Sunday, 20 June 2010
Sunday, 13 June 2010
I've presided/celebrated four times, all blue book (1982) liturgy. Which of course is all new to me, having trained and ministered south of the border! It is familiar, from Clarkston days, but still requires attention for the differences (spot the missing filoque clause, etc.!)
Being where I am, there is not a particularly strong Episcopalian presence close to me. I think Roy, in Lochgilphead, is probably my nearest diocesan neighbour. Drew in Greenock (who I have still to meet in the flesh) may be the closest geographically, over the water! The local Church of Scotland ministers and Roman priests seem to be a friendly bunch, both on Bute and in Dunoon. There seems to be comfortable blurring around the edges of where some of the brothers and sisters of this part of the world socialise and attend.
Vestry meetings are looming, and the changed priorities of the churches from waiting for a new priest to whatever their new priorities will be. Money and people, I suspect, will be an area of interest.
The family are settling in - Peter with a date for the leavers' dance, Elly with her first sleepover and 'hang-about' down the town. Jack the cat has probably made the biggest impact on the neighbours, establishing his turf with a nearby tom-cat (current score Jack 1 - Tomcat 0) and with some of the smaller residents. He is a hunter by nature, and clearly believes in the 'catch-it, skin-it, eat-it' school of relationships. Except for the skinning bit of it. And the tails. Which he leaves. Anyway, the current score there is Jack 2 - rabbits 0. Not quite sure I approve of that, but a creature's nature is what God gave it (the gist of my sermon this morning).
Monday, 7 June 2010
It is a privileged feeling, to be at the start of something. I was present at the birth of all three of my children (although I nearly missed Peter as I was parking the car at the hospital and he wasn't for hanging about), and to see them growing up into the strong individuals that they are becoming is wonderful. There are times it seems a real challenge, and they don’t want to know, and they seem to be a million miles away from us. But it remains a wonderful privilege to be their parents, to care for them, to give them a safe place to grow and become themselves.
The metaphor of raising children is not a particularly good one for church congregations. Members of a church are not little helpless bundles of humanity, wriggling about with no ability to make decisions or look after themselves. Members of a church also cannot be sent to their rooms in disgrace if they throw their weight about. No, the metaphor of child-rearing is not very good for the people of a church.
But the day before yesterday my ministry in Cowal and Bute was born, as Bishop Mark of Moray, Ross and Caithness licensed me to the charges of Holy Trinity Dunoon, with St Martin’s Tighnabruaich and St Paul’s Rothesay. The metaphor works for this new charge. My ministry here is like a new child! It is new, unformed, not really able to do much yet, but is full of potential. The privilege that I feel today is to be present at the birth of something that will grow, develop, change and eventually become something (hopefully) full, rich and, always, for the glory of God!
So, as I sit at my desk, looking out at the marvellous trees of Holy Trinity Dunoon’s site (which block the view of the sea!), and I glance over the still-cluttered, just-moved-in desk (Bible, brand-new 1982 blue book with propers and RCL, packaged headphones for Skype, congregation lists, phone message pad, paten I found in a cupboard and a set of Jesus pencil toppers), I am excited at the future. The congregations and I will form this ministry (helped by the boss, of course), but I am quite overwhelmed by the privilege of what is beginning here!