Rectory notes August 2021 – Becoming our true selves
I sat down last week at a low table in Feniton school hall. Nervously yet excitedly, individual children showed me in turn a portfolio they had compiled. It contained their evidence of activities they’d completed: active citizenship in the school, citizenship in the community, an active hobby and a non-active hobby, adventure training and charity work. This was their assessment for the Torbay and Devon Civic Award, rather like a Primary school Duke of Edinburgh Award. Us adults, socially-distanced across the hall, were their assessors. The children were remarkable in what they’d done, especially in this pandemic year. They warmed to their themes and exuded delight. It was a joy to see their growth as young people.
Last night I was on Zoom with twenty-five adults starting out on a journey of training and study to become licensed church ministers. We were covering skills of academic study at university level. Many have not studied since school (many years ago for some!). They too are excited yet nervous. There will be some steep climbs ahead, but they will reach the summit.
The training job I have for the Church alongside my parish responsibilities, and which occupies half my week, overflows with the privilege of seeing people grow. Gifts blossom, hidden potential is discovered, vocations are realised. And what’s more, these flowering gifts are focussed on the wellbeing and service of others. We’ve just finished interviews for a lighter-touch one-year course. Every candidate brings a unique story and individual gifts and perspective. I tingle every time! This year joyfully four from these parishes will be doing the course.
Training over this past year has had to be remote. Like for many other people, Zoom has been the universe for students and staff alike. There’s a whole cohort of one-year students I’ve never met in the flesh. Yet God’s presence has transcended this. His Spirit, his inspiration, his drawing together of people in community has been no less. As has the growth.
So may we all – whether young or old – discover the learning, growth and encouragement that still lies ahead for us. A prayer (adapted from George Appleton):
Give me a candle of the Spirit, O God,
as I go down into the deeps of my being…
take me down to the wellspring of my life
and tell me my nature and my name.
give me freedom to grow,
that I may become that self,
the seed of which you planted in me at my making.
Rev David Carrington
Team Vicar of Escot, Feniton and Payhembury