Once I stopped laughing at the offer to take up the role of Church Warden, I mean was the Rector bonkers? Did he really think I could be THAT grown up? Apparently he did.
So off I went to think and pray about it.
I googled “What does a Church Warden actually DO?” and promptly scared the living day light out of myself.
So I rang the previous vicar and asked for his advice. Suffice to say he wasn’t very enthusiastic and shed quite a lot of doubt on my ability, my commitment and if I was a strong enough Christian……. WELL that just annoyed me and after a further few days of prayer and silent ranting…. I said yes.
For the official bit I had to go to Rye to the lovely St Mary’s. Taken by the previous warden, to make sure I went, I was welcomed by the Archdeacon in, some very grand surroundings and if I am honest was rather emotional at the thought of following in the footsteps of generations of Christians all doing our bit to promote the word of God.
On the way back my predecessor filled me in on some of the “extras” and the village politics that everyone had failed to mention……..what had I done???
But as the weeks turned into months turned into years I discovered that I knew more than I thought I did. And while I may not do everything in the traditional ways our church had always done things, I could persuade even the most traditional of our flock to bend a little and even embrace new ideas.
I was encouraged to lead a very active role taking responsibility for prayers, reading and leading small services. Slowly my doubts were replaced by confidence and I was no longer afraid to jump into conversation about being a Christian but tried always to lead by example stepping out into the village with confidence that the church plays a vital role in village life and really needs to be part of the village not a stand alone historical building.
When our beloved Rector announced to the full church he was ill and would be taking time to have some treatment, I saw with my own eyes (as did everyone) pure unadulterated faith. It was bursting out of him, exploding into the congregation, that he had faith in God to bring him and his family safely through this dark time. In his own quiet modest way, I suddenly saw such a confidence and declaration of faith I was humbled. Never did he show any fear, although I am sure there must have been times where he had doubts and worries.
If ever there was a sign of God’s love in action it was the way, we as a church community pulled together and rallied round to keep the status quo, to even grow a little in his absence and to make sure he had a vibrant church to come home to.
And he did and we rejoiced and slowly we returned to normal and that was where I hit my personal brick wall.
I think I had just done too much for too long in addition to being a Mum and working full time in a demanding but enjoyable job. The cracks were starting to show and I started to take a few things very personally.
It was time to step away and spend a bit more time being me and to find time for me to worship without the pressure of sorting, leading, being.
Simples! Or so I thought……..