Yesterday marked 1000 days since I was ordained deacon, since I became a Rev and started to wear a dog collar.
You might well ask ‘Poppy, how on earth would you know that?!’ Well, a couple of weeks ago, I was curious about how many days I had been ordained, and I noticed that 1000 days was the day after my birthday, so it was easy to remember!
Yesterday, we hit the 1000 day mark, and I thought it would be good to reflect.
Each day has been completely different. Every day has been joyful in some way, every day challenging in some way. Each of those 1000 days has contained, at the very least, prayer, reading, talking and tea!
Those 1000 days have involved twenty funerals, eleven baptisms, four internments of ashes, three weddings and a wedding blessing. I have written approximately 115 sermons and 128 (129, if you count this one!) blogs. By me reckoning, that is about 216,000 words.
I have sent nearly 1800 emails, consumed at least 2500 cups of tea and had about 140 days off. I think I have eaten about 100 cheese scones and 150 tea cakes at coffee mornings. I have lost count of the number of times I have done communion.
In the last 1000 days, I have also become a wife and a godmother.
Other highlights include: the Uganda trip, doing lessons in school, a placement at Alder Hey hospital, weddings, the Greatest Showman sermon series, my first communion service, getting an Eco Church Award, singing in a worship band again, being a team pastor at New Wine, setting up the prayer room and the Bishops Mission in Liverpool last March, more specifically, the Humans Vs Zombies nerf gun event in St Peter’s!
Challenges have been sitting with people as they die, conducting an emergency wedding in a hospice (although, it was also very beautiful), seeing a young person drop out of church, learning to juggle lots of things, going onto anti-anxitety medication and of course, suspending public worship due to the coronavirus.
I have done a lot of learning and a lot of growing. The moment I got ordained, it did feel like something plopped into my chest, like a warm kind of strength that was there to stay. But really, the biggest change has happened since then, not on the day I got ordained.
If I think back to the person who walked into the Cathedral on 25th June 2017, I was enthusiastic and ready to work hard, but I didn’t have much of a clue! How could I? I had an amazing training at a residential vicar school, but how could we be trained for a specific context? How could we be trained for a church which already looks very different now than it did on that day? Take this week, for example. How could we be trained for something like this? We couldn’t!
But enthusiasm, hard work, a great grounding in theology and prayer have got me quite a long way, and I feel more confident and competent than I did at the beginning. But even now that I feel more sure about things, I still have days where something will throw me, and I try to make sure that I am learning all the time. God is very faithful, and with each new day comes a new challenge, unending love and a lot of grace.
So here is to the next 1000 days, and whatever they may contain!