Well, it appears that the hope of starting back quietly and easing myself in has been a pipedream. I’m shattered, and off to bed soon.

Did I plan it this way? No, of course not. But there are limits even to how far ministers can control their diaries. Yesterday, the car was due its annual MOT and service, so it seemed a good idea that my first weekday back would be one where I ploughed through all the emails, saved and/or printed minutes and documents that had been sent, noted meeting dates and so on.

Unfortunately, the garaged failed to ring and say the car was ready. Phoning them at 4 pm, I discovered one of the tyres had failed the MOT. It was 4:50 pm before they confirmed it would be OK for me to sort out the new tyre today. Thus, a rush job to pick up the car, a trip to the chippie for our dinner rather than a proper cooked meal, whizzing the children through bath and into bed, and out to a stewards’ meeting from which I didn’t return until nearly 11 pm.

Today: most of the morning with our lovely superintendent minister being briefed about happenings in my absence. Also, a discussion about ‘stationing’, because my appointment here currently runs out next year, and wheels have to be put in motion depending on whether there is a will on our part or the churches for us to stay. Then, the new tyres and back to the garage to get the MOT. A sandwich around 2:30 pm, then off to our Messy Church event, the date of which had been altered for unavoidable reasons while I was off. That also left us too late to cook a meal and get the kids to bed at their normal time, so we beetled up to Sainsbury’s café. Then back for their bath and bed routine, and rushing out for another stewards’ meeting at a different church. Thankfully, that didn’t end so late, but now it’s time for a quick supper drink and bed.

Tomorrow, I shall be hitting the M25 (perhaps in frustration?) as I make my annual slog pilgrimage to the Christian Resources Exhibition. I have various things to look out for on behalf of my churches: electronic music systems to replace organists we don’t have, kneelers and pulpit falls, etc. Hopefully I won’t succumb to any books. I’ve got too many waiting.

Then at least I don’t have an evening meeting. Debbie will be out at a circuit training event for pastoral visitors. I might finally begin to think about worship for this coming Sunday.


  1. Whew! Going back to an earlier discussion, this is the reason our District now recommends ministers to organise a few days holiday a few weeks after coming back. Whatever we’ve been doing on sabbatical, we haven’t been doing the 60-hours-plus that a normal week generally means, so even if nothing out of the ordinary takes place, the change of pace is a shock. And all you need is a crop of funerals, and things become impossible.

    I recommend you keep some notes about your experience of coming back over the next week or two, and write to your District Sabbaticals officer to share it. Perhaps what we do in this District needs to be official connexional policy.

    In the meantime – keep taking the tablets!


    1. Your suggestion of taking notes sounds like a good idea. Admittedly it was complicated by what happened to the car, and the two stewards’ meetings were in by design as ways of informing me what had been going on. Fortunately, next week’s operation will provide the rest soon after I’ve been back, due to the fortnight’s compulsory convalescence complete with no contact with large groups of people.

      BTW, I downloaded from my ‘worlk’ email address the document you sent. I found it useful, and have also shown it to a couple of others.

      I think things will only change if there is a connexional policy, though.


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