Sunday, 7 August 2011

Settling in with 'Positivity' !

A lot of rain and a little sunshine can make all the difference.

It's twelve weeks into the second half of The Curate's curacy and we are both still learning so much about this new parish. It is very different from where we were before and it does rain a lot! I thought I had reached the point where I could settle in as The Curate's wife more easily, having struggled in our last parish to come to terms with our situation. I know I want to be beside The Curate - but in what role? I am trying to practise positivity which (according to Jane Fonda in The Mail on Sunday today) is 

"an attitude, a way to approach life; it is expressed through humour, gratitude, forgiveness, playfulness, creativeness and adaptability."

In many ways I wish The Curate had given up his old life sooner and gone to college for his training. In that way I would have met others in a similar situation to myself and I would have had some introduction to this way of life. There are things that I have trouble figuring out. Here are a few of them:-

* Do I have to have a 'ministry'? Even on a positive day - I don't feel called to youth work, coffee making, flower rotas, prayer ministry  - is this my lack of church experience? (I do see a need to support The Curate - both practically and as 'a sounding board'.)

* Do I have to belong to a house group? It can be awkward when conversations turn to church management - as so often can happen in small groups.

* Do I go to church on my own - and risk sitting in the pew on my own for a few weeks - or do I follow The Curate when he is going to the other churches in the mission community and so become known to the other congregations ( even if it is only as 'The curate's wife)?

* Do I volunteer for the coffee rota and then find that I am unable to go with The Curate to the other churches ( one of which has been very welcoming)?

* How do we manage a social life together when The Curate feels church initiated social situations are 'work' and I see him doing a lot of listening but not really relaxing?

* Not having young children is a distinct disadvantage. I know how much easier it was to get to know others in our old village just by standing at the school gate or meeting in the park. There are no casual meeting places here so where do I start? ( I'm doing the gym - but we are all so puffed - no one speaks!!)

This is a positive blog - and these are just thoughts and I will return to them in a few months to see how things have changed. Perhaps you may have experienced similar as you settle into new homes. Am I just too impatient? 


  1. I've just stumbled across your blog and am very pleased to have done so! Looking forward to hearing how it all goes over the next few months!

    Moving home is so hard and I think it just takes time to find your place in a new comminity - it's tough meanwhile though. The most important thing I think is to carve out your own niche using your passions and giftings. I often feel like the oddball in church but try to remind myself that I only have myself to offer and if that's a little different to the norm then great! Diversity makes us richer and helps the rest of the world to see that the church doesn't have to be a one size fits all kind of place.

    I do hope you meet some like minded people up there though. Friends are so important for the journey. I'll pray for that!

  2. Hello Nichola - Glad that you stumbled here. If you have looked at my previous blog - I have struggled in this new life of ours. Lack of preparation and lack of discussion about how my husband's ordination would affect our life was short sighted of us - and maybe of his training. The result has been this blogging to blow a bit of steam and make sense of the changes. The only meeting I was invited to, was with partners talking about how it was for them - and it was all wonderful - they all seemed in awe of their partners. No one seemed to have the anger and frustration I felt.It's strange because I find there seems to be expectations of 'wives of' that doesn't apply to 'husbands of' the clergy. Yet I have met other partners who will say nothing for fear of it affecting partners' work. This is not the case I have found - there is a need to be honest when things are not working.

  3. Hi there,
    Ideas--No, you don't need to have a ministry, unless God gives you one. Take time to settle then before you volunteer for something your heart and spirit (or the Spirit) leads you to.
    I hope you find the right house group--great place for friendships. Take your time joining one. Can be awkward to leave, I'd imagine, if the curate is on staff.
    3) Just depends on how strong your need to find friends is. If the home church is not promising, you might find a kindred spirit in another church. If the home church has lots of friendly faces on the other hand...
    4) Don't volunteer for the coffee rota right yet. Easy to volunteer later, but hard to volunteer.
    Say I, who have just moved churches, and am proceeding slowly and circumspectly!!

  4. Hi Anita, Your comments are quite reassuring - my gut feeling is 'tread slowly'. Like you say - it is difficult to reverse choice of house group. I find I am inhibited by being married to one of the 'staff'! It's such a strange situation - something I hadn't thought about - finding a place in a new church - on my own. House groups seem a bit daunting at the moment - and no real invitations to join any. I'll be interested to hear how you proceed!

  5. Only just read this bit of the blog ,am catching up on reading now that the children are back at High School.
    You are right, take it slowly. You will be invited to a lot of things,and it is best to be choosy! You can't be everywhere. Anita is correct God will give you a ministry in his own time.( Although being a clergy wife is a ministry of it's own) The worst thing is when people keep asking you what you are "going to do". I just said I was getting to know folk first. I travelled around the different churches with the Rev. I have my favourites,where I feel at home, but I make an effort to go to the ones I don't like and get to know people. Mainly becaue I try to give the "boss" moral support. It's not an easy role but you seem to be doing very well!

  6. Thanks for the encouragement. I keep telling The Curate he has to go back to the churches where he doesn't feel comfortable - and I guess that means I must go too. I'd rather go with him as it means we can chat about events. i think I have accepted that we are only here for a short while so I may not 'have my feet under the table' with some of the churches before we have to leave. I do like the rural churches.

  7. Sorry I'm late coming to this, H - busy catching up with my blog backlog :-)

    I agree you should take your time deciding where you fit and what you should perhaps be getting involved with. It's so easy to join something and so much harder to withdraw if it isn't right for you and them.

    You're right - there are lots of preconceptions attached to the role of clergy wife which don't get applied to clergy husbands (as yet). It's a bit easier for the curate's wife as you are both temporary, but it will give you a chance to work out your approach come the day The curate moves to his first incumbency.

    My gut feeling is that since you won't be there very long, it might well be best for you to go round with The Curate to the different churches in the benefice (how many are there?) If you get to know them all, it will be easier for you to act as a sounding-board if he needs one.

    In addition, the outlying churches in a rural benefice can often feel rather left-out of things unless the clergy are very careful, so your regular presence at their worship would probably be very well-received and much appreciated.

    Good luck with working it all out.

  8. Hi Perpetua Thank you for your thoughts - I think I am inclined to agree with you - the time factor is becoming very clear and I keep thinking we will be moving on very quickly. I think it is making me reluctant to get really stuck in and our rural church really does feel a bit on its own. we have tried to get to their summer fetes and other social gatherings and become more familiar with them.All I can really say about sounding-boards is....they are much needed here!