So we've been away for a short break in Portugal. All very nice. Played tennis, walked around the marina, sat in coffee shops talking about the future and most importunely on a holiday like this... picking out a shortlist of villas and apartments to buy! If only we had the money!
That'a the thing about holidays, you can dream about what it might be like to live in a place without actually doing it. I don't know if we'd really want a place on the Algarve or in Spain or somewhere similar. Truth be told, I could list a whole lot of places I'd like to spend my unlikely early retirement years.
Anyway, let's not get all melancholy about it. A week away was certainly what we needed, and it came at just the right time. Now we're back we need to begin the process of focussing on the shape of our future. Before we left we'd made the decision with the church to step down from leadership. We will finish in December in terms of all the public stuff and then we will have several months to sort out where to live and what to do next. At this point we are not thinking about another pastoral role in an established church setting.
Quite what shape the future will take is uncertain, but I'm looking at retraining in order to be financially independent, which in turn might enable us to explore new ways of being church that doesn't require starting with an established congregation meeting on a Sunday morning to sing songs and listen to a monologue. But things are far from clear at this moment in time.
Now we are back, and now it's publicly known that we are leaving our current setting, I can blog a bit more about what's been on my heart and where that might take us. We are not giving up on church, and we are not giving up on ministry. We're just stepping out of what we've been doing for the past 20 years and into a new adventure.