I was glad to be home. And glad to have the Chrism Mass come round again. It’s my nineth – since it was one of the very first things after I came here. It reminds me …. that, having lost the ‘priest and people’ ministry that I had before, the heart of ministry for me is in the extraordinary nature of the bishop-priest relationship. It’s not always an easy relationship because it contains within it the internal tensions of the pastor/manager roles. But I think that before most things my job is to help clergy to have fulfilling and creative ministry.
We don’t do feet washing – I wish we did and an e mail from Rachel Mash in South Africa reminded me that pink basins are obligatoire for this. But we do washing and anointing and we bind ourselves again to the ministry to which we are called.
I’ve been much preoccupied this last year in thinking about how the priest can over-belong with his or her people. That sounds silly – but there has to be some space for leadership, challenge and all of that. I’m also ever more taken with St Benedict who reminds me that the abbot should strive to be loved and not feared – and tells us to ‘incline the ear of your heart’