For Tuesday's Tutor Group meeting, the final one of the year, we walked together down to the weir on the river Taff, north of the Cathedral, then called into the Black Lion for a drink before supper. Wednesday afternoon, I attended the College Eucharist celebrated by Helena Cermakova for last time. She is moving to Devon and stops being tutor as this year ends. We sang a setting of the Eucharist written and dedicated to Helena by student Sam Erlandson, formerly an organist at Bangor Cathedral. A nice finishing touch. Thursday morning early, it was my turn to celebrate the Eucharist for the Feast of the Visitation. That's my last duty for this academic year. Chris, one of the students in our group, soon to be ordained, led Morning Prayer beforehand.
I've been asked a few times this week if I'd be returning as a tutor to College after my six months in Europe. Certainly it's something the Principal and I have discussed. I've greatly enjoyed working with the students in our group. The problem I've had this year is that pastoral locum duties along with CBS office work have taken up much of my time. It's meant that I've not had sufficient time to devote to a satisfactory level of engagement - not so much with student demands, but with College community life. This seems to me an essential component of students' spiritual and social formation as ministers. Many things have happened that have passed me by, or to which I have felt marginal - so although the College seems to have been happy to have me on board, sometimes I've felt inadequate to the task.
Things will change by the time I return. CBS will be employing someone else to do the admin, so I'll be able to re-think my role and relation to its organisation. What the demand for locum clergy will look like in 2013 is anybody's guess. My interest in simply continuing to fill brief occasional gaps (no matter how enjoyable or interesting I have found that until now) will doubtless be shaped by the experience of doing a longer spell of duty in one place. Nothing stays the same indefinitely - that's for sure. St Michael's has changed for the better since I was a student there, and it will continue to change, being now much more responsive to the challenges its students face than it seems church leadership may sometimes be. I'd rather feel able to give more to the College in future, than feel less than adequate. Only time will tell if this is going to be possible.