This is the stage of my ministry journey where all the paperwork for candidature has been completed and submitted, the TEEC credits have been obtained, my Methodism essay was written, screening has taken place, and the "organised chaos" of hugs, kisses, and handshakes heralded my acceptance as a candidate by the Central District Synod.
So at the risk of sounding totally selfish, I'm interested in the outcome of this year's Conference for one reason, and one reason only - WHERE IS THE METHODIST CHURCH GOING TO SEND ME?!?
Naturally, my family would like me to go somewhere local - at least I'll be able to sleep in my own bed at noght, kiss my wife goodbye in the morning, and all the other "good stuff" at home. Faith Whitby and others are fuelling this fire by chanting "Centraaaal..." in somewhat ghoulish tones.
On the other hand, being sent to Tweebuffelsmeteenskootdoodgeskietfontein would be quite an adventure as well, and a year or two on my own to acclimatise to the rigours of full-time ministry would probably do me good. (My family won't relocate until the latter part of my probation, so as to cause the least possible disruption to James' schooling - probationers tend to relocate three times in four years, according to many who have walked the road before me.)
So where would I like to go? At this stage, at the risk of sounding glib, I am very much in the place of "Here I am, Lord - send me" - so as long as the Church has SOMEWHERE to send me, that's all I can ask at this stage.
So now it's the wait for Conference - seven weeks, and counting...tick...tick...tick...