Idealised country living?

Following writing on Britain from above, and listening to yesterdays Thinking Allowed I have been pondering on the question of vocational living in any one of these places, rural, semi-rural, urban, city etc.

There must be a vocational element to living in each of these, I’ve always been drawn to the rural setting, I don’t seem to be built for the city somehow…

However after the illuminating picture of Britain from above, and listening to reflections on rural living, perhaps the real challenge is to live in a more heavily populated area and work towards reducing the footprint away from the centre of that geographical area, keeping money and travelling local rather than spreading it across a larger area.  I think, rather than suggesting one lifestyle, (rural, urban etc is better than the other), the thing to focus on is locality.  Following the reflections on Thinking Allowed, it seems to rural has as much to learn about community from urban centres as the perhaps idyllic rural images people may have are either not true or created rather than natural.

Those who seek the urban ‘pretty gardens and perfect lawns’ need to see the real rural life which ocasionally contains a little mud on the road, or perhaps a chicken or two and the idillyc rural seekers need to learn about small communities needing the involvement of each individual and of a life lived more in the open.

So where does that leave to vocation to a rural setting?  Answers to that may be short, but certainly not closed.  It may take on an altogether different style of ministry from the traditional rural…

Last Wednesday


specifically relative recycling.

Relative to what? Well no not that sort of relative, your granny, and old dear of some description. Yes we were somehow discussing these issues, I think it began when we tried to out wierd the local vicar

You may think that we have spoken of this before, and you would be right, but this time it went all the way, right up to discussion of whether or not anyone would guess when discussing the issue

What we actually did today, (that was of some benefit, not just the faffing about!) was to discuss the ways in which a big organisation which raises funds and gets funding from various bodies, drags all the funding towards itself, uses the money in strange and wonderful schemes, some of which work, some not, then help out all the other charities and small organisations to get funding, but wait it’s all gone – to where?!!!

The afternoon was very pleasant, two villages one dead one alive, one with a dodgy graveyard, one with a million bookshops, (39 actually) oh and a rather nice deli, a number of posh boutiques and a rather good coffee shop!

The other village had pubs of strange reputation and was on a lorry route, due for a by-pass, but still on its last legs.

Such is rural life

The evening was spent rather pleasantly with our hosts, fine food, good wine and the best of company!

Last Sunday

I get picked up at 7.30am, driven like a rally to another car which then speeds off towards the first of the days parishes. Arriving about an hour early, (due to travelling logistics) I am greeted heartily by a large black Labrador, an indifferent cat and a jovial vicar. It is shortly after 8am – I have no concept of humour at this hour!

Both churches we are to go to are miles apart, and miles from where we are. However the journey is a short one due to the speed and relative skill the vicar pelts round the small one track roads

Most of the congregation are from the near vicinity he remarks as we slide to a halt outside a quaint, ancient church. It is hard to see how they could be from anywhere else other than the near vicinity, we have just driven up and down any number of rather steep hills, and it appears that only a few of the congregation are able to drive. Youth is not one of their characteristics

That said… everyone is pleased to see a new face, and to meet an ordinand, whatever that is. The worship is relaxed, and at a gentle pace, these people are not in a rush to be anywhere, neither do they mind whether a service begins at the appointed time.

At Llanafan in the afternoon the fragility of the community is evident as we arrive and are asked ‘Do either of you play the organ?’ The rest of the organisation for the service happens shortly after entering, not in a hurried or anxious way, but it is apparent that if there is music, prayers, liturgy even that is great, if not, perhaps there will be next week!