Hiyah everybody. It has been a while.
Life here in England has been busy but good since I last wrote in the dreary days of February. We’ve played host and tour guide to much of our family–Diane’s parents in May, Mom and John in June, and Dad in July–and are getting set for our holiday in Cornwall at the little seaside village of Boscastle, just a few miles walk along the cliffs from Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur.
I can’t make any promises about the blog (though, I promised my mother I’d try to post to it at least occasionally) as life will get very busy soon.
First, a short update on what has happened since I last posted.
1. Both of the conferences I attended went very well. My paper on liturgical consumerism was well-received and again I found people drawn to my thoughts about the failure of the church (or anyone else for that matter) to confront the dehumanizing affects of consumerism. My Anselm paper was also well-received. That paper will definitely be published as a chapter in a book on the legacy of Anselm. I had immense fun at that conference and had the opportunity to meet however briefly the much beleaguered Archbishop of Canterbury.
2. The dissertation goes very well. I am now nearly a 100 pages into writing the first, and every rough draft. I hope to have another twenty or so completed by the early September. This puts me well ahead in the game (though I’m behind in my languages), which I where I wanted to be by this time.
3. Paul finished his first year in an English school with glowing reports in all subjects. He’s grown both physically and emotionally a great deal in the past year. The last few months has also reminded us how blessed he is in his relationships with his grandparents. He is a much loved child. Diane has been promoted at work and, as my father remarked, continues to bloom in England.
4. Finally, last week I was finally received into the Church of England. It has been a long process to get here, but once we got through the log-jam of Lambeth, everything has proceeded quickly. The services occurred in the Bishop’s private chapel in Auckland Castle and in St Peter’s Chapel at Auckland Castle (pictured here) on two consecutive days. After a year, it felt rather strange to be in robes again! The service was lovely and it was kind of the Bishop to make sure it all happened before my father returned to the States. Now that I’m a Church of England vicar I can give license to all my eccentricities!
First, our holiday and 10 days of relaxing with my wife and son. When I return, I’ll hit the ground running, as they say. I’ll meet with a local vicar about becoming his assisting, ‘house for duty’ priest. The poor man has been looking after four churches by himself. The diocese will provide us with a home in exchange for my assisting on Sundays and doing two days of parish work. I’m looking forward to being in the saddle again, as I’ve missed both the altar and the pulpit (I know, my former parishioners, I never used a pulpit at All Saints, but allow me a little poetic license!) and have felt the absence of both in my theological studies. It’ll be good for me to be grounded by the residence of former mining communities.
Besides assisting in the parish, I’ll also teach Anglicanism to undergraduates at Cranmer Hall theological college at Durham. This was an unexpected development, but one that excites me greatly. The course only last through the autumn, but meets once a week for two hours. On top of that, I’ll lead one or two seminars in medieval history in the history department and a third seminar in medieval and reformation Church history in the theology department.
Of course, I’ll still need to work hard on my PhD dissertation, attend conferences, and work my Anselm paper up for publication.
So, there it is. We are just 10 days short of our first anniversary in England. I think it’s safe to say that our life here is beginning to take shape. Hopefully, in the midst of everything, I can find the time to keep you better updated and provide you with more pictures from our travels.
Until next time, cheers!