Average sort of day today! Train to Edinburgh for the College of Bishops where we addressed an agenda which probably required two or three days. Train back to Leuchars for the Institution of David Wilson at St Andrews, St Andrews – a great day for the congregation. All sorts of excitements lie in wait.
Just like old times in Northern Ireland, one listens to the news to find out .. in this case about the impending strike at Grangemouth oil refinery and the threat that supplies of fuel will be affected for a month. I find myself pretty cynical about it all. Can’t see that the strike will achieve much – other than the loss of public sympathy. Management sound as if they are hyping the effects of it to put pressure on the workers. And what is the point of government saying, ‘Don’t panic buy’? If you live in a rural area, you have to move around and the car is all you have. So now we are in the situation where there is little fuel in the filling stations because it is all in the tanks of cars.
Father Carli may have attended one clergy meeting too many. But getting out of it by strapping himself to 1000 helium balloons may have been taking it too far – and cost him his life.
Ah – clergy stress. Now there’s a subject. Caused IMHO by lack of boundaries, lack of clear purpose and by the multiple, conflicting, incompatible and [best of all] undeclared expectations of their people. I had a bit in the middle of this week. I think I am still taken aback by the unfocused anger which lives inside the lay-clergy relationship. Never quite grasped what that is about.
Living (as retired) both in Surrey and Perth, your observation about Father Carli by extension made me think of two events involving two other ‘priests’ that happened in the last week of January this year. In Perth that week one of the local ministers — a lovely man — retired early from his charge on health grounds. The same week my own vicar in Surrey suddenly developed (on a plane, returning from his second lecture tour in the middle east in two months) what now appears to be a permanent headache (immediate hospitalistion, MRI scan etc). They both were/are ministers of large churches. I not infrequently interview clergy for my research (used by clergy trainers and theologians etc) and this was another moving, or well, slightly distubing coincidence: happening to two ministers the same week, 450 miles apart. Of course there is major stress on most workers today. But it would be churlish not to be concerned — a first thought is that we might have, say, a clergy appreciation Sunday or something?? Morale is often — in HR-speak — not ideal these days in this sector. And then there are the clergy children (not forgetting Gordon of course?!). Doing their homework on the corner of the kitchen table while father/mother is in the next room with a parishioner…
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