A letter from the Vicarage - Rev'd Andy Stand
I don’t know about you, but for me, in a job where no two days are necessarily the same, trying to find and establish a rhythm and pattern to my days and weeks is very important This allows me to make space and time during my day for stillness and prayer.
One of the disciplines of clergy life, is the regular pattern of prayer that surrounds each day, usually with some form of prayer in the morning, some form of prayer at tea time, and maybe even some form of prayer just as one is going to bed (though in my case that is severely hampered by an inability to keep my eyes open, or if they’re closed in prayer then stopping myself from falling asleep!).
Some of you will be aware that the pattern of my week is changing. My wife, Chris, has recently started a new job, working two and a half days each week. The patterns of my days have therefore had to change to adapt to this. No longer is my day formed solely around the framework of my prayer times (which are loosely shaped to be before mealtimes), but now is formed also around the school runs, most mornings and some evenings!
I continue to reflect upon what these changes mean for me and how to adapt my daily pattern to cope with them, and to allow me to make the most of each day as it comes.
They will change again at the beginning of the month. After Rob is licensed as Team Vicar to Ronkswood, then he and I plan to meet together, most mornings (Tuesday to Friday) at 9 a.m. to say Morning Prayer together in Whittington church. If you are able to, then please feel free to join us. Meanwhile, Morning Prayer continues at St. Martin’s in the established pattern of Monday to Thursday, beginning at 7.45 a.m. Again, if anyone is interested and finds that, a more convenient time, then why not join Robin Parry, Mike Bunclark, and Peter Grimwood there for that service?
Of course, any such pattern, be it of regular prayer, or the pattern to my day, while needing to be fixed enough to count as a pattern, also needs to remain flexible enough to allow me to respond to needs as and when they arise: be they pastoral needs of Parishioners, the urgent piece of work that may come along, or the challenges that family life can throw at you from time to time.
Again, some of you will be aware that we have been praying for my Mum recently: Maureen Stand. She had a spell, of four or five weeks in hospital recently, and although she is now home again, it is necessary for us to make more frequent visits to see her and care for her. And of course … that means further disruption to the previously established pattern for my day!
I wonder whether you have ever thought about the pattern of your days,weeks and months? Do you maybe begin your day with a regular ‘quiet time’ for prayer and bible reading? Do you find yourself something out of kilter, if your daily pattern and routine is disturbed by other events?
I have always found in the past that a regular time for prayer, sometime in the day (mornings work best for most people, I guess, but whatever suits …), is a valued discipline when times are maybe not so easy, and when otherwise, things would come and crowd out my prayer times, such that I might forget that God journeys with us through our days, and weeks and months, and that it needn’t feel like we journey alone.
Do pray for us as we try to establish our new patterns, and let us know i there is anything you wish to remember in our daily prayer times.
Every blessing, Andy.
Revd. Andy Stand