My week

Every now and again people ask me what an Anglican priest does all week long. So I thought I’d let you know what this week looked like.

I start each day with a time of personal prayer and journalling. Then Marci and I have tea and pray Morning Prayer together.

Monday is my day off, so I stayed home.

A good part of my week is spent at my desk doing ‘preparation’. Prep work this week has included:

  • Preparing a sermon for Sunday (from start to finish this takes about 6 hours)
  • Other Sunday prep (intercessions for our early service, annotating my bulletins, church setup, posting sermons on various websites etc.)
  • Reading and preparation for our vestry meeting Wednesday night
  • Reading and preparation for our Bible Study group Thursday morning
  • Preparation for our Lay Evangelist training day Saturday (this took about 6 hours to complete)
  • Preparing and sending out a questionnaire about small groups in our church
  • Preparation for a seniors’ home service next week (it’s Tuesday morning so I won’t have time to prepare for it next week).
  • Planning for next week, and some advance planning too.
  • A little bit of reading and study (I’ve been working my way through Turnaround and Beyond, by Ron Crandall).

Meetings and appointments:

  • Tuesday I met with my office administrator at 9.00 to plan our week.
  • From 11.00 to noon Tuesday I had a computer link meeting with the search committee for a new national director for Threshold Ministries (I’m on that search committee).
  • Tuesday afternoon I went downtown to have coffee with a clergy colleague – we meet from time to time to encourage each other.
  • Tuesday evening I spent a couple of hours with a family from our church – visited with the kids and read to them, then after their bedtime I had a good long conversation with the couple.
  • Wednesday I had a meeting of our vestry (church board) in the evening
  • Thursday morning I had a morning Men’s Bible Study at a local coffee shop 8 – 9 a.m.
  • Also Thursday morning I had a meeting of the search committee for wardens and vestry members for next year 10:30 – 11:30.
  • Our lunch bunch (AKA ‘seniors’ lunch’) met at the church from 11.30 – 1.30. Good time of fellowship was had by all.
  • Later in the afternoon I went back downtown for a meeting with my bishop.
  • Tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll be leading a formation day for our diocesan Lay Evangelists in Training. It takes place at St. Margaret’s and will keep me busy from about 8.45 a.m. – 3.30 p.m.
  • Sunday I’ll be at the church by 8.30 a.m.; services are 9.00 and 10.30 a.m., with coffee hour after the second service. I’ll get home about 1 p.m.

Sometimes I have pastoral appointments Sunday afternoon; this week I don’t have any, so I’ll be taking my sabbath from 1.00 p.m. Sunday afternoon to 8.30 a.m. Tuesday morning.

And there you have it: a week in the life of a parish priest!

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2 thoughts on “My week

  1. Thank you for posting this. I’ve heard many times in workshops on clergy-musician relations that one thing that helps is for the two to have a sense of how the other’s work goes. From the outside, it can look like clergy and musicians “work one day a week,” as I have heard a few times.

    I don’t have anywhere close to the level of meetings and appointments that you do (and your list looks pretty much like what my rector’s list would be). But I have to practice every work day, and some weeks there are quite a few extra rehearsals of one sort or another, plus concerts/gigs that I should (and generally want to) attend, such as our little Skipperlings trio, or a classical pianist who sings bass in the choir (next Thursday evening, a big high-profile concert for him).

    The part that is in common for us, and for clergy/musicians generally, is the amount of preparation and planning, most of it deskwork. It is essential, and some musicians (and I suspect some clergy) skimp on this, to the detriment of their work and ultimately the life of the parish. Another part that is common, and essential, is time for prayer and reflection, as you describe.

    And a Sabbath. I am so glad that God put it in the Ten Commandments to emphasize how important it is. And even with that, it can be hard to maintain. Sunday is my longest workday; I arrive at 6 or 6:15 to do warmup practicing before Morning Prayer (7:15), and I am the one who stays until the last evening meeting (an Al-Anon group) gets done, about 9:30 pm. My Sabbath therefore begins when I lock the church doors at that point and go home, and runs through Monday night.

    The author and lecturer Marva Dawn used to start her talks to groups of clergy/church people by asking “How is your Sabbath-keeping?” She says the result is always a lot of nervous giggles (I have heard this for myself the two times I’ve heard her speak), people being reminded of something they maybe aren’t doing very well.

    Not for the first (or last) time, I am honored to be your fellow-laborer in Christ. May God bless you, your family, and your parish.

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