On such sweet sorrow

BVN Article

Wednesday 01 November


I’m rather surprised to find myself writing about leaving Braunston. I knew  that there would be a time of parting in the dimly foreseeable future because that is how vicaring works and I’ve been here nearly seven years but 6 weeks ago I had no idea that ‘the foreseeable future’ was lurking just round the corner waiting to jump out and shout “Boo!”

I love it here. I love being part of this community and sharing its highs and lows. I love that the church here makes a difference. I love dancing and singing and playing the fool with your children, joyfully blessing your marriages and just being here in Jesus’ name for the challenges and sorrows and fears of so many lives. I love that you have been kind and tolerant and have let me change things and experiment and build up Christ’s church here. I am truly grateful for all that. Thank you. This is a special place and I really don’t want to leave.

But I am called away. Called. Not dragged or kidnapped. I had a choice in the matter and I agreed to go because I can hear God in the call. No matter that I probably won’t be able to bounce off the walls in Peterborough Cathedral singing ‘Halle Halle Halle’ or cook microwave popcorn in the nave or hug everyone I meet.  I may occasionally have to behave with some decorum. Lord help us all!  But there is no doubt in my mind that there is a job to be done at the cathedral and that particular mission has my name on it. Not only did this job come knocking at my door unexpectedly but it has all happened very fast and every obstacle that should have made the whole idea impossible has melted away-a sure sign of vocation in my experience.  God’s mysterious ways and all that. Never more mysterious than when it comes to calling. However daunted I may feel by the strangeness of cathedral life and politics God is putting me there for a purpose and I trust him.

You won’t be vicarless for long. The search for a new one has already begun and I’m excited for church and village at the thought of someone coming in with fresh energy to build on what we have started together.

In the meantime  our time is not yet up and we must focus on the next seasons of Remembrance, Advent and Christmas. Come and help me do these well. By the way, my last hoorah at Braunston will be worship on Christmas Eve (Crib Service and “Midnight”) and Christmas morning when we shall celebrate together the birth of Jesus and the breaking through of heaven into earth, which is what this whole church business is all about. I’d love to see you there.

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