Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The ongoing cycle

I have been castigated for failing to post hereupon for many a day, but the only explanation I can offer is the lack of time to do so, and the dearth of subjects upon which I wish to comment.

Leaving aside the disastrous vote on women bishops, and today's climbdown by the Government over same-sex marriages in our churches (it will be illegal for CofE clergy to conduct such a marriage unless the CofE as a whole agrees to it - we're such a welcoming organisation - not!), so much is going on in the local churches where we continue to struggle with the future of one, and I feel like nothing I have said over the past 11 years has made any difference whatsover in the other 10. Maybe this is all well and to the good, for I have seen too many churches where congregations have become focused on the person up the front rather than on the reasons for gathering together in the first place.

One church has quaestioned the choice of carols made by an assistent who is leading their seasonal worship. The service contains all the old familiar carols with the exception of one unfamiliar one that is sung to the tune of "Morning has broken" (it wouldn't have been my choice, but that's beside the point). There was also the comment made over one of the other perennial favourites that it is too hard to sing, and that people come along to such a service to sing the familiar. I commented back that if someone has been asked to lead, then they must be allowed to lead. Thinking more upon it over the last few days I realise that the request has come from a desire for a community sing-song whereas the leadership has come from the standpoint of Christian worship. Christmas is always a balancing act between the two, but I do not like the idea of the "tail wagging the dog!"

My own Carol service layout for the two churches in which I shall conduct such a celebration is traditional in music, although there are continual comments that they don't know "Of the Father's love begotten" despite my having chosen it every year since 2002. However, I am interjecting two passages from the apocryphal Infancy Gospel of Jesus into the usual canon of nine. I'll be interested to see what sort of comment that brings.

It's my eldest brother's birthday today, his wife's tomorrow, and my other brother's in about a week's time. I have yet to send greetings since it took me two days to deal with all the Christmas cards and the accompanying post. I sneakily bought all my stamps for this year and next before the postal charges rose in the summer, so that has saved me numerous £s.

Today - my day off - I have visited the dentist as a large filling dropped out last Friday, put up the greenery and string for the Christmas cards received in the hall, and am now awaiting the arrival of two new duvets - 15 tog - just in time for this cold snap. I have still to sort out the house for hosting the Benefice Shared Supper this Friday night, and that will entail moving tables and chairs and getting as many seating spaces as possible, for the Chrismas Supper is always well supported. I also need to get the lights up on the Christmas tree in the garden, though I can't do the house one until after the supper, otherwise I lose too much space.

The PCC's continue; there's the star to put up on the church tower opposite, the crib to be sorted out, and the church tree to erect. More sermons, more printing of carol sheets for the "Crib & Carols" on Christmas Eve in another of the churches, and not forgetting shopping for seasonal provisions as well.

Oh, and there's another birthday to mark this coming Sunday, when the person's parents are also coming down to visit.

Mind you, as this coming Sunday is Gaudete Sunday I shall get to wear my new pink chasuble for the first time! Let's hope I don't get candle grease or wine on it.


  1. Birthday wishes to the person! Good to hear you're in the pink!

  2. What is attractive about rural ministry? Apart from the countryside.My heart goes out to you.
    My view "Nobody comes, Nobody goes, nothing happens, its awfull" To misquote from "Waiting for Godo"

  3. Rural ministry is wonderful. Don't count the bums on pews but look at percentages instead. When I was in city centre ministry we had a population of 22,500 and a Sunday attendance across our 5 churches of about 150. Here the total population is about 1800 and we have a total Sunday attendance of about 50. And then there's the closer interaction with village life. I hosted the monthly Shared Supper last night. 17 people, and of them about 5 are not "church-goers", yet we meet togather and hopefully sow some sort of seed in their thinking. The only overt "God-bit" of the evening is Grace before we start. If I didn't love it I wouldn't still be here after 12 years (next January).