Friday, April 30, 2010
The Final Score
First of all I want to express my heart felt gratitude for everything that has been done over the last few months to support me. The messages, practical help and most importantly prayers have been invaluable. I could not have made without them.
I have been propped up by those I came to support, I have been helped by those I came to aid and I have been loved by those I came to care for. I have seen Christian community at its best, and I have to say I have faith in that form church as a result. I am incredibly grateful.
We need to read this all in a context of the original diocesan budget which looked to be a £1.4 million shortfall. Against this backdrop the diocese clearly needed to make some changes and, of course, it is much more difficult to make changes in the pattern of parochial ministry than it is to make cuts at the centre or indeed in sector ministry (College or University chaplaincies in other words)
Of course since then the diocesan budget looks a little bit healthier and so some things are being revised. There was some hope of a Free Church and Anglican appointment and I would love to tell you why that didn't work and probably will some day when I have left office!
Now the diocese is looking to put something in place for the academic year 2011-2012. This will be I think probably some kind of combined post. It's up to them how they do and what they do. They also want to look with their ecumenical partners to review the chaplaincy.
In the mean time there is the question of continuity of pastoral care since none of this will be in place before September 2011. There is as well the question of what becomes of me as well.
For that reason the diocese has decided to keep me in post.
I have already been in post for 5 years and that is how long most University Chaplains hang around anyway, so to do one more year is about right, and indeed we are now talking of 15 months.
So I know what the immediate future holds, and I am in God's hands for the long term. It has been a roller-coaster ride, and right from the start it seemed like only a miracle could keep me in post. Well anyone who works for God gets used to miracles, they seem to happen quite a lot.
So with that in mind, I ask you to pray; for the future of chaplaincy; for next year; and for me.