I'M NOT ONE TO GO ON AND ON
I'm not one to go on and on about the things going on in my life unless there is some sort of resolution, either negative or positive. For the last decade I have mostly reported negative resolutions due to my battle with depression and battle with Anglican bishops intent on not letting a priest who has suffered from depression getting anywhere near a paid parish job. But this year has been surprisingly different for me in many ways mainly because I decided at its beginning that I was going to at least sort myself out even if I couldn't sort out the Church of England.
So, I have been working, for quite some time now, with a NHS relationships expert and gradually I have started going out and meeting people again and enjoying some sort of social life. This is limited by the fact I'm unemployed and broke but, at least, I have started to go dog training again and I've even entered a couple of shows with Quiz, my young, border collie. However, the biggest achievement is that I have found a lovely, old church, within twenty minutes drive of my home, which I have been attending with increasing regularity. The small congregation is friendly, intelligent, properly liberal-catholic, inclusive of all sexual and gender preferences and involved in two local mental heath projects. I haven't pushed things and have only just got round to coming out about my priesthood. As yet I have not even discussed trying to persuade the new Bishop of Durham to give me permission to officiate so that I could lend the vicar a much needed helping hand (he's a busy man with two major parishes to care for on his own). However, I believe I am nearly at the point where I will have enough courage to once again take on the bigotry of the Church in order to be able to live out my God given, church discerned, vocation which, as those of you who have known me for some time know very well, is the only thing I want to do in life.
Some things have changed though in respect of my attitude towards that which my ministry should entail from now on. Previously I was absolutely insistent that I had to be given a full time, fully salaried incumbent's post. I would not budge on this. However, my wife has never been keen on me returning to work in the Church of England as she thinks that the nature of the church, especially it's leadership, is such that I will only get hurt once more and, understandably, she doesn't want to go through the fall out of that all over again. So, it would appear, as I still insist on being part of the Church of England as a priest because I was called to that, that some sort of part time parish ministry should be my goal. I've thought long and hard about this and I have decided not to rush things. At the moment I would like to move forward to having some sort of priestly ministry, no doubt unpaid, within my new congregation, but mostly I want to continue and expand my internet ministry.
One of the main reasons I want to concentrate most of my energy on the Saint Laika project is because it is, once again, beginning to take off. It's starting to be a success again. More and more people are checking it out. For example, the holy communion service for the Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost has, to present, been streamed or downloaded by 928 people. That is quite a sizeable congregation by anyone's standards. Daily Prayer at Saint Laika's is building up a loyal following and as for Tim's daily devotions over on the Saint Laika's Facebook page, well, it won't be long before he is more popular than BBC Radio's "Thought For The Day." The help I have received from Lois and Ellie on Facebook and the Saint Laika "street gang" who promote the project every which they can is really paying dividends. Heck, the future is so bright we are all going to have to wear shades as somebody once said.
BUT. BUT. BUT.
If I am to accept my call to primarily and with all seriousness be this new thing that is an internet priest I do need to increase the amount of financial support I am presently receiving. Honestly, I just cannot survive on it, let alone thrive on it, and if I am to minister well I really could do with not having to worry about money all the while.
Saint Laika's has been supported to the tune of about £500 a month by pretty much the same group of people since the project started. There have been very few new subscriptions started since our launch and a few pledges have ceased due to unfortunate circumstances such as death and the Scottish Referendum (yes, seriously). I need to double this amount and it would be most beneficial to my mental health if this was achieved through an increase in the number of monthly subscriptions - money I can rely on.
THE FEAST OF SAINT LAIKA
So, I am taking the opportunity of Saint Laika's Day 2014 to launch a new appeal in an attempt to persuade as many people as possible to commit to making a monthly donation to the ministry of Saint Laika's - my ministry.
Supporting Saint Laika's is supporting the very gospel of Jesus Christ. We are about real evangelism. We truly are an emergent church. This is what Tim had to say about our congregation in his meditation today:
"Saint Laika’s is a collection of strays, really. Not many who are powerful, rich, or famous. Many who have been hurt by the very church whose faith they profess. We offer to two-legged strays the peace and protection Laika never had. The lives of the marginal are treated as worthy of prayer, sacrament, and grace, offered in cyber-space."
SAINT LAIKA NEEDS YOUR HELP
If you do not already donate, and you can afford to do so, please seriously consider committing to a monthly donation which can, of course, be cancelled at any time. If you do donate already then please promote this appeal in any way you can.
Here is the widget that will take you through to PayPal where you can arrange your subscription. Click on the drop down arrow and choose the amount of money that you want to donate each month and then proceed from there. If you would like to donate a monthly amount not offered as a choice please contact me and I'll sort it out. My email is revjph@saint laika.com.
I realise that this is a lot to ask of people at a time when all of us are experiencing a fall in our standard of living but I do believe my work at Saint Laika's is important in the big scheme of things as well as in our own neighbourhood. Please help me to do my work properly.
Thank you and God bless you.