What we didn’t discuss

I had my appraisal today.  Since it’s becoming the norm for clergy to have some form of appraisal or ministerial review, it’s important for me to do the same.  Why important?  Because however much clergy move towards the world of Job Descriptions, etc., there is so much of ministry which has to be worked out as you go along – so much that is creative, self-starting – so much that is rooted in personal make-up and talents as well as defined by task – so much space for the development of obsession, neurosis and the ability to go quietly and decently mad.

Anyway within the privacy of the blog, I can tell you that we didn’t discuss: the length of my sermons; any of the criteria for bishops set out by the Papal Nuncio and recorded by the Irish Times just after Easter – physical appearance, hereditary diseases, love of celibacy, affection for convential ecclesiastical attire.  Nor did we discuss that set of concerns about busyness which I have mentioned before and which is, I think, attributable to the late Robert Runcie.  That is the difference between being obviously busy/not obviously busy/obviously not busy.

But in the unsuccessful attempt to find where that quote came from, I discovered that the late Tom Driberg – Labour MP, gay man, spy – used to put together obscene crosswords for Private Eye with clues like enema and erection.  One of the winners was recorded as Mrs Rosalind Runcie – a remarkable lady who stayed with us once when she was giving a charity concert in Portadown.