It is the time of year when many plan changes to their lives. Some of these changes maybe small and others much more significant. We call changes at this time of year, ‘New Year’s Resolutions’.
It is a well-known fact that many of the ‘smaller’ changes are often doomed to fail before they even begin. Why is that often the case I wonder? Perhaps it is because the very nature of a New Year’s Resolution frequently is a change that has not really been planned, a spur of the moment thing fuelled, perhaps, by much rich food and free flowing alcohol.
Genuine change and/or larger changes such as moving house or job tend not to fall by the wayside as these are the sorts of changes that take much time, planning and effort so much so that we tend to see them through.
Many of you will be aware by now that there is to be a significant change in the way that I exercise my ministry. From January my role will be changing from that of a Team Vicar to the Reepham & Wensum Valley Benefice to the Chaplain to the 4 High Schools of the Synergy Multi-Academy Trust (M.A.T). This ministry has grown out of my chaplaincy role to Reepham High School & College. In addition to being
their chaplain I will now expand that role to include Sheringham High School & Sixth Form College, Stalham High School and Litcham High School.
In short, I will head up a chaplaincy team to some 3000 teenagers and circa 400 staff, the vast majority of whom are largely absent from our churches.
I will remain a ‘House for Duty’ priest for the benefice, meaning that I will still be around on Sundays.
This particular part of my continuing vocational journey has been in the planning, behind the scenes, for some 2 years, but, looking back (and looking back is often the best way to see God at work) it has been on my heart ever since we held a first ever ‘Soul/Prayer Space’ at Reepham High School in the autumn of 2019, where I came across the following prayer written by a High School pupil.
‘Thank you, God, for my having an amazing family.
But God help me, what do I do?
Me and my best friend are lost!’
That heartfelt prayer moves and continues to move me. Our young people are lost for a host of reasons, some of them extremely harrowing and complex.
That prayer tugged at my heartstrings and that is so often where God calls – to our heart before and even instead of our head.