So my year as an OPP is over. It has gone crazily fast, it only seems last week that I was in the interview, and only a few days since I was standing in Methodist Church House for our first training weekend. But now is a time to look back over what I have done.
I've worked for an amazing charity, Methodist Action, alongside so inspirational staff and volunteers who are truly dedicated to supporting those most in need across Lancashire. I've worked at countless drop-in sessions, meeting service-users who have opened my eyes to some of the problems they face. I've chopped a tonne of onions (and discovered that the ability to do so without crying is almost a valuable enough skill to go on my CV). But there have been a number of times where I have had tears in my eyes, and not because of the onions. I've heard stories that has shocked me, seen lovely people in terrible situations that have upset me, and felt terribly guilty about how lucky I have been to come home to a warm, dry house. All this has had quite an effect on me and on my view of Church. I've seen God's love and felt his presence significantly more at the drop in sessions I've worked at than in the Sunday morning services I've sat through (and that will be a post for another day).
One of the hardest things I've done is create a youth group resource pack, looking at spiritual gifts and volunteering. Called 'God Given', it is available free here. I've struggled, sat staring at a blank screen for long stints, scoured Google for ideas, and chatted with a wonderful designer for the publicity. All I can hope now is that people find it useful (and If you know anyone who might find it useful, point them too it and I have about 300 leaflets that I can send out).
Outside of work, I've moved to the other end of the country, become an proud honorary Lancastrian, and noticed that the Welsh twang in my accent has weirdly got stronger... I lived with the love of my life for a few months without us killing each other or arguing too much. I have found a house and (effectively) lived alone, getting to know a new city.
So what next? Well, that is a good question, and one I don't really know the answer too. I have discovered a passion for Christian-based charitable work, and would love to find a job in that sector. I'm looking for a job, hopefully in the charitable sector and hopefully in the Manchester/Oldham region. And I'm sure something will come up. In the meantime, maybe I'll have to move back south, that is a decision I am still working through.
And I also have to come to terms with stopping being a Methodist Yuff! In October I will be 24, and 3Generate 2013 will be (officially) my last. I know that I will continue to be a 'young Methodist', and will continue to support those involved in working with the current young generation.
So, now I'm back in a place of uncertainty, I focus again on that powerful and poetic piece of prayer, the Methodist Covenant Prayer:
I am no longer my own but Yours.
Your will, not mine, be done in all things,
Where ever Your may place me,
In all that I do and in all that I may endure;
When there is work for me and when there is none;
When I am troubled and when I am at peace.Your will be done when I am valued and when I am disregarded
when I find fulfilment and when it is lacking;
When I have all things and when I have nothing.
I willingly offer all I have and am to serve You
As and where You choose.
Glorious and Blesséd God, Father Son and Holy Spirit,
You are mine and I am yours,
May it be so forever.
Let this Covenant now made of Earth be fulfilled in Heaven.