Day 1. The rest of my life.
Something has happened to my students. The chaplaincy has taken on a life of it's own.
The first day the students decided to set off the reading for morning prayer was Jesus sending out the 12 disciples. I felt him say to me, come on if I can entrust the mission of the entire church that bunch, you can let the students do what they do.
They put a lot of effort into the facebook group and the petition, but I was wondering if following on from the synod decision if that might not be game over.
The students have started fund raising.
The students it seems are not going to sit around and wait for the University or the church to cough up for their chaplaincy they have already started to collect money from among themselves. I am told that a day later and they have already raised £400.
These are students, people with literally no income. Frankly this level of commitment -substantially higher than the 88p being asked for from the rest of the diocese- does slightly put others round here to shame.
There is here real resentment to the diocese the students seem to feel pretty strongly let down by them, and by the Bishop. This saddens me.
The students are going to start up a trust fund rather than simply pass money on to the diocese. Something I personally have advised against, but I think it is a symptom of their general disillusionment with the Diocese. They want to ensure they have a say over things in future.
As for me, I'm not sure what it would mean for me to be supported by my 'congregation' rather than the diocese. What would it mean for me to be supported by students?
Obviously it would mean that when I left University and got a job, I'd have to pay it all back!
But apart from that I notice I have a sense of excitement. I am now moving from the old certainties, I will get paid, this much, no more no less, and live in this house because and only because I am a priest. I am finding there is a real peace and freedom in living beyond that. This is a snap shot of the future. Even though parish ministry is very secure employment now, one day, long before I retire it will no longer be.
Finally I began, for the first time to relate to those Anglo-catholics who are just about to be off to the ordinariate. They are on the same journey as me. They like me, may have to take a pay cut, or find there is no financial support at all. They like me, may find themselves having to move house.
Like me, they must have a mixture of concern and excitement, and genuine faith as they realise that they have no idea where they will be come Christmas 2010.
Of course, I could get overly carried away with fraternal felicitations, I am doing this because I love my students and Jesus, rather than because I hate women and the modern world.