15 years ago today
Today 15 years ago Bishop John Austin of Aston presided over my first service here at St. Mary's Church, Pype Hayes.We, Erin and Meself had no great plans but believed God had directed or whispered to others to guide us here. Daniel and Ruth our children came willingly, well Ruth almost willingly,we sent them to the local schools. At 10 years old Ruth went to the school down the road on the estate at that time was in special measures. Daniel 13 years old went to the local Roman Catholic school. During the last 15 years we have never doubted that we are in the right placed but there have been some very dark and painful times and possibly as many joyful life giving times. Although im not sure of the balance. When I meet strangers they ask how long have I been here and I tell them, they look surprised or a well disguised disappointment. There response at times prods me to ask“have I stayed too long?” Im not sure how to answer that, I came on a 7 year licence and we thought we should not move until Ruth had finished school as she had been to a number of schools because of Gods call upon us. But 15 going on 16years! After 11 years a clergy person once said to me “Nigel they will have no vision and no imagination on your file”. My response was to say I would rather see it more like a commitment to urban mission and my people. So 15 going on 16 years I am unsure if have stayed too long, I don’t know how to measure or judge. I came to a poor insignificant parish I am still the servant of a poor insignificant parish nothing much has changed. I suppose I live in hope something of the Kingdom of God has been lived out by all of us in the parish.