5. Thank God For Recycled Furniture

As mentioned in an earlier reflection, my job at Quainton and Oving with Pitchcott is House For Duty Team Vicar.

Ageing Vicar, House for Duty!

At my ripe old age, House For Duty is the most likely new job you could hope for in the Church of England. It means exactly what it says. You get to live in a lovely Church of England Vicarage or Rectory in return for giving two days a week plus Sundays to the ministry of the church. No salary/stipend. This was perfect for us, with me on my State Pension and an amazing base for Sarah to work from.

I know what you’re thinking. How can you look after two parish churches on two days a week plus Sundays? And the answer is – you can’t! But that really doesn’t bother me because I find ministry so fulfilling and a real privilege.

The real issue for us was furniture. We didn’t have much and we had a five bedroom house to populate!

Not a bad problem to have.

In our previous church in Chichester, we lived in a small end of terrace house on an ex council housing estate near to the University. Lots of student Let’s, loads of people living in challenging circumstances, some private homes but mostly rented. Although the house was small, it was definitely God’s place for us. We were at the heart of the community to which God had called us.

And unbeknown to us at the time, we had moved within 200 yards of Graylingwell Chapel, a decommissioned NHS Chapel which had been disused for 13 years.

A perfect location to plant a church!

We had some memorable community events on the green at the front of our house. Every year the church would pitch up and we would run a Christmas Street Party with all the trimmings and in the summer we’d run another Street Party with live music, stalls and activities for the children. We became a hub for the community.

Space in our house was an issue. Our office for most of the time we were there, was in a 12’ by 8’ shed at the bottom of the garden, kindly donated by my wonderful mother-in-law.

Arriving in the Quainton and moving into a five bedroomed Rectory was amazing if not a little daunting. We had nowhere near enough furniture – not even a dining room table and chairs. However, we were soon directed to a used furniture warehouse in Aylesbury run by the Florence Nightingale Hospice.

We picked up a very nice dining room table with chairs for £60, three beds, including a double king size for a spare guest room, various useful bits and pieces for the kitchen, living room and study. We even picked up a coffee maker for £5 which we use almost every day.

All good to go! And all proceeds for the amazing work of the Hospice.

Now, with a good base to work from, we started to learn more about our patch. And one of the first things we discovered, was the story of the devil in a boot!

That comes next!

About Steve Flashman

Steve Flashman is a singer/songwriter, published author and has appeared on TV many times over the years. He toured extensively as a professional musician and set-up a Short Term Service Charity which worked in some of the poorest areas of the world. He is currently living in Buckinghamshire UK with his wife Sarah and is Vicar of two rural parish churches.

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