We are great ones for talking – exhaustively and exhaustingly about what we do. I don’t think they do so much of that here – not so much of ‘if we weren’t doing this what might we do?’
So we spent a morning together at Diocesan School in a beautiful meeting room and we began to talk about what we do and how we might grow together. Canon Dom Ind, our Diocesan Director of Ordinands, shared our thinking about vocation – about how we discern vocation and the kind of people we are looking for as future priests of our church. What happened then was very interesting. We have found in the schools a real reverence for education. Scotland has that too – but we may have lost some of the feeling, that is very strong here, that education is what makes possible progress for an individual and a society. That seems to be true among the clergy – many of them are academically more qualified than we are. So we talked about how an academic path is complemented by other kinds of brightness – deep interest in every aspect of society and its life, emotional intelligence, spirituality …. And we shared with them what it is like to minister in a very secular society and the kind of gifts of character and temperament which are needed in a priest if he or she is to sustain ministry in the long term.
We also talked together about outreach and growth in congregations – sharing with them some of Casting the Net experience of shaping Mission Action Plans. I was struck again by how helpful it is to be talking simply about a biblically rooted ‘Casting the Net’ rather than something like ‘The Diocesan Strategy for Growth’
The diocese here is blessed with a group of young, well trained and very capable clergy. It also has some extraordinarily talented and experienced lay people. There are all sorts of possibilities for what we can share together
Note the presence if endless bottles of water – symbolic of a visit to India. Up to the time when I left, nobody had had to reach for the Immodium. We were very careful. Nothing but bottled water. No salad or unpeeled fruit. Exercise great care about almost everything else – our hosts were particularly impressive in their care of us in this area. They constantly steered us away from risky foods. It’s a pity because so much of the food was beautiful.