It has been pointed out to me (on several occasions now) that I have been remiss in updating you on what is happening with the "Holy Land" sojourn. To tell you the truth, I haven't had anything to update! Now, however, a few things are starting to break loose that I can tell you about.
This past week, I had an email from John Thomson, my Ministry Council contact who is working to get me into Scotland and placed. What he has been able to tell me are the following things:
First, "the Church has now received its Sponsors Licence from the UK Border Agency and can now legally employ persons who reside outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Once I've identified a placement we will then be able to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship on your behalf, the number for which you need to quote on your visa application." We have officially entered the process of bureaucracy! This was a major first step in the whole thing. Up to last December, clergy members were exempt from this particular licensing. With crackdowns on immigration in a number of countries, we are no longer as trustworthy as we used to be, apparently.
Second, John is looking at a placement for me in the Edinburgh area. This is still very early stages, of course, so that may change, but it is at least a direction! The next bureaucratic hurdle to clear is "what I discovered today as we began to apply for your certificate of sponsorship is that we cannot do so until we have a start date and specified post for you to go to. Additionally the certificate is only valid for 3 months by which time you must have arrived in the UK and started to work." Which came first -- the chicken or the egg? Sigh. Still, the wheels are moving with a target start date SOMEWHERE in either June or July.
My house in metro Waleska (hey -- the downtown has a 4-way stop!), beautifully situated in a wooded area lake community, is on the market (has been for a month) but has had no lookers. It really must sell. I am not in a position to keep it (nor do I want to) and I don't want to be a landlady again. I did that once and that was enough. So any prayers and positive energies you have to send for those as-yet-unknown buyers are welcomed!
And that, as they say, is that for now. I continue to look around my house deciding what to keep and store versus what to release to someone else for good use. I wait anxiously to hear more word from John so I know what the next step will be. And I have two more Sundays left in the church I have served for two years now. Endings and beginnings are always mixed like marble cake....