Rest and be Thankful

The vocational journey of Dana Delap has been a saga of epic proportions, spanning decades (really, honestly!).  Now the end inches into sight, at least in epic terms, and I’m struck by the number of clergy who are keen to put me off.  I spoke to one of the collared ones this week – I had left an answer phone message for her on Monday.  She was getting back to me on Friday.  This was, she said, the first time she had had a moment to ring in a frantic week.  Did I really want to take on this job?

My first answer to that is ‘no’.  All of us have the occasional work crisis, when there is no choice but to pull a late, if not all, night shift.  But the implication from many clergy is that this is something they live every week.  Is that commendable?  I would say that it is a very poor example to those around them, who have to manage their time better or collapse.  Sadly many clergy do!

My other immediate thought – if Adrian were asked by a would-be fundraiser whether fund-raising is a good job, Adrian would beam, jump up and down, and cry, ‘Yes!’.  He loves what he does and loves others to discover what a fantastic job it can be.  I know because I’ve seen him in full ‘jumping up and down’ enthusiasm.  Ask a priest, and they will ask if you really, really want to be ordained, because you’d be mad to want to… Obviously, not all clergy, but enough to make me very sad.

Call me naive and unrealistic, but I have always found serving God and God’s people to be the best job in the world.  And taking enough time off to remember that is obviously something only lay chaplains are allowed to do!

By the way, we spent the second night of our honeymoon near the ‘Rest and be Thankful’ pass in a cold, isolated and miserable inn.  We moved the next night to something much more luxurious.  Remember to choose carefully where you rest and are thankful!

Maths for Dunces

I’ve always been hopeless at maths.  I don’t know why – I think it is because my brain is wired that way.  Maths just doesn’t make sense to me.  When I passed my O level (yes, I really did), my teacher came to find me and tell me what a surprise this was to her (me too) and how it was not my hard work but a fluke.  Rude but accurate I’m afraid.

However, even the most incompetent sometimes have to rise to the challenge, and mine came in September, when I ran an event in Durham Cathedral.  What with speakers coming from the south coast, advertising, caterers and sound systems, there was quite a bit of money to find.  And the punters were charged a pittance for attending.  The organising agency is a charity which runs on a near zero account, so almost no float, and no cushion of its own if it all went horribly wrong.

Of course it didn’t go wrong – quite the reverse; it was very good.  However, even at £15 clergy and others complained about the charge.  I know my maths is bad, but even I can see that if there are out-goings, there need to be in-comings.  Three walked out (after coffee and biscuits) saying that this should be put on for free.  Bizarre!

You will be glad to know that we have covered our costs.  Even I can manage that much maths.  But there are obviously some whose maths is worse that mine, and haven’t figured out that if you put nothing in, nothing comes out.