So after considerable cogitation, and even dithering (you know the sequence: "I cogitate, you dither, she is hopeless"), I decided that Sunday last, Sixth of Easter, was The Auspicious Day to tell the congregation here at Most Holy and Undivided that the arithmetic indicates that 2009 is the Rambler's Year to Retire from full-time ministry, and from this parish -- without specifying a precise final date.
The Wardens and Vestry want to make a serious start before we are into Deep Summer (when, as we all know, Nothing Can Be Done in Churchland), on the process of seeking and interviewing the next Rector. And it seem easier to do this, without inciting the MH&U folks to their customary paranoia, if it's out on the table that a new Rector is on the wish list. Less tippy-toe-ing about and whispering behind half-opened doors.
Reactions to the announcement were mixed but nothing spectacularly ungracious. To people who made protesting noises at the door, afterward, I just said I didn't want to become "The Previous Vicar of Dibley" -- the one who expired in his prayer desk during Evensong and nobody noticed.
And from now on I can think, overtly, that much of what I wrestle with is about to become "SEP" -- Somebody Else's Problem. This in itself is good for morale!