My long summer placement has just come to an end with my return from Western Australia. I was working alongside the team at St George’s Cathedral in Perth, joining in the daily round of worship, pastoral care and outreach. I learned about city-centre mission in an often aggressively secular country and I shadowed some very experienced priests who offered insights into their ministries and some very welcome lessons for the future.
Placements are not only an opportunity to serve in a particular context but also to consolidate learning at this mid-point in my formation and training. Where had God led me so far? What else might God be asking me to explore? Looking ahead to my expected ordination means an opportunity to consider the vows that will be taken too. What does it mean to exercise servant leadership? How do we reach those long-forgotten places and people with the very Good News of Jesus Christ?
In among the usual round of hospital visiting, meetings, liturgical preparation and preaching, this summer became an important time to consider how we integrate the different strands in our lives. And so it was particularly useful to be involved in the later stages of mission action planning at the cathedral, drawing upon my professional experience in marketing and communications and helping them to understand how better information signage and way-finding could be beneficial.
I also had the opportunity to see other parts of the diocese including the first Youth Synod in 19 years and popped into St John’s Fremantle (where Sorrell Wood is fondly remembered from her Easter placement), visit Padres at the Royal Western Australian Regiment base, meet the Archbishop, preach to the Governor and head off on retreat where I met and prayed with the new Chief Justice of Western Australia. I was able to reconnect with family, and with myself, giving thanks that God calls us all ever onward, with unfathomable levels of mercy and love.