The View from the (Vacant) Rectory - January 2020
The timing of the preparation and printing of this magazine dictated that these words had to be written in the last few days of November and the first few of December. This is always a very busy time as we move towards Christmas, but is especially so in 2019 as we prepare for one of the most momentous General Elections in recent times, during which the word "candidate" has figured on countless occasions.
Of course, this will all be over by the time you read these words, but this has been a particularly busy and active time for us here at St Guthlac's too. A few days ago, several parishioners took part in a "meet and greet" session when we welcomed to our town the four priests who were due to be interviewed at the beginning of December as candidates for the vacant post of Rector of Market Deeping. This too will be ancient history by the time you read these words, but it was nonetheless a very interesting and revealing experience to talk to these four dedicated priests and attempt to answer their many and varied questions about our church and parish.
But even that was not all that was happening as November glided into December. For some time, three of us, led by Nigel, have been involved in leading confirmation classes, preparing a number of candidates (that word again!) for confirmation, and that busy November/December period saw the last of those classes.
This too has been an interesting and revealing experience, as we watched both youngsters and adults grow in the faith into which they are to be confirmed by the Bishop of Grantham at Candlemas, early in February. This is a particularly appropriate time for a confirmation service, for Candlemas is the Feast of the Presentation, when our Lord, Jesus Christ himself was presented in the Temple.
But it was not just the candidates who grew in faith and understanding as a result of these confirmation classes; those of us involved in the preparation felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as we joined in the discussions and tried to shape them. Essentially, the classes themselves formed part of a journey towards greater faith and greater understanding for all of us. But we should remember that each of these involvements and experiences - a General Election, the search for a new Rector, confirmation preparation - all of these and so much more form part of a much longer journey for every one of us: the journey of life. For we are all candidates - candidates for the fullness of life with God, and only through following Him in all our experiences and relationships will we become successful candidates.