Monday, September 18, 2006

What it's all for.

Maggi has posted a link to a wonderful piece by Giles (inclusivechurch Super-hero) Fraser (I rather approve of him, in case you wondered) in the Church Times. Startlingly, that makes twice in one year when I've felt that my subscription is well worth the paper it's printed on, because the words that she quotes are so very close to the reality of priesthood for me.

Of course, the best things happen in parishes. Important bishops may stack up the air-miles travelling to important meetings, but it's really in parishes that the Church does its stuff: the assembly at the school; communion in the home for the elderly; going for a walk with the woman whose husband has left her; the funeral visits; the youth-club disco; fund-raising for the local homelessness charity; the bloke out walking his dog and stopping to tell you how long he has waited for his operation.

God flits in and out of the conversation. Then it all comes together on a Sunday morning, as the word is preached and the bread is broken....

This is the Church that many of us fell in love with. It's the Church that baptised us, married us, and will bury us. It's a Church that can accommodate a journey of faith that enters through periods of doubt and uncertainty. It's a Church that will hold our hand and listen to us cry.

The ministry that Giles Fraser describes is the ministry I experienced in South London in the early 1980s...it's the ministry I believe God called me into, the ministry I feel myself to be part of today, for which I thank God (though probably less frequently than I should!)

Recently the Church of England has driven me to the brink of despair...as I hear the pain of those feeling unwelcome, as I wade through buckets of managerial drivel, labour with turning dreams into PCC resolutions or contemplate the latest suit of new clothes that the Emperor has purchased. But beneath all that is the reality...
"it all comes together on a Sunday morning, as the word is preached and the bread is broken...."
God in the ordinary. God with us. Something to celebrate.

3 comments:

Caroline said...

hmmm, so, and i've been wondering for a while, with the ever increasing number of churches per incumbant and the joys of ministry which you get to partake of as 'assistant curate' as opposed to 'incumbant' is there scope at all for revd k to avoid the 'career path' and keep to the real ministry? or is the next job guanrateed to see you even moe meetinged out and having to delegate the good stuff ?

Tom said...

Kind of like what Giles writes as well - but not so sure about the "Sunday morning" bit anymore - guess in our changing world we might become more like the Nippon Seikokei (the Anglican Church in Japan)where the gathering to break bread is on a weekday evening. Equally not sure that breaking bread will be the way in for many new christians - like the early Church we need to offer other doors and ways in - before people can make a commitment and fully share in the Eucharist. With a diploma in management and part of an MBA given up for ordination training it is quite fun to see the management stuff being applied in a way that no creative commercial company would ever dream of doing. It is also good to rememember that some Diocese now have more priests than they ever have in the history - they are just not full-time.

Tom said...
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