A week lurching from thing to disconnected thing – but with a thread of ‘stories’. It started with meeting Methodists engaged in faith formation and encouragment and talking with them about how one story of growth is worth a whole lecture on mission. Hearing about what other people have done tickles the imagination, so you don’t copy them, but find your own ways to do something. How do we preserve and share these stories? Maybe a web-bank?
Then, a day of being trained: in supervising placements and in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups. It could be dry stuff, but there were interesting cases to dissect and complicated scenarios to ponder. The ‘PVG’ guide is a model of ‘worked examples’ which pick their way alphabetically and precisely through the definition of what is ‘regulated work’ (needing CRB checks) like a deer crossing a bog: “K: Keep Fit Class: Kathy and Kevin teach a keep fit class at St Kentigern’s, This is a church group that is attended mainly by adults, but children occasionally attend. Depiste the fact that some children may attend classes, teaching of them is incidental to the teaching of the public in general, and so Kathy and Kevin are not doing regulated work. ” Amazing stuff.
And then to the induction of a new minister for St Columba’s Church of Scotland in Stirling, where his welcomers vied to tell the best story. ‘There was this old lady who wanted the new minister to cure her cow …’ ‘Four ministers in the town got together to repent of their sins …’ ‘We were playing Trivial Pursuit with your new minister in Crieff Hydro …’ and so on. The stories were entertaining, but they were also the currency by which we shared, and built new friendship.
And finally, the best stories of all – in dreams. I dreamt that that I was going on holiday for a week and was trying to fit everything into a suitcase that was about 30 cm square. Sort of the story of my life, if you take the suitcase as the week itself.