Progress and Paperwork

The distinct lack of writing her has not been a conscious decision, but more a mix of laziness and a lack of things to write and then being quite busy, but things now move on a-pace.

The first notable thing is to say that I have graduated!  I suppose I am now technically Mr. Paul Parker BD, although I would much prefer it if people used this term of address and little as possible!  I graduated with a 2:2 which was what I was expecting and which I was pleased with.  Most of my theology friends graduated with First Class degrees and I am very pleased for them.

At milestones such as this I often get a bit reflective and so I have been thinking back over the last three years (with much gladness)!  How I have changed, how I have grown.  What if anything I have changed.  It has been a slightly mixed but generally wonderful experience, which I doubt I would change much at all.  I have affiliated a society to our Students’ Union, been a Society President, fallen in love with climbing, been on a national demo, failed an exam, done very well in an essay I started two days before in Costa, lived with and visited some incredible people, stayed up all night supporting friends, spent numerous hours at ballot boxes, counted for a Union election, helped run the first online election in Bangor’s history and experienced our highest every election turnouts, I have started training as a Local Preacher and have stuck with our fabulous department as it has started winding down its existence, I have fallen deeper into the snare of Connexional Methodism and I love it, I have cried when an old housemate has been called back into work, resigned from a society, moaned about sending E-mails, screamed at people I love dearly and had dear friends leave.  Some of the time I ought to have been doing uni work rather than what I actually did, but if I were to do the whole thing again I’d still stay up, I’d still climb rather than revise etc, it may be the reason I got a 2:2 rather than a 2:1 but I’d rather have all these experiences and have been shaped by them than get a 2:1.

So that is a bit of progress.  Then comes some paperwork, which is, I suppose, progress but mainly just feels like paperwork!  Me and my family spent the week of my graduating holidaying on Anglesey, which was lovely, but involved a day trip to Bangor to look for accommodation for next year which involved some forms, I looked around a few places, decided to go for one, which involved even more more forms!  But several questions and very few easy answers later, I am paying the deposit for a lovely bungalow in Bangor next week! So I suppose I pretty much have a place to live!  That ought to count as progress, and I am looking forward to making it feel homely and stuffing a cupboard with tea!

I have also been filling in Methodist paperwork! An application for a little bit of Grant Funding for next year to supplement the District and Circuit Funding and a form so that my wage goes to the right place!  This second form in particular came as a massive surprise, but is a bit reassuring.  So again, paperwork but also progress!

So September and the “next chapter” fast approaches, but the getting ready for it also continues and a pretty nice speed!

Application Update

I went to bed last night, having written about Palm Sunday with thoughts on a blog post about next year.  And then this morning I got a phone-call from my Minister with some big OPP news, so I shall now try and merge the two together.

The news, drum roll …

The central pot of money we’d hoped would fund the project won’t be.  They had 24 applications and enough funding for 10 projects; I really don’t envy the people making the decision, and if I am honest, think I would have decided not the fund Bangor either, given Cardiff has had a project before.  Obviously this is a blow for the wider church recognising how different North and South Walian life can be, but I do see where they are coming from.

I am not actually too disappointed, this is very much a period of exploring and figuring out.  The next step is to see if the District fancy finding some money to run the project, so the dream isn’t totally dead yet.  A bit more wait and see!

Even if District can’t find the money then I am still looking forward to next year (this is what I was thinking about last night).

I am looking forward to having my own place, to myself, where I can have my rules.  I can have a fruit bowl, my washing up might slide a bit, I can be ueber-spontaneous!

I am looking forward to still having friends; relationships which I have grown to cherish over the last year I can continue.

I am looking forward to scary grown up things like council tax, because that is all part of moving forward in life.

I am currently enjoy knocking around ideas on community, and safe space, and refuge and hospitality and things, and having accomodation which is solely my own features predominantly in this.

So even if I spend all my time working in McDonalds I am very much looking forward to the post-graduation life!

Ch,ch,ch changes!

Meetings and changes seem to be defining the run up to submitting a project application, so to catch you up there has been another meeting and lo! Another change.

Any idea of working across a large area and living itinerantly are ancient history now.  I am surprisingly OK about this.  Maybe it was the gradual and winding path that got me here that made it so.  A lot of people would say that it was God getting me where he wanted me, he had to start me there and grow me.  Maybe that it is true.  Maybe it is God reigning me in from some far of fantasy I had.  Maybe this is what happens when a bunch of different people all try and have a stab at what God wants.  Maybe this isn’t how God works at all. (My zealously Arminian theology is exceedingly comfortable with that, if it messes with people’s idea of a God who controls the puppet strings then they’re welcome to sulk!)

The project is now going to be student work entirely.  We’re dropping the Youth Group element completely. This pleases me, I wasn’t sure paying me to support the establishment of a youth group was the best use of connexional funds.  The churches involved are quite competent and have some good people who can do it themselves.  So I feel far more comfortable with this proposed project!  (Hopefully it won’t change again, but I wouldn’t stake too much on it! I wouldn’t gamble at all but were I to, then I wouldn’t stake too much on it!)

So the application we are writing up is for someone to support the Methsoc here in Bangor. By no means run it, or interfere, there is an excellent system set up for electing the future committee and a Chaplain (who also doesn’t interfere; Methsoc does self-governance better than any other Christian society I know of here!), mainly to deal with some of the things that it would be nice to do but we never have time of effort for along with the day-to-day and important stuff.  So things like looking at how me advertise ourselves and looking at bridging the gap between those who express interest in Freshers’ Week and those who make it to meetings.  There will always be a drop off, but it seems we can do more to decrease it.  (When I was Pres of Methsoc we were E-mail in excess of 60 people each week but had 3 regular attenders at meetings and 10 registered members for most of the year!).  So if the application goes through it will be to employ someone to work in that gap, and also to network with other Methsocs, see how they do recruitment and see if we can all learn from each other.

The project sounds really good.  Something I think will work, is worthwhile and something I am interested in, so that is all good!  And the meeting, between me, Alf, our Chaplain and Lynne, the Project Participation Manager (PPM) who covers Wales, was positive and felt optimistic so that is good.

The next joy I need to deal with, pretty much now, is accommodation for next year.  House-hunting should have started for me, it hasn’t quite yet!  Living on my own is seriously on the cards.  I want the experience before progressing onto other things but at the moment most of my thinking is up in the air and it all seems a bit daunting!

So at the moment the future both excites and scares me. Which seems about OK!