Greetings from your Youth and Families Minister

Greetings from your Youth and Families Minister! I have a brave confession to make: I am an avid Aviation Geek. This may not be news to some of you. I came very close to getting my pilot’s licence and my hot air balloon licence. Lack of funds and a desire to seek greater career fulfilment at a lower salary were all that prevented me from finishing both. Still, I have a couple of “apps” on my iPad that fuel my “geekdom”. If you’re of a technophobic disposition, please bear with me. One is called “Flight Radar 24” and essentially tracks all flights across the globe in close enough to real time as possible (it’s a bit like looking at a large map but with aeroplanes floating across it). The other is called “Live ATC” and you can listen in on Air Traffic Control and radar units across the globe (within reason). There are a few countries that are not featured, the UK being one of them. But that’s okay – I have an airband radio for here anyway. If anyone has ever listened in on conversations between Air Traffic Control and pilots you will probably wonder what on earth they’re talking about. It’s a whole new language. But it is a service that serves to keep the skies safe and maintain adequate separation between all aircraft. I am fortunate to hold a Flight Radio Operators Telephony (“RT”) Licence so the language is no longer alien to me. It means I am legally able to operate a flight radio. I obtained it as part of my flight training.
One of the things I enjoy most is the amazing parallels I find between my passion for aviation and my passion for God. For example, sometimes when I struggle with what to do in my role I know I have a God who, like an Air Traffic Controller, sees everything on his radar and can direct me. He isn’t necessarily going to direct me out of trouble – sometimes the “flying” can be challenging e.g. over “rough terrain” or “heavy cloud” where I can’t see the way out – but it makes me rely on God/ATC a lot more. The point of having ATC is to maintain two-way conversation also. Sometimes it is a three-way conversation as other pilots can relay a message to each other if one is having difficulties hearing the ATC unit. Sometimes we need another “pilot” to relay God’s message to us. Sometimes we hear directly from Him. The point is – He is there and He sees all. I also believe that, contrary to ATC, He doesn’t talk in jargon or a specific language that we have to learn in order to communicate. He speaks on our terms, on our level, in words we know and understand.
In this era of change that we are experiencing both in our Benefice and our country, I for one find great encouragement from the concept that God is, in fact, in control. He gives guidance and direction on the paths we choose. But we are not automatons. It’s up to us, as the pilots, to pursue that path. Have a great summer and see you around! Feedback on this is always welcome: miriamjoliver@gmail.com
Mim 