Well a quick update about my life before I continue and just in case you are interested.
I have moved out of my curacy (training post) and am in my first incumbency, as a Team Vicar in the Great Yarmouth Team Ministry.
And I love this town already, with its amazing history and its windmills and its busy, scruffy bits and its medieval walls and chip stalls. But it is also a stranger place than I’ve lived before… it has attitudes of urban gloom, but a seaside position surrounded by farmland. It has an enormously diverse and young population… and it has events such as an annual Circus Festival, and a Maritime Festival… but it has a kind of self-deprecating attitude that makes no sense.
It is according to much analysis a town without aspirations, where young people find it hard to bother… as their parents before them. And where mums are young and single, because perhaps they hoped to find in a baby, the love they felt lacking elsewhere. There are a couple of parks, but actually very few gardens and people often live in very tiny homes. And although it is full of high tech industries, the inhabitants are far less technologically connected than many of their generation. There is a strange mix of shortsightedness and stolid cheerfulness; of plodding on and of shooting for the stars… is it a town of dreamers? Perhaps.
I feel very called to be here. I felt it about every aspect of the post, which includes an extra educational remit as well as the usual priestly duties; I was excited by the sense in which the diverse community, confused spiritual identity and fishing history reminded me of the ancient Corinth of Paul’s letters in the Bible. And I was convinced that I could bring HOPE to the role and to the place… and I still think I can.
But I wonder HOW one is to gradually bring hope to a place that is in so many ways disconnected, in which the children are often wiser than their parents, and parents less responsible than their kids. In which the aim of education is still in many places to form productive human animals, and yet the end result is sometimes distorted human dreamers who were never fed or grown in the ways that might have lead them to flourish, and are now content to slip into a cycle of dependence. I don’t speak of everybody… but more by far than average.
I don’t know if I will make any difference, but I feel like it will take a long time if I do. I hope my hope lasts please God…