarre, far too colourfully dressed and oh so slightly mad?), but no,  he said who were looking to perhaps become priests one day.  He then asked me a few other things about where God had been in my life, and also said, due to the Bishop being rather busy, it could be months before I am baptised and confirmed, and asked if I was ok with that. Which I was, it will give me time to attempt to get my head round exactly what it means. He said that he wanted me to be done in a regular service, either at the country church or the town church, and to do the both together, which is kind of what I had assumed would happen anyway, but it seems that he has special services for baptisms of babies each week in addition to the normal church services, and that he was fully booked up until the end of  January. He then mentioned how I felt about other stuff, and what I felt I should do, and I said to him that I really felt I needed to be baptised and confirmed before I started to think about going anywhere with that,  he than said "So you want to take it at your own pace then?", and I nodded, he said that was great and fine also.  

At a point in the chat I said where I was born, where I had been to church before etc, and then strangely enough he asked me if I had been baptised before, what sort of a question was that, why did he think I was there. Even more odd was his reaction when I told him no; he was genuinely surprised. I'm mystified to say the least, but there you go. 

We talked about other things, and at one point, after I had said that I had never met my father, not that I remember anyway, he said that his father had left them when he was three years old, he seemed quite sad about it, wheras I, never having known him, and my mother never talking about him never really missed him. Although I did attempt to trace him a few years back, I thought at the time, I should find out who he was and is. But realised that so long had passed, and he could be a happily married man with a family, and I really wasn't all that worried, so stopped looking. The vicar then went on to say that a good thing for me to do, would be to write something on where I have felt God has been throughout my life, and my life in general, including any issues I may have secretly locked away inside, and to try and work them all out to know myself better. He said he did this when he first started looking and it helped him a lot. So I will have a go at that.

He ended the chat asking if I would like to pray with him, yes please I answered, and he said the loveliest prayer about God being in my life, asking him to guide me thanking him for the grace that he had given me. Problem is, I can't remember all of what he said my mind is a blank on that. I remember it was very moving though, and remember that God was most definitely there at that time, which was astoundingly wonderful, and great and lovely and marvelous. So I left him a little over an hour after I had arrived, feeling so at peace, more so that I have done for a long time. I thanked him for praying and for his time, and he seemed a little bemused. I also apologised for maybe not doing as much talking as I should, and not saying very much, he replied by saying,"No, that's fine you said quite a lot". When?  I thought. Unless he was being metaphorical, in which case I don't know what to think. 

He did talk about the 10am service a lot, so may just go along to see what that is all about, he says he gets about 150 - 180 usually, and has a lot more modern hymns. Only problem is, it also has projectors a band and a drumkit, which I am extremely dubious of. But the thought of singing away with a church literally full of other people is certainly appealing, just have to convince MLO to ignore the drumkit etc (He would be BCP all the way if he had a choice), he thinks I am am bit hippyfied for preferring Common Worship. 

Yesterday was good at church very very enjoyable. Started the service with one of my very favourite hymns, Lord of all hopefulness had a really brilliant sermon,and three more great hymns. Was quite amusing when we got there, another lady who we hadn't seen before greeted us and asked us if we were visiting.  Twice we have been asked that recently, despite going there regularly for almost four months, more and more people keep popping up, I don't doubt we will be asked again. The last hymns we sang was "O Jesus we have promised, to serve thee to the end" an utterly lovely hymn, whose words seemed very meaningful to me, as I am sure they do to everyone, but after the sermon and everything else, the words seem to speak to me there and then. For some reason, I happened to look towards the front, where the vicar was doing his tidying up thing, and he gave a huge cheesy grin at me, as if to say that ones for you. Now I don't for one moment think that,  but it certainly made me smile so much it was difficult to sing. 

Have even started to enjoy the peace at the country church, going so far as to mill around trying to make sure I get to everyone else, I think it's because it really is a lovely joyful thing with everyone being really genuinely happy to wish everyone else peace with a huge smile on their face. It doesn't feel at all false, just completely natural and lovely. You wouldn't have got me out of the pew a while ago for love nor money. At the town church though the peace (at the 8 am service) has usually felt like it is merely being endured by the congregation, and there is not much joy in it except for the one couple there, the one of whom used to teach MLO at school.

Anyway that's all I can remember for now, and I really need to get to bed, as I have to be at work in seven hours, so night night.

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Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Born in 1975 in Brixham, in glorious Devon. Spent most of my youth in grimy birmingham. As soon as i was able at 18 I moved to beautiful Herefordshire. Where i remain to this day. Work at Locks Garage, famous for our ice creams. Generally wonderful place.
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