Friday, 18 April 2014

How to do Holy Week?

Today is Good Friday and there are three different events in our benefice - Easter Garden making with children's activities, an Hour at the Cross and A quiet service of words and music. The Rector@6 has not been involved in organising these - space has been there for groups or individuals to lead the events. Holy Week has evolved this year like that. The Rector@6 has gently nudged and there have been two excellent musical events led by members of the benefice. We began the week with a 'desert island discs' type evening led by two of our musicians who discussed the music that had been influencial in their lives. We had an afternoon concert of meditation and reflection which was beautifully put together and performed by a group of friends. It was strange to have come to church in the middle of a working week and sit and reflect, while listening to awe inspiring music. What a rare opporunity! And we have today's events. There has been a small audience each time - and that's where the work needs to be put in - get the information out to the villages!

The other difficulty is getting people to move on and come up with new ideas. Changing things is not popular in rural parishes. Recently the Rector@6 had problems with a parishioner who wanted the church to be the same as when they were growing up and thus suitable for the family funeral! There are builders working in that particular church - putting in a mezzanine floor for the bell ringers and a new kitchen underneath - all the money raised in advance of work starting! That's progress ....and it is not wanted by some.

Returning to Good Friday  - Jesus' death on a cross is a challenging, unpleasant event to have to talk about. But we know what comes next and we should be inspired to spread the good news. People are becoming unfamiliar with the Christian message and need to be reinspired to listen again. If we keep putting on the same events and telling the story in the same way - people will choose not to listen. We are consumer society - even in these rural parts.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Horses at the rectory

Silence from the rector's wife (once the Curate's wife) - now there is a rarity! The weeks are flying by in a blur; writing is taken up with the weekly church newssheet that I edit and minute writing when needed. Blogging can no longer be used to vent my opinions or emotions because there are lurkers out there! Some parishioners admit to reading this blog – good for you – I’m pleased you have found it ...and others read and say nothing. How do I know this?-  Because people let slip in conversation (without realising it) things that I have written about. If asked, I am always happy to talk about blogging but I do not advertise the fact that I blog.
Another reason for the silence is that words have failed me on so many occasions when I see what people expect from their Rector. It seems that with six churches, life is like a six horse carousel; - each church being represented by a horse that is either going up or down, as it circles around the Rector@6. He finds himself riding upwards as churches begin to reach outwards and think about mission and, when there are debts to be paid, arguments to be resolved and hurts to be mended, he rides downwards.  Perhaps, after a certain number of years in ministry, you stop riding these waves.
The other problem that is more unexpected, is that if the Rector@6 tries to make the church more accessible to people who do not come to church regularly, he finds that they have very little understanding and want everything on their agenda – particular dates and times (usually having invited the guests or booked the hall for the reception before speaking to the rector). Heaven forbid having to have the baptism on a Sunday and in a church service! Old friends or family vicars are pulled out of retirement and are recruited before speaking to the actual incumbent. It’s one thing making yourself accessible and another – being walked all over!
I have thought seriously about ending this blog and just keeping diaries to reflect on events at a later date. So often there are things I cannot write about – but I am shocked by some of the behaviour I have seen since being a ‘wife of ’. Yet Vicars are some of the most content people in their work. I can see why – because when things fit together and people work together – the world is a better place!
 Despite all the debris, life is beginning to make sense – and maybe the words will begin to flow more easily in time.