Today my wife Ruth went to different churches. She headed for the big Church above (Wells Cathedral) where she is the ordaining Bishop to many new ordinands and I headed for our local church, St Thomas’s. Ruth will be asking for God’s blessing on this year’s newly trained deacons, many of whom have been training at the college I serve (Trinity College, Bristol). I am keeping a low profile as I said my official goodbyes to my final year students back in May as I sailed off from Bristol, and I fear that to suddenly re-appear as I pause from the voyage, would confuse things.
So I went ‘incognito’ to St Thomas Church.
In the St Thomas Weekly News they had a full page article from Ruth starting, ‘I am home alone whilst my husband Howard is sailing round the coast of Britain in the footsteps (or should that be the wake?) of the Celtic saints’. The next page had a full page reprinting one of our recent blogs. On the way out, Father Tobie Osmond wanted all the news. These folk are praying for us amidst the business of ordinations and parish life. I feel hugely grateful, if a little fraudulent.
I am left reflecting on how the Celtic saints made the early journeys before our cathedrals were ever built and when bishops were missionary travellers in the boats, commissioned to set up new communities of faith. I pray that the newly ordained deacons and priests this year will have adventurous spirits and will be those who find new areas where faith communities can take root. May they do so in such a way as energises the institution that worships in cathedrals and in parish churches and in a way that finds fresh expressions of faith and worship.