Ever since I was sacked and evicted from my home by my bishop for suffering from depression my priestly ministry has become more and more untenable. I have been like the survivor of a shipwreck treading water in the middle of the ocean, only just managing to keep my head above the surface. I have not gone under so far thanks to the generosity of a few, longstanding friends. Sadly, I have been singularly unsuccessful in attracting new sponsors for my ministry due, I believe, to the death of blogging and the rise of Facebook which restricts access to even those who have signed up as friends. That and the fact that I don't spew out the platitudes people want to hear so that they can cope with the obvious horribleness of most human lives.
This month the regular subscriptions have dropped by such a huge amount (more than a third of my regular income of about five hundred pounds) that it is obvious that the end of the road is just around the corner. I will be running the Saint Laika Summer Appeal as normal to raise funds for my annual vacation (this year, my wife and myself will be celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary in the Lake District) but, after that, I fear I will have to bow to the inevitable.
To be honest, I probably should have walked away from my priestly vocation when the Church first made it obvious, over fifteen years ago now, that I was not wanted. I could have retrained for another career. However, a mixture of pigheadedness and hope kept me determined to follow the path I believed that God had called me to. With hindsight, it was a mistake and I am now to pay the price for it as I am too old to learn a new job and, anyway, it is extremely hard to get someone to employ you if you have a history of mental illness.
I realise that some of you believe my online ministry has not been a waste of time. However, my personal tragedy is that as all I ever wanted to be was a parish priest and no more, I cannot help regarding myself as a failure and my life as being a complete waste. I have learned to live with this but it is not pleasant.