I was recently told that some people in the parish find it hard to pin me down. That is, to find me during the week - whether to ask a question, have a talk or share information. After a conversation with the Wardens, I realize that it will be helpful to communicate my schedule each week with the parish, so I am (hopefully) more accessible.
Before I detail how that might happen, let me reflect a little bit on the schedule of your garden-variety priest in 2019.
I love reading or watching anything that involves the day to day life of the English country parson circa 1800s. A sort of nostalgic ideal of a charming (usually older man) parson who visits with people, drinks copious amounts of tea, sits by the fire in his study preparing his sermon and is summoned by a knock on the parsonage door. I'm sure it was never quite as ideallic as fictional dramas portray, but it is a sweet image.
And very different from what a priest's schedule looks like today.
When I think about conveying what a "typical week" looks like, it is a struggle because no two weeks are the same. Here is a general amalgamation of what a "typical week" could look like for me.
Sunday - at the church around 7:40 for the 8 am service or 9 am for the 10 am service and stay until after the 10 am, for coffee and conversation and occassionally for a meeting - sometimes getting home around 1. Once a month I help with the West Shore Service in the evening. And new this year, nursing home services will happen on some Sunday afternoons at both Port Perry Place and The Villa.
Monday - often work at home since Shirley is not in the office - start my sermon prep by looking at the readings and thinking through the direction I might take - plan a couple of visits - a meeting at the church for an hour or so - try to get caught up on my e-mails
Tuesday - Often have a meeting on Tuesdays - Port Perry Ministerial meets once a month, as does our Clericus (area Anglican clergy) and my Fresh Start group (Anglican priests in the first two years of a new ministry). If Thyme is meeting, I try to attend if I am free. Try to get a few hours in at the office, start the bulletin with Shirley and any other admnistrative tasks that are on my desk. Also visits if planned. Some Tuesday evenings there is a meeting - Advisory Board being once a month.
Wednesdays - in first thing in the morning, lead the 11:15 Eucharist service - afternoon is administrative tasks like finalizing the bulletin, overseeing updating the website, booking meetings with various group leaders etc. - meetings can also happen on a Wednesday evening.
Thursdays - a mix of administration, visits and meetings. Once a month at Port Perry Place for a service in the morning. The wardens have traditionally met once a month on a Thursday evening, though this might change with the new team.
Fridays - I try to take off.
Saturdays are off unless something is happening like an event at the church. Meetings occassionally happen on Saturdays as well as that is a day that works for most people. "Town Halls" often fall on Saturdays as do diocesan meetings like Synod and the Parish Leadership day.
Add into all of this last minute hospital visits, funerals (planning and leading), and a whole assortment of things that pop up and it leads to an interesting and varied schedule that keeps me on my toes.
A couple of months ago I was invited to sit on a diocesan committee that oversees granting churches money for ministry. They wanted my input as someone who has been active in missional ministry. Knowing that I would have to drive downtown once a month for a two hour meeting and therefore give up most of my day, I declined. In the first two years of my appointment here I feel it is important that parish get the lion share of my time and energy. Diocesan commitments will always be a part of a priest's life, but there are better seasons for that.
How to find Ruthanne...
Since my schedule is all over the place, the best way to "find" me is to e-mail me and set a time to meet, even if it is just a brief conversation. You can also leave me a message at the church - I pick up my messages through the week. If it is an emergency or urgent matter, the best way to get ahold of me is through e-mail or one of the wardens who has my contact information at all times (during vacation etc.).
Moving forward I will be posting my schedule on my door each week. It is important to note that it can change day by day. Sometimes an urgent matter comes up and a meeting is cancelled. But it generally lets you know where I am and when.
Most Wednesdays you will find me at the church for the 11:15 service and that is always a good time to grab me quickly - either beforehand or after.
I do not respond to non-urgent phone calls or e-mails in the evenings (or if I'm working in an evening, in the morning I take as personal time). I try to be very careful to guard my time at home with my daughter. Church life all too easily slips into every moment of a priest's life.
Do let me know what else you would find helpful.