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The Betts family - Zoe, Joanna and Stewart - pictured just before they left the parish over a year ago. 

Exciting news for Stewart

It has now been over a year since our family left Melton Mowbray and moved into Cuddesdon and what a busy year it has been… Already we seem to find ourselves in September, Joanna is now in year 1 after loving her first year in the foundation stage. Zoe keeps herself busy and college does have a good ‘spouses’ network.

It is often said that 2 year ministerial training is split into 2 years (wow… fancy that), although this sounds rather preposterous it is actually incredibly accurate. The first year is spent settling down and the second preparing to leave. Well that pendulum has swung and it was a sudden occurrence. It is with great excitement that I can tell you that we will be moving to Ashby de la Zouch to serve our curacy and my ordination date is due to be the 1st of July 2018.

Ordination training is busy, one is taught so much, yet on the other hand there seems to be a myriad of things that you are not taught. Even the teaching has evolved, with an ever growing emphasis upon ‘Theological Reflection’ or TR. For somebody who is naturally reflective this can be fun but also time consuming with many reflective spirals floating around. A phrase that I often use is travelling with your back to the engine, moving forward looking back…  It is with great fondness and appreciation that we look back to our time in Melton where we learned so much and are grateful to God for the people and opportunities he gave us, we often remember the parish in our prayers.

Through reflecting, training, placements and experience there are many issues that seem to run underneath the surface boundaries and one of those is children in church. Churches seem to struggle and wrestle with this issue on a national scale.

A conversation with a visiting grandmother who learned I was studying and training for ordination also brought this subject to the fore. I cannot supply any answers just observations, travelling back to the engine I recall different occasions as a person exploring ministry who had a young child.

I call these reflections: ‘a view from the pew, by the culprit in the pulpit’. Bringing a child to church can be a daunting experience, I have seen this in the past year. The tense look on parents faces before entering the church (weddings and baptisms particularly) or the stern warning just outside the doorway.

The questions that arise are often unique to churches and individuals yet should be addressed. I remember many occasions in the parish where I received ‘help’ from Joanna, the time when she joined me at the lectern when I was praying and proceeded to grab the microphone is especially fresh in my mind. Several times in different churches she thought I might be lonely and joined me in my seat at the front and the look on her face when at Tiny Tots to illustrate the ascension I ‘disappeared’ is etched into my mind.

At Cuddesdon students are encouraged to robe when taking part in different services. On one of these robed times Joanna told me that I nearly look like a vicar now!! Joanna coined the phrase ‘church ties’, this was / is when I wear a shirt and tie when participating in a service. The church ties still get used to this day and even the slightest ‘tie’ people have with church can be encouraged. It is my hope we continue to think about how church can be a place of peace and worship for people of all ages.

 Best wishes to everyone

 Stewart, Zoe and Joanna. 

latest pix of stewart zoe and

A recent picture of Zoe, Joanna and Stewart.

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