Why did I keep all this? I wearily asked the question again and again as I sorted and sifted my multitude of files in preparation for the move to St Martin’s House, our new Centre for Mission by the Cathedral. Eight years of paper based working, and the luxury of several cupboards, had created an excess of archive and record! Why did I keep all this? The answers have varying degrees of legitimacy. More positively there were occasions when facts could be checked, events revisited and false claims countered. It reflected a liking for reading things on paper rather than screens. But l also know that more questionable motives were at play, not least a sense that somehow my history, my identity, would be diminished if the physical record was destroyed. It’s the ‘but they will need it for my biography’ syndrome that I know that others share. Of course there is a proper place for records, personal and work-related, a proper judgement has to be made about what to keep. I can only hope that in the vast amounts of paper sent for re-cycling nothing critical has been thrown away! However we can’t keep every printed word that and we are not what we keep in our files! The story of who I am, or you are, or we are, is a living story that moves on. When you read this we will have moved on. I and colleagues from both Church House and the Cathedral will be building the next phase of our common story in this Diocese as we enjoy the new facilities at St Martins House. We will have survived the move; the myriad of packing cases that filled the old Church House will have done their task, and already the new opportunities for welcome, hospitality, mission and outreach in partnership with others will be developing; and in ways that I suspect that despite all our planning will surprise and excite us!
2011 is a year of opportunity and possibility for us all. St Martin’s House is one focus; another is the renewed Launde Abbey. As highlighted by the visit of Prince Charles at the end of January, as the main house became again open for guests it is a well of prayer from which all of us can draw. These are two special places and two gifts to the Diocese of Leicester that sit alongside the vision, energy and creativity of our parishes in their witness to Christ. There will still be files in my office although many fewer than before and increasingly held on the computer. But they are not the story – only a modest resource. What people will be interested in the future is not what you and I store in the cupboard but what we do for Christ in the world. Ven. Richard Atkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
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Monthly magazine of the Diocese of Leicester