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Archive for the ‘Ministry’ Category

9/11 – 10 YEARS

10th Anniversary of Ordination & Induction

This amazing cake was made by an amazingly talented member of our congregation, it marks the 10th anniversary of my ordination and induction to Banchory-Ternan East.

Some anniversaries are ones of joy and celebration, while others, especially the anniversaries of tragedy, are particularly difficult.

When you say the ‘9/11’ people instantly know what you are talking about as they recall harrowing pictures of planes flying into the twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

So every year, as the anniversary of my ordination and induction comes around. I have mixed feelings: There is joy as I remember a special event in my life, but it is also tempered with a sense of sadness, because I also remember that there was another event that happened, which touched and shaped my ministry, and which touched and changed our world.

We pray for our world.

We pray that the fellowship of the church will stand as a sign of the possibility of barrier-breaking.

We pray for those who mourn and those who suffer – especially those who mark today an anniversary of loss.

We pray for peace.

And all God’s people said … Amen.

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Today I sat in the homes of several of our members who are going through hard times at the moment.   When I get home after such an intense day, I sometimes look back in amazement at how I have been ministered to by being the presence of people who, despite their life’s circumstances, are not decrying God for what is going on in the lives, but continue to marvel at “how great is our God”.    As I reflected on this yet again, I was humbled to think that while they thank me for my visit and my time “because we know how busy you are”, the reality is that they have encouraged me in my ministry and indeed strengthened my faith.    So imagine my delight as I have thought about all these things, and how like those I have visited today, I continue to believe just how great and faithful our God is, that I receive a link to the video below – quirky “instruments” but the words have always been favourites and for the moment this is my new favourite rendition.    So thank you to one of our worship leaders – John, for forwarding this to me, and also to the Irish Worship Band – Rend Collective Experiment.

 

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Last year we looked at the Church of England’s national campaign “Back to Church Sunday”, albeit a bit too late to join them on their chosen day.   Instead we focused on the Advent and Christmas Season to be the occasion when we encouraged each member to invite someone along to church. Either someone who had never been before or someone who was returning home. The focus of the service was not to be on those who came (always a great fear), but on the One whom we were preparing to welcome.  Invitations were available to hand out if people found it too difficult to give a verbal invitation.  (They also included our full Christmas programme).    I’m not saying we were inundated with people, but we saw some new and some returning friends. 

Our challenge is getting people to recognise that every Sunday is “Back to Church Sunday”.   Any suggestions on how to do this?

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It’s funny how some things come to mind at just the right moment.   I was talking to someone today about ministry.  They were speaking about how much we try to cram into the day; the week; the month; actually life in general, when it comes to church and ministry.  And a dim memory of something I read and used to have inside my Bible came to mind – about how it’s not all about high activity, that there has to be waiting, listening, noticing, and paying attention.   Sure enough there it was, unread for a number of years, but still relevant and a timely reminder.

It comes from Mike Yaconelli, who was a writer, pastor, theologian and satirist, who although he was writing about youth ministry when he summarized Jesus’ methods of discipling people, I feel it is relevant to all ministry.   Here’s part of what he wrote …

Hang out with the disciples…
Let them see you at your best and your worst…
Teach truths that none of your disciples can grasp at the moment…
Spend lots of time alone…
Go slowly…
Spend hours in solitude…
Don’t worry about opposition…
Ignore criticism…
Don’t expect immediate results…

Mike Yaconelli  “YouthWorker Magazine” Jan/Feb 2001

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