In the years after leaving college when acting as a spiritual director, I met with several ministers whose churches were only able to afford half a stipend and yet expected their ministers to preach every Sunday. So even before I was officially asked to be the minister here, I made it very clear that in my mind, part-time meant that I would not be preaching every week.
The Chapel had been used to the Moderator taking the services on the first and third Sundays, and enjoyed having input from others on the remaining Sundays. Last year, my first in my new role, I opted to 'do' the first, third and fifth Sundays but I soon learnt that a fifth Sunday is followed by a first, giving me very little time for myself between services - so this year its just the first and third for me!
And January is the first month of the new regime and I have made full use of having an extra spare week. We have been out and about visiting friends, attended the Village Women's belated Christmas lunch, started decorating the downstairs cloakroom and done some long overdue housework. I celebrated two friends 60th birthdays at the Book Club, by drinking champagne and devouring totally illicit but truly scrumptious and beautifully decorated cup cakes make by another of our members.
However, next week is going to be busy as I have booked to attend a day's seminar at college as well as my monthly course, so I am starting early on next week's service which will include welcoming a new member which is very exciting.
But I have become aware that when in public, I never completely throw off my ministerial position, in that respect I am a full time minister.