The request went something like, “Craig, please write something about yourself for the Church magazine.” I replied, “Yes, of course.” But then comes the problem, what do those reading this want to know about me, that they might not have picked up in the introduction process? And how do I give people a flavour of how I might approach life and ministry?
So here are 5 questions you might not get a straight-forward answer to:
“Craig, Where are you from?”
“Well, I was born in Glasgow, but the family come from Clydebank, (if you have a Singer sewing machine built before 1980 or ever sailed on a Cunard ship my family might have had a hand in the process of building it.) But the first place I lived was Northumberland, and then Cheshire, Manchester and Bolton (where my Mum & Dad still live.) I went to University in Loughborough, returned to Bolton, then ministry has taken me to Rochdale and Coventry and now Leicestershire. So where am I from? Well if Scotland are playing football/rugby/cricket/athletics, I’m Scots. But for domestic football, I’m from Manchester and for cricket, I’m Lancastrian.”
“So where is home?”
“In truth wherever we settle and are with family and friends, so increasingly that means Leicestershire. Chris was born and raised in Leicester only leaving when we were married as by that time I had joined the Police in Bolton. Our son Graham, went to De Montford University and then stayed. He now lives and works in the centre of Leicester and his partner Imogen is also from Leicester. Our daughter, Hannah lives in Burbage and when she goes into the office heads for Lutterworth. In addition, we have bought a garden with a house attached in Burbage. Although, it was bought looking to our long-term future, don’t worry. I’m not coming to wind down towards retirement, I’m eager for a few more challenges whilst Chris looks for her own new projects, as she has taken the opportunity to “retire”. Initially we will live in Burbage until the manse in Loughborough is ready. After that we will work out a pattern that allows us to take time away in Burbage or to work from there if it fits in with the Synod Transitional Ministry role.”
“So what do you do?”
“Tricky one! A lot of the time I listen to stories. I love to hear about your life, the highs and lows, the things that have brought you here at this time. Where is God in all that? Why are you in this church? What is God saying to you at the moment? Sometimes those will be in an individual conversation, at other times they will be the questions I’m asking all of us as we try to work out where God is calling us next. I’m told that my love of a story means I do a decent funeral, but I do hope we can hear the good things people get up to before they have died! I also like to tell a good story or encourage people to tell their own story. Of course, stories are best heard with a cup of tea (black, no sugar) or a pint of beer (ale, no fizz) in hand and a selection of cakes or veggie nibbles to hand. I look forward to hearing your tales, and these early days before the diary gets filled are good times for that.
“What else do you do?”
“We enjoy the theatre and music. As a family we are working our way through RSC performances and I’m sure that will continue despite being slightly further away. We volunteer at the Greenbelt Festival, enjoying time with friends who also gather there every year. I also enjoy poetry events, attending and sometimes performing at open mics. I regularly meet up with my brothers to watch football in Manchester, it still feels strange to be watching the Premier League champions, but we enjoy it whilst it lasts. Sadly, our Dad can no longer join us or remember the times we enjoyed together. Mum and Dad both live with dementia and once we are allowed to visit again we will add those visits back into our routine.
What a good question – what do you reckon?