it was an extremely busy weekend, with AT and GY coming to work with one of the congregations after the Sunday Service, and then a dash to the other congregation to the Baptism of wee A.
AT was one of my tutors in Edinburgh when I was training, and her husband a placement supervisor. She has a reputation for being very astute, affirming, supportive and honest. She is one of those people who will put into words how things ARE – good or bad, but will still leave you feeling supported, loved and strengthened by the experience.
I was pretty nervous Sunday morning – it was the first time she had heard me preach since being a “green behind the gills” ordinand 10 years ago, and my knees were knocking behind the cassock-alb, I kid you not.
But all was well, sermon well recieved (although she did admit to not knowing who REM were, the Bob Marley reference reassured her!) and I was given a mini-critique later. The congregation enjoyed lunch together and worked hard, a good analysis of where they are, where they want to be and how to get there – with them identifying practical things to get on with and address. I had to leave before the final worship to dash up the road, but left by telling them ” you lot are brilliant!” The church printers and the shredder are now working overtime, and congregation members planning to fold and distribute publicity materials.
At the other site, wee A’s baptism went well – a beautiful, gregarious 1 year old stealing the show, splashing in the water and eyeing up cake. We were worried it may have to be postponed as she had a nasty virus earlier in the week, but all was well, including the conversation with A’s gran (a member of the Free Kirk) about candles in church and the theology of baptism that we have
A tiring sunday, and a restful Monday followed.
Tuesday’s Vestry (church council) meeting followed much in the same vein as Sunday afternoon – lots of discussion of Mission, getting on with the stuff we need to do to build the kingdom of God in this wee place (and that we have to spend/raise money and energy to do this well), rather than worrying about not being here. Its easy for a small church to go into maintenance mode – to continually patch up or make do until the axe falls, or to assume the axe is coming and not bother, to become despondent about the future. None of that in the discussions we’ve been having, just a willingness to ensure that such a negative vision doesnt come about. Positive Mission Attitude – its great!