Thursday, 6 September 2018

ESL #1: What am I up to?

Following a very enjoyable family holiday in Cumbria, I started an Extended Study Leave (ESL) on 1st September. An ESL is what used to be referred to as a sabbatical and clergy are encouraged to take one about every ten years. My last ESL was in 2008 and the main focus was spending Advent in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. If you want to see what I got up to then simply click on the sabbatical link under the label cloud on the right column of the blog. Following my last Ministerial Development Review (MDR) conducted by my Archdeacon I was encouraged to consider another ESL and so here we are.

In the Chelmsford Diocese the purpose of ESL is to offer licensed office holders a sustained period away from normal duties for professional development and personal enrichment, normally for a period of three months. I'm actually taking two and a half months following some annual leave as I want to be back in the parish for the lead up to Advent. The three components of an ESL are professional development, retreat and rest and I am hoping to include all three in various ways during my ESL.

The main focus of my ESL will be a month in Kenya during October. The Diocese of Chelmsford has links with five Kenyan Dioceses and I will be teaching some church history at St. Andrew's Theological College Kabare. I am looking forward to seeing how the students view the topics from an African perspective. Interestingly the curriculum for church history at St. Andrew's is very similar to that at St. Mellitus College when I was a member of the faculty. I am also hoping to learn about any difference in pedagogical approach in a context very different from my own. A significant portion of my time during September will be spent preparing for my lectures.

I will also be spending time with St. Thomas' Cathedral Kerugoya, furthering the developing partnership with St. Mary's that began about seven years ago. This is my third visit to Kenya, the first was in 2011 with a group from St. Mary's when the relationship with the cathedral began. The second  visit was in 2012 when I represented the Bishop of Chelmsford and the diocese at the consecration of Bishop Joseph, Bishop of Kirinyaga. (click on the Kenya label for further information about these visits). Last year St. Mary's hosted the Provost and some church members from St. Thomas' Cathedral for a couple of weeks and I'm looking forward to catching up with them. I am also looking forward to preaching and leading some seminars at the cathedral, but my main hope is to learn from the experience of seeing ministry and mission in a context quite different from St. Mary's and the Great Baddow Team Ministry. During my time in Kenya I'm hoping to spend a couple of days at a wildlife reserve and a group of ordinands, clergy and some senior staff from Chelmsford Diocese will be in this area of Kenya for part of my time there so I look forward to seeing what they get up to.

Other aspects of my ESL include catching up on some reading (I'll post some reviews), worshipping in various churches in the diocese (probably best not to post reviews), some retreat time as well as Kate and I celebrating our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in November!

I want to finish this first ESL post by saying how grateful I am for the support and encouragement of diocesan staff, my colleagues in the Great Baddow TM, the congregation at St. Mary's, the Principal of St. Andrew's, the Provost of St. Thomas' Cathedral and of course my family in preparing for this ESL which has made it so much easier than it might otherwise have been.

1 comment:

John Doe said...

Very interesting blog!