Extended Study Leave

The following article appeared at the front of the Codsall Parish magazine in August 2011

Seven occurs quite frequently in the bible. It occurs first during the story of creation when God spent six days working at the world we sometimes take for granted – he saw all that he had made on each day and reckoned that it was very good. “On the seventh day, he rested – he blessed it and hallowed it.” [Genesis 2:2,3] That’s where we get Sabbath from, a day when we can legitimately rest from our labours and recover our strength for the next week. In August, we often take our annual holidays as we take time out to recover from the daily round; it’s a good principle.

In Leviticus, the book of the Jewish law, the Lord speaks through Moses to the people of Israel to instruct them on the cultivation of their fields. “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in their yield, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land” [Leviticus 25:3,4] This gives the earth and the plants a time to recover so that they might produce in abundance again – they certainly get tired too. We might like to think about the best way in which we can take time out in order to be at our very best.

I have often changed jobs or roles in my life after seven years: seven years at University in Bristol, then seven years designing pump components in Glasgow, seven as a stress analyst, then seven as an engineering data exchange specialist followed by another seven combining the two in Wolverhampton – now I have served as ordained minister and workplace chaplain for seven years and I feel that it is time to take a break. I plan to spend six months from September 2011 exploring “silence” as a way of deepening my faith and my awareness of the workings of the Spirit within.

A little of what I will do is already mapped out. I will spend a week at Douai Abbey in Berkshire on an individually guided retreat in September to clarify my goals, four evenings at Lichfield Cathedral in November on a life of prayer (if anyone wishes to join me there, let me know), a weekend at Charney Manor near Oxford on “the liberation of the soul” and a Quiet Week at the Abbey on Iona in December with my wife Rosemary … and I have a lot of reading and music to catch up on too. The time will fly by – my hope is that by becoming still, I will come to know more clearly who I am.

Whilst I am on leave, I will also be considering how I might be most effective serving folk in Codsall and at St.Nicholas – that will become clearer too.

In the meantime, thank you for letting me go …

This site was developed to contain work by Mike Fox relating to the WMMTC course
and subsequent experience during ministry in the parish of Codsall and the BCUIM.
This page was last updated on 2011-07-07

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