As you will know, I currently work 20 hours a week. Though this was implemented and continues so at this stage for my own health reasons, it has also worked out as we navigate a changing economy of the church. I have said many times and reiterate it here - a part-time priest doesn't mean a part-time or declining church. In fact, many studies in recent years have shown that such churches, if they undertake these transitions thoughtfully and intentionally (as we endeavour to do) find themselves flourishing!
A question was asked at Vestry about my hours and I think this is an ideal time to share with you how I structure my work week, how you can find me, what it is that I am focusing on and other considerations.
When do you work?
In general I work Sunday mornings (other than my winter week, summer holidays and one or two Sundays a year that I may be engaged in either continuing education or diocesan events), and then Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays. That said, if an event (like a funeral or other special event) happens outside of that time, I do my very best to accomodate that and shift my schedule. In general though, I book most meetings and visits within that timeframe.
What do you do?
My primary focus is: 1. Sunday Worship and Preparation; 2. Administrative tasks including meetings (Wardens, Advisory, Chairpersons of Groups, Pastoral Care Team etc.); 3. Facilitating and Supporting Lay Led Ministry; 4. Critical Pastoral Care Needs. 5. Attend to and communicate with community partners and the diocese.
Why are you not in the office as much as we are used to?
There a couple of reasons for this. One is that unfortuantely some of the techonology that allows me to do my job - my cellphone and Zoom for meetings - does not work in the basement of the church (at least not consistently). This may change as we get better resources in town. For now, I often do a lot of work in my home office in the Rectory - but I am about 1 minute away from the church if there is ever a need.
Secondly, I am often out meeting people in their homes or in a coffee shop!
Can you provide regular office hours for drop ins?
Prior to the pandemic, I did hold regular office hours. However, I found that people, if they needed to speak to me, did not use that time to do so. Rather, they would call or email and book a time to meet in person. That seems to be the way most find it easiest to connect with me.
Each week I can often be found around the office on either Wednesday or Thursday morning. Unfortuantely, my schedule doesn't allow me to be really concrete each and every week with the same time.
No one in the parish should ever hesitate to reach to me if they have a pastoral care concern that needs attention, if they would like me to be praying for something or if they need to speak to me regarding anything at all. If the matter is urgent, please say so in the email, text or phone message. Otherwise, I will get back to you when I am at my desk during regular hours. My phone number and email are regularly published on the website and in weekly bulletins.