It’s not usual that I find out about a new vicar in the town before anyone else. Why would I? But this morning St Nicholas Church in Stevenage will have been told about their new vicar. And I found out on Friday.
What a very odd thing for me to get advanced information about.
You see, he didn’t want me to hear on the grapevine. So he rang and told me.
I’ve known Dave since 1984, when I first started going along to Bunyan Baptist Church, the church I’m still connected with. He was in the youth group, and soon became a good friend. And we stuck together, and became best friends. We shared a lot of experiences; good and bad times. We were in a band together, Dave on vocals and guitar with me on drums and a couple of others, singing Dave’s own songs. And, when the time came, we were best men to each other at our weddings. (Which reminds me; Dave’s speech at my wedding was great. I must see if I can fish out a copy.)
By the time we were getting married we’d already started going our separate ways. Dave had left Stevenage to the exotic destination on Lincoln to do a teacher training degree, spent a few years in education, becoming a Head Teacher in a primary school before changing paths again and training for Anglican Ministry. He took up his first post (Curate? I forget the terminology) miles away in Sidmouth where I only managed to visit him twice, and like most friendships our phone calls got less and less frequent as time went past. My family will attest that I’m pretty rubbish at keeping in touch.
I knew he’d been looking for a move.
But to hear that he’s coming all the way home to Stevenage was a surprise. And after he’d phoned, I found myself giggling at the thought throughout the evening.
Needless to say we’ve followed rather different paths spiritually. While I’ve been slowly drifting on a path that seems to be headed broadly in the direction of Atheism, he’s now a man of the cloth taking up a ministerial post in the established church. So we’ve less in common than we once had.
But boy am I looking forward to getting properly reacquainted with my best friend.