Today I'm back at our National Settlement Team & Team Leaders - 3 days we share together most months. The best thing is, as ever, meeting up with a group of colleagues and friends. It's a great group to be a part of - I recognise it's a rich privilege to be part of a meaningful team of colleagues and I'm often conscious it's one of those privileges most people in paid Ministry don't enjoy. For me that's rather tragic - I owe so much to the benefits it provides and confess it's something I've always had, in different forms, since working within the Church. Why, therefore, do too many ministry colleagues seem to isolate themselves and leave themselves vulnerable? Having waded through a lengthy piece of research examining the casualties of Christian Ministry, I'm well aware this involves a complex response. However, wrapped up with this is something about who we are, or who we think we are maybe? It does strike me (and this settlement team is providing additional ammunition for this hunch) far too much of how we're set up as Churches, and wired up as Ministers, revolves around 'our performance' and similar. Correspondingly, this seems to be strongly aligned to the attractional model of Church increasingly being referred to. The day started by dropping Emily at the train station for yet another day in London - I can't get used to my entrepreneurial daughter. I just hope today works out better than last week - she went on the coach, but due to the M4 being closed, ended up 3.5 hours late!
On a lighter note, and call me weird if you wish, I tend to rank journeys in buzzard sightings. Driving around the wonderful countryside of Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Somerset, Buzzards are a regular feature of my life and add value to most days (for me at least). A 3 or 4 buzzard journey is good one. However, since the re-introduction of Red Kites in the Chilterns a few years ago I increasingly spot one or two on my visits to Didcot. These, for the uninitiated. are absolutely fabulous birds to watch and, for someone like me, really make a two hour drive worth-while. Just one today means I'm glad to be at Baptist House!