On a rainy and distinctly chilly Autumn morning, I'm sat in my usual spot at the dining table, at home in Basildon with lap top, notebook, various books; reading, browsing and thinking. It's not an unusual position or view for me, but it is a new job and a new set of priorities.
3 weeks into my new job at St Mellitus College and I'm getting to grips with module guides, academic timetables, formation groups, 13 new first year Youth Ministry students (not gripping them literally, obviously!) and beginning to work on my first lectures for the Youth Ministry Foundations module.
It's challenging in many ways - full and busy days but the push to make me think, wonder, apply and problem solve is very welcome. After 9 years in a job I knew so well, this is certainly keeping me on my toes and I feel revitalised for it. It was lovely to see new students arrive last week, along with some familiar faces and to also welcome supervisors for student placements yesterday, including many clergy from Chelmsford Diocese and youth workers from other churches who I know of old. So lots is new, but such a great welcome that it already feels very much like home and there is a sense of this being both familiar and stretching which is a good balance.
Alongside the 3 days with SMC, I'm also doing some other bits and pieces - interviews with those on the discernment journey towards a Bishop's Selection Panel; training to be a Bishop's Selection Adviser; and working with a couple of churches as a consultant in their review of youth ministry, training, mission and employment in their context.
And the wonderful bonus in all that is that weekends are free and evenings are largely free, all of which makes the balance of family, ministry, personal and rest so much more effective.