OVER the summer I’ve been on sabbatical, researching and reflecting on Sports Ministry and at the same time undertaking an Ironman Triathlon in Sweden, raising £5,000 for the charity Mercy Ships.

Having completed the 2.4-mile sea swim, the 112-mile bike ride, and then a marathon (all in 14 hours and 17 minutes), I can confirm that it is the toughest thing I have ever done!  

I have also been contemplating getting the Ironman tattoo – something of a tradition amongst athletes who have completed the challenge. I’ve concluded that I should only get one if completing the event has changed my life, and if I am going to stay in shape.

Jesus once said: “I came that you might have life, life in all of its abundance.” And if that is true then those who lead our churches should be good examples of living life abundantly; yet most clergy (just like me) work too many hours, don’t spend enough time with those who love them, and don’t spend enough time getting into physical shape.

With that in mind I am now determined to care for myself, body mind and soul, spending more time with those who love me and spending more time keeping in shape. Not caring for ourselves is something most of us are very good at. Typically, the vicar is a physical wreck, our famous sports heroes are emotional wrecks, and the rest of us are quite often both!

It is time we started caring for ourselves, actively scheduling time to look after ourselves – emotionally, spiritually and physically.

And finally, have I decided to get the tattoo? I am still undecided – I guess you’ll just have to watch this space!

Holy Trinity Church, Watermoor