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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, November 14, 2005
    The working disciple
    Read a good paper tonight, by Jim's mate Dick Cartmell. As vicar of a Blackburn parish he decided he needed to look more closely at the working lives of his church leaders. So one week he spent time with each of them, assisting them in their workplaces: video repairer, school caterer, cleaner, delivery driver, manager in an armaments factory, sewage treatment worker, bus driver, pub waiter.

    Nothing especially radical about that idea, nor about Dick's observations about the highly-pressured lives they each led (public pressure - 'the customer is always right', and management pressure - 'if you can't compete you're dead'). But it was a rare initiative, and offers a good model for keeping our eyes open. Came on the same day as I read (in the Economist, of all places), about John Sentamu's 280-mile Lent trek through the West Midlands, visiting hospitals, schools and 200 churches en-route, and where I also spent time with some detached youth workers telling me the good things they've found in the lives of the young people they've met on our supposedly (listen to many critics from outside the area) mean streets.

    All this provokes me to keep on my own walks of discovery through the ordinary - keep on, though the cold and darkness is tempting me to stay indoors.