I've been in my current post for a little over 10 years and although I realise that this part of Salford has changed a lot in that time I forget just how much. I've dug out some photos from early 2005 that I took from the tower of Sacred Trinity Church and taken the same view today to compare. The changes are striking.
Looking towards Victoria Station
St Philip's Church tower was there, then it wasn't!
This year it is 25 years since I was ordained priest and I have
been in active ministry ever since. I held a little gathering recently and reflected on what I have learnt in 25 years. It
largely isn’t great.
I have learned that I have not got any
better at what I do but I have learned to cope with my failings, perhaps a
I have learned that however often I tidy my
office at home it will always get messy again.
I have learned that even if I write
reminders in my diary I always prepare at the very last minute
I have learned that I forget a lot of
things and my memory is not getting any better. I meet people in Sainsbury’s
and know I know them but can’t remember their name. Often I remember just after
I sometimes forget to turn up to meetings
but not very often.
I have learned that our buildings are a
blessing and a curse – I love showing people round, I love the “wow”, I love
being able to go on the roof at St Phil’s… I don’t love the constant feeling
that I need to work on a funding bid and having to unblock the toilets and put
the chairs away and I know it shouldn’t always rely on me but when I’m the one
who is here and the toilet is blocked right now, I unblock the toilet!
I count it a privilege to be with people at
profound moments in their life. To be with people as they die and to visit a
I still sometimes cry after a funeral and
occasionally during it. I still love doing weddings and am immensely grateful
for my own marriage. I love doing baptisms in all the crazy ways they come to
us, the gorgeous little babies, the screaming babies, the toddlers who don’t
co-operate, the youngsters who ask big questions, the adults who really commit
and the adults who aren’t sure but want to be baptized.
I have learned that it is usually good to
say yes and usually bad to say no but sometimes I should really have said no.
Perhaps it is okay to say no to doing a wedding on Christmas day! But I hope
that I always remember the primacy of Love. I believe in a God of love who is
at the heart of everything and calls us to love. I have grown to love the
community I find myself in and its people. Yes I sometimes get annoyed but I
try to remember to love people and usually the more you get to know them the
more you love them.
So thank you for putting up with me. I am
constantly in need of your forgiveness and the forgiveness of God but despite
my own failings I have loved doing what I do. I pray that sometimes God has
been at work in me and that somehow together we make the love of God a little