This is the busiest time for many clergy, particularly those who have several churches under their wing. Everyone expects a service in their own church and many people do not want to travel - and this year it is made worse by the treacherous conditions of our pavements and roads. Spare a thought for the clergy who will be travelling between churches trying not to appear rude as they rush off to their next service even before most people's after service coffee has been poured. The Curate and I know of several clergy in this situation - with rural mission communities growing larger. The mission churches can be separated by some distance - and even if the distances are not great, the route is often along narrow, winding lanes . The narrow country roads do not lend themselves to speeding - even when there is no ice on the roads.
But there is no getting away from it - this is an exciting time. The Curate has a relatively quiet time compared to other curates that he trained with. Other than the sermon at the midnight service, his main service on Christmas day will be in a village hall where there is a very small congregation -and sometimes no congregation. He is not sure what to expect. How many people will venture out in this icy weather? Will others prefer to join a larger congregation down the road at the larger church? I am going to walk up the village church in the village where we live and maybe The Curate will join me there when he has finished. Not living in the parish where The Curate is attached has its disadvantages and advantages. I suppose I never feel I belong anywhere especially as I am only living on the North Coast part time. It reminds me of the times of being a Forces wife and the need to just get on with life however lonely and disconnected you are feeling. My thoughts and prayers are with all those families who are apart at this festive time.
Telephone has just rung and it is The Boss (Vicar) to say neighbouring vicar has lost his voice - The Curate has won the whole of the midnight service. The readers have flu so I have won the reading. In at the deep end.
Telephone has just rung and it is the possible New Boss to arrange a meeting with The Curate to discuss the option of moving to his parish - nearer where I work.
It's all go today - The Curate is now embedded in his study for the day.