Yes, I know, I should be ‘holy’ and call it ‘Godsmacked’, but that it is what it is. Anyway … I have a sabbatical early next year. (Can’t wait.) The Methodist Church is excellent in insisting her ministers take sabbaticals, but doesn’t provide massive funding for them. I had booked two courses: one at Lee Abbey on photography and creation, another back at Trinity College, Bristol, where they now teach the ordinands something about the relationship between personality type and ministry style. Both great courses.

But I had hoped to take another one. I wanted to sit in on a week’s residential at Cliff College to study alongside some of their MA students. I knew that would overstretch the official budget. When I have talked about the sabbatical, I have said that going to Cliff would depend on whether my accountant obtained a juicy tax rebate for me this year. On Friday, I received an email from Theresa Phillips, the postgraduate administrator at Cliff. Someone has paid for me to do the week. I am stunned by this sign of love. I am grateful to God, and to the person. I think I know who it is, but clearly s/he wants to remain officially anonymous, so i’ll keep it that way, with a letter for Theresa to forward onto the person.

I won’t get into all that ‘restores your faith in human nature’ nonsense, but the kindness of God through his people is a wonderful thing to behold and experience.


  1. Sally, Olive,

    Thanks for your kind comments. Sally – remind me nearer the time about Chris: parenthood has reduced the power of my memory! Olive, thank you: I can’t wait, especially after some incidents here in the last 24 hours that I can’t write about here.


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