WHEN the church was advertising for a new priest for Hayling a couple of years ago, they put on the cover of their application pack a picture of a kitesurfer energetically riding the waves.
I remember looking at it, wondering what it meant.
Now, a year into my role as vicar, I understand.
There’s the fact that Hayling Island is a coastal parish of course, and kitesurfing and watersports of all varieties are important to those who live and play here.
But for me, it’s more than that.
I confess I’ve yet to go close enough to the water to get my feet wet, let alone step on to a surf board.
But I do feel as if leading churches is like riding the waves: sometimes hesitantly, sometimes with confidence.
At times making rapid calculations and a few outright guesses as to the direction and speed of the wind, doing my best to stay on my feet and once or twice falling in the water with a resounding splash (not to worry, I can swim.)
I guess that feeling applies to all sorts of things in life –- balancing jobs and family roles and new friendships and leisure.
Last Sunday on Hayling, we celebrated Sea Sunday. It’s a day to express gratitude for the beauty and bounty of the sea, to remember the hardships experienced by many who work on the sea, and to acknowledge their work with thanks.
It’s also a day to recognise just how deeply the sea can get into our souls.
I find it really interesting just how often, in the stories of Jesus, the water is mentioned. The sea is spiritually important.
Jesus calls his disciples at the shore. He teaches in a boat. He even calms the waters during a terrible storm, showing his great power over all of creation.
At the seashore, people are challenged, changed, calmed, encouraged, given fresh direction in life.
I hope in these summer months you will find time to visit the seashore to experience its beauty and its fun.
As you set a few minutes aside for yourself, be open to where you might be led.