reinventing the wheel

One of today’s tasks was to plan a set of prayer workshops that begin tomorrow in one of my congregations. Last minute as always. But I convinced myself that it was right to delay so that I could include a visiting ordinand in the planning process.

So, as darkness fell, I gave her a rough outline of where I was coming from and where I thought the congregation might be coming from, and we went our separate ways to think for 20 minutes, before comparing notes.

Despite the fact that this course has been in the diary for months, I have been struggling to know where to go with it. This is the fifth time I’ve done a course like this on prayer, and I keep hoping that one of these days I will be able to reuse, or at least adapt old material. But each time, I find that I can’t. Although the main goals are the same (encouraging and understanding and practice of prayer as relationship & being-with-God) the process is always different.

And for the first time, I simply didn’t know where to go. I’ve been dithering for weeks. When I sent the ordinand upstairs, I thought I was going to spend a very frustrating 20 minutes going in circles.

But not so. As soon as I picked up a pen and started writing down the obvious (‘prayer as relationship, talking/listening, do something practical, bridge unfamiliar with familiar) it all came pouring out. In ten minutes, I had a fully developed plan and rational for three sessions, including a detailed breakdown of approach and timing for the first week. It came so sure and fast, that I knew my intentions for open dialogue with the ordinand were shattered.

I went through the motions, of course. I listened to her many excellent ideas, and we considered various contexts in which they would be most helpful or most difficult. But by then I was sure that I knew what this congregation needed right now.

It’s reassuring to find that knowledge of a congregation is held in instinct even in moments when all feels adrift.

Now, let us just hope that tomorrow’s session proves me right, and I am not sent back to the drawing board. Instinct can be so beguiling.

10 thoughts on “reinventing the wheel

  1. Kimbeley,

    You are so correct[ as usual] in your comment about ” Knowledge held in instinct even at moments when all seems adrift”.

    Now here is a ‘project’ worthy of your considerable ability to explain to those who struggle in your ‘wake’ as to how to deal with and tap into the solution.

    I have to admit it is something I have had difficulties with over the years.

  2. Zebadee, I’m lost. Apart from recognizing the reference to Tim Gorringe in the second paragraph, I’m not sure what you are hoping I will explain.

    I will seek to be of service if I can figure it out…

    (and thank you for the new variant on my name. My own habitual favourite is ‘Kimerbly’)

  3. ‘Kimerbly’ sounds like a form of rhetoric. Well, it does to my addled brain. For example, you can have hyperbole, simile, and kimerbly.

  4. hmmm, suspect it’s as much nurture as nature….I fear that kimerbly is a particularly clerical figure of speech (though academics can definitely also be accused of over-using it) Indeed, perhaps you could have sub genres – kimerbly clericus and kimerbly academicus…..v. funny definition though, by the way :-). (On completely different topic, do let your avid readers know whether the Lewin shirts work out. I am a great believer in them.)

  5. Off to find Lewin shirts today (Wednesday).

    A whole day to myself that will not be reflected on and recorded by an ordinand. Hurrah.

    (I have sudden deep sympathy for what I must have put my poor training rector through.)

  6. Lewins shirts were promising, but the sleeves came down to my knees.

    Had a nice chat with the man about the fact that women’s arms do not grow in proportion to their shoulder/chest/other-problem-area-of-your-choice size. (indeed, if anything, they should do tall-skinny-lengthy-sleeved, and short-dumpy-shorter-sleeved, if a glance down Buchanan street is anything to go by.)

    We shall just leave aside the injustice that the same shop has variable sleeve lengths for men.

  7. I am disconsolate. 😦 Suspect shirt-fix may only occur following arm-extensions (for yourself…I obviously have longer arms…all that stretching for heresy). I hope that the rest of your day off was of a more encouraging mode.
    On a different point, must talk to you about your reflections as a training rector of ordinands for my research project….you at all interested in being interviewed?

  8. Vicky, I’m happy to talk about anything, but do you mean supervisor-of-ordinand-placement or training-rector-of-curate (the former being all I can offer)?

    In either case, the situation here is a bit odd in that the person’s geographic location means that it is a 10 day ‘residential’ placement rather than the several months of embedding in a parish that is more typical.

  9. it’s the former….and the wierd geographical thing is very useful…..I’ll email you with the project details.

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