Julia's letter for June

It is never easy living with uncertainty. It may just be me, but I have always liked to know where my life is heading and I am a great one for plans – long-term ones and short-term ones. Being a curate is not the most obvious fit for the inveterate planner. When you start out as a curate you are asked to ‘up sticks’ and move house, family and all, and are parachuted into a new place – in our case a whole new county. Above all you are asked to trust God and to step out in faith. You have much to learn and it often feels like previous experience counts for little. Not great for one who likes certainty! At the end of training there is portfolio of paperwork to complete, a visit to the Bishop and a discernment process to go through. This involves applying for roles, prayer and interviews and seeing if you and the prospective parishes feel this is the right place to serve. It is an important decision and both sides need to be sure and it needs to be of God, not of our own making. Then if it is right, the ‘upping sticks’ starts all over again…!

As some of you will know, I am at the end of my three years of formal training as a curate in our parishes. In May I met with the Bishop of Taunton and she is happy for me to start looking for roles as a parish priest in my own right. This feels very exciting and somewhat daunting. The curacy time has been a time of great encouragement and I have learnt so much as part of our communities and from Rebecca as my training priest. Folks have been very welcoming and very kind. In the midst of all the uncertainty surrounding my curacy, I have felt very blessed, and will be very sad to leave when the time comes. It has not always been easy to juggle the many demands, but I’m not sure God calls any Christians to an easy life.

So how does God equip us to cope with uncertain times, because is there ever really a time when we are absolutely 100% sure what will happen next? The following ideas might help answer that:

God has been there before us. As a living, breathing, human being he shares our human experience – with all its doubts and uncertainties.

Through the Bible, God promises that he will never leave us nor forsake us – we may turn away from Him but that’s another matter altogether!

He gives us communities to live in and fellow Christians so that we can support each other.

God gives us the ultimate certainty that, through faith in Christ, we can know where we will go eventually. The long-term plan isalready there for us – and it is a good one – life everlasting with the saints who have gone before and God himself. And ii is open to all!

A Christian writer once talked of the ‘sacrament of the present moment’ i.e. learning to live and find God now; in this spot; where we are. The trust and confidence that God can be found in every moment, if we but stop and look, has definitely helped me when life has become just a little too stressful and uncertain. So thank you for all the encouragement and good wishes through my training thus far. My curacy funding stream, which is separate from the funds that pay parish priests, vicars and rectors, doesn’t end for a few months yet so there is time to rejoice in those sacramental present moments together a while longer and to find out what God is up to in all our lives.

Rev’d Julia Curtis


Webpage icon Rebecca's letter for July/August