Sign-up for free e-newsletter

Viewpoint from Fr Adrian Ling for 3rd Feb 2012


Father Adrian Ling
Rector of Hemsby, Winterton, Somerton & Horsey
‘Wherever I lay my hat, that’s my home,’ goes the song sung by Paul Young, among others, in which a feckless man tells his girlfriFATHR ADRIA LINGend not to get too attached to him, because he will soon be off. He’s a wanderer, a rolling stone, always on the move. Wherever he takes off his hat and puts it down, that’s the place he calls home. The song has come to my mind as I prepare to move to another parish in the wild west of the county in Kings Lynn. I wonder whether some of my people consider me to be somewhat like the fickle lothario singing that song! ‘We’ve just got to know him and he clears off to look after them others’, I can imagine them thinking. It is hard when priests move on, and these days we tend to stay for much shorter periods than in years gone by. In West Somerton church a plaque commemorates the Revd Budd, parish priest there for 41 years in Victorian times. An inscription says, ‘Thou hast been faithful with a few things.’ He only had 250 villagers to care for! And yet I’m told that the Methodist tradition was to move ministers around after every five years or so, so that they stay fresh and not get too comfortable and settled.
At the beginning of Mark’s gospel, Jesus eDove rightnjoys great success. He is a phenomenon: his miracles and exorcisms attract much attention; people are astounded by his teaching, he speaks with true conviction and authority. News about him spreads all over Galilee; in Capernaum the whole town gathers at his door. They want more from him. Jesus then says to his disciples that they must leave. The disciples must have been perplexed by his response, why go now when all is going so well? Jesus replies that he must go to other villages and preach there too, that is why he has come. If Jesus had stayed in Capernaum where all was comfortable, things would no doubt have turned out very differently, and we might never have heard anything of him. Jesus knew what he had to do, he knew where his destiny lay. The Spirit of God calls us all to work in different ways and in different places. Some are called to stay and work in their home towns and villages, others to move around. Experience has taught me that when the Spirit moves, it is wise to follow his promptings, and blessings will follow. I have been so blessed in the parishes in which I have ministered over the last six years. I have met so many lovely people, and had wonderfully enthusiastic teams of people to work with in the churches. I inevitably feel a bit of a git for leaving, but hopefully I am following not the example of Paul Young but that of my lord and master, Jesus Christ. May God bless you all.