For most of the last several months I have been enjoying the luxury of sabbatical leave, a time for refreshment and re-creation that followed the conclusion of my last ministry setting centred on the Diocesan cathedral church. I recognise that this time is indeed a luxury, something that not too many people have access to, and I am extremely grateful to those who facilitated the possibility.
The fruits of my sabbatical leave have already been many as I have had the opportunity to reflect on the nature of ministry, how I approach ministry, and how I might wish to live out my ministry going forward. I have read many a delightful book to help that process, and I have had the precious gift of time to simply sit and be. There have been thoughts and reflections that will flourish only when I have returned, and there have been choices made as to what and how my life as a priest might manifest itself in the future.
Yet all good things must come to an and. As I approach the conclusion of my sabbatical leave – at the time of writing this I have two weeks of leave left – the question of what next is surfacing, not only by myself but also by those who have an interest in the answer to that question.
And the answer is…
From Monday 18 July 2022, I will take up an appointment to the twinned parishes of Dungog and Gresford.
The two parishes are in the hinterlands north of Maitland, about an hour’s drive from Newcastle itself, and represent a completely different setting of ministry to anything I have had the opportunity to experience before, and I am very much looking forward to the opportunities and challenges that the parishes and I will face together over the coming years.