It's been a funny week for thinking. As part of the whole seeking after the future thing I have spent a good chunk of time this week visiting a parish and being interviewed to see if becoming Team Rector there is the thing for me. It isn't.
Why funny then? Well I sneaked into church at this place last Sunday and found myself strangely moved by its worship, spoken to directly by a sermon and encouraged that my pursuing this possibility was the right thing. I looked forward to my visit.
My two day visit (Wednesday afternoon/evening and Thursday morning) consisted of me and the other candidate for the job finding things out, touring round the church, the town and the Rectory and meeting a few people in situations that were described as 'not interviews' and then a social do with the PCC and local Head Teachers. Throughout this day I never really felt at home and the hospitality, though occasionally polite, never really gave the idea that people knew, instinctively, how to be nice to strangers.
During this time it became pretty clear that the place had few redeeming features which might form an oasis in a busy life, the Rectory was ghastly (why were our building skills in 1985 worse than in the 14th century?), co-workers were leaving and wardens were planning to stand down. There were so many under-the-surface issues that people who had been told not to ask me questions about asked me questions about (including a prodding and poking whilst I was eating) that I had decided after a sleepless night not to proceed short of a miracle of the 'This is my Rector; he is the one' voice from the sky. No such voice emanated from the sky or anywhere else.
This made the interviews a tad tricky and I did seriously consider not turning up for them. Two interviews both began with the 'Are you still a candidate' question the answer to which I tried to do politely but more or less said it would take a miracle but I promised to think seriously if offered. The two interviews had a huge amount of duplication of questions.
I feel sad for two or three genuinely nice people I would have loved to work with and one fantastic church building, tastefully modernised inside that would have been nice to work from.
Sample dialogue from interview:
What do you think of team?
Do you mean the staff team, the team of church leaders or team-work generally?
The team ministry.
Well I understand there are some issues and I will look forward to listening, reading and finding out more.
(Chairman asks questioner if more is needed)
Do you think it should be a team?
Well it is a team but I would be stupid to say anything else about its future until I've spoken to the other ministers in the deanery and done lots of listening.
Would you fight heart and soul to keep it together?
I don't know what, if anything, I will be fighting heart and soul for until I understand it properly.
Well I can't put it clearer than that.
Last night I received a call not offering me the job and hinting that the other candidate may be taking it. Result.
Today I will be mostly seeking after space for me. The head-clearing possibilities of beer are beckoning.