"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

"And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6.8

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19

"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12

Monday, August 15, 2011

Adjusting to life in a new church

I’d forgotten what fun going to church can be: not, I’m aware, an utterance one might hear often.

I don’t want to be unfair to the congregation of St. Smalls who were always encouraging and supportive of my ministry, but it was hard to fully appreciate that in the climate of suspicion and perpetual criticism which emanated from the central leadership.

At St. Local’s, though, the pervading culture is quite different. It is one of enabling, of affirmation, of encouragement and of support. I have read and led intercessions in worship on a number of occasions now and my observation is that the congregation and the leadership love to give positive feedback. People come and tell you that they enjoyed what you said, or how helpful they found it, or how nice it was to hear another voice out there. They tell you that they have thought about what you said or how they felt challenged and they thank you for bothering.

I shall be preaching for the first time there this week. When I asked my new vicar if she wanted me to submit my sermon in advance so that she could check it for doctrinal error she was astounded.

“No, why would I do that? I trust you. I work on the basis that people should preach what they believe. If people in the congregation don’t agree it will be a good discussion point. No, I look forward to hearing the unexpurgated version.”

I also seem to have joined the Mothers’ Union, seduced by the company of my new sparky pensioner friends and the prospect of a three course lunch for £5.45.

One of the Churchwardens sidled up to me the other week. He touched the side of his nose. “I know you’re here on work experience.” he said. “Ordination and all that.” I expected him to wink. I have, it seems, been outed.


  1. Feels good,doesn't it? That's the way church should be, and is, more often than not.

  2. All seems like a good sign to me that you are in the right place now.

  3. Back on track. I'm delighted to hear it.

  4. When I asked my new vicar if she wanted me to submit my sermon in advance so that she could check it for doctrinal error she was astounded.

    Good Lord! Was that the Missouri Synod you were in? Words fail me.

    I always think that calling is as much about the community calling us as God. Glad you finally found a community that is calling. Wonderful! :-)

  5. Not to start with Pam, but on the change of leadership it became more so.

  6. Good news! I'm so pleased for you.

  7. I was fortunate in my first post after ordination - my training vicar read my fist sermon in advance and never wanted to see another. I too felt encouraged and validated. A friend hads to submit his sermon in advance to his training Incumbent every time for the three years he was there. To this day I don't know why he put up with it.

  8. So glad that you are getting settled at a much better place:)