A bunch of curates - or trainee vicars - descended on Bermondsey today.
They were taking part in 'IME' a kind of three year training course for newly-ordained trainee-vicars, and today was their very last IME session ever and for a special treat they were allowed to escape the Diocesan Offices, usual location of IME, for a fun-packed day in Bermondsey.
IME days take place once a month and always start with Morning Prayer, followed by Bible Study. Today wee looked at Mark 6 where Jesus looks at the crowd with compassion 'because they were like sheep without a shepherd' and comes up with a truly radical solution to their predicament: 'he taught them many things.'
There were lessons here for us about looking at our communities through the compassionate eyes of Jesus and about the importance of teaching the faith.
Next up was a session entitled 'Beginning to Grow the Urban Church', a kind of case study based on our churches of St James & St Anne, followed by a walk around Bermondsey and lunch at Duns, before our final session entitled 'Mission Shaped Incumbency.'
An incumbent is a vicar, and shortly our trainee vicars will be come vicars of parishes in their own right. The aim of IME has been to help prepare them for that day. I hope our day together in Bermondsey will have been part of that.
May God bless them..