My friends often like to joke that I apparently know ‘everyone‘. Here’s the truth: I really don’t. But I do seem to have some kind of cosmic gift of networking. Or I just seem to notice the way that a big world can turn into a small world for things to happen in a community.
Last year, I left the church I’d called home since I came to Edinburgh in May 2007. However, I remained very good friends with the original members of my smallgroup there – all of us bloggers that some of you might remember from back in ’08! In fact, I’m willing to bet that you might feel like you already know a few of them – namely my friends Brisaac, Lady V and their kids – Miss Sweetroot & the Mini Kahuna! No words could explain what their friendship means to me, and I often joke that I’m an honourary member of their clan.
All of our smallgroup liked to dream big. But our dreams were very different because we are very different people. But I loved that they were all down to earth people who didn’t make up weird Christian terms which seem to have become part of life on what my friend and I call ‘Planet Christian‘ (I have suggested we do a blog series on ‘Planet Christian’ because you just gotta laugh sometimes at the ridiculousness of it all).
One of those dreams was what has become known as ‘Soul Surfers‘. Building community around the beach (and protecting our waves and beaches)!
Ok. So. That was going on and I’ve been semi-connected to that through my lovely friends.
Let’s move over to the other family you might feel you know through this blog. My friends, Carrie & Andy and their kids – Elastatoddler & Mr Teapot. These last few years Andy has been training up to be a Minister, which means that I’ve been facing the upcoming challenge of trying to be a godmother to a minister’s kid! (And you might remember how that’s been going…particularly when Elastatoddler has asked me to read bible stories with him about baby Jesus and Noah & the ark. At least I’ve helped him learn about healthy eating). I was so excited when they ‘coincidentally’ ended up doing Andy’s probation year at the church where Brisaac’s good friend ‘the Rev’ is the minister. But as probation time came to an end, I started to get nervous…where would my friends end up when they had to find their own parish?
My main prayer was “God, you know, whatever is best but…well…um……PLEASE DON’T SEND MY FRIENDS TO A REMOTE ISLAND!! But you know, I trust you (read: I trust you realise that I will seriously consider never praying again if you send my friends to a place where ferry is the only mode of transport) to do whatever is best God“.
My friends shared with me 5 or 6 places they were considering applying to. One was on an island. Another was in the back of beyond – far, far away. But one I was super excited to hear about because it was the location of one of the good surf spots (and prettiest beaches) on the East Coast of Scotland.
My friend then gave me a heart attack when he said something about a church they’d been invited to preach at. They weren’t allowed to say anything. The way my friends spoke about it made me think it was the middle of nowhere one.
And then I found out…it was the one on the East Coast.
I immediately thought of Soul Surfers and how…FINALLY…this might bring my 2 sets of close friends together to do something really cool. With surfboards and camper vans of course!
And then, I got another surprise. Last week I reconnected with my smallgroup leaders from Holy Trinity (church I started going to last summer). A few days later, one of them came up to me and said ‘Oh, you’ve got to pray for [her husband]‘s Mum’s church. They think they’ve finally found a minister but they’ve got to vote on it’. Oh cool I replied. ‘Where is the church?‘
Cue her husband running through to the kitchen as he realised that the ‘Carrie and Andy’ I’d spoken about to them, was the same Andy who might become the minister at his mother’s church.
We then shared stories – and let’s just say it became really clear that a lot has gone on behind the scenes over the last few years that now makes perfect sense! For me it was another connection. I always wondered why I was at HT. Now I think this was one of the reasons.
On Sunday, I got the text to say that the decision had been made – my friends were moving to Eyemouth (next door to my friend’s Mum no less!) so they can minister to the parish of Eyemouth & Coldingham.
In a way – one journey has finished. But a new one is about to begin. And I’m pretty sure sand, sea, surf and BBQ (and of course blueberries and chocolate cake) will be involved.
And as I said on facebook, as one of my friends finishes training, the very next day another friend started her training at ‘vicar school’. It’s like going full circle!