Thursday, 28 January 2010

Holding my light under a bushel

I spent last night working with one of my ministers as we are jointly leading worship on 7th February. I had looked over the lectionary readings and the outline from the resources my home church uses (Seasons of the Spirit) briefly and had laughed at 2 of the readings. Namely Isaiah 6:1-8 and Luke 5: 1-11, as they are both about calls. God calling Isaiah to be a prophet and Jesus calling the first disciples. Just my luck the first service I've planned with one of my ministers and after my local review is about call. My minister did tell me she'd laughed too. Thanks.

Looking over the meeting, I could have prepared a little more before hand, but as is was the first time I'd worked this closely with my minister preparing a service I didn't want to go the other way and have it all prepared before I even got there. Also, I can be a little backward in coming forward, especially around people I know have more knowledge and experience than I do. I know I don't have to be like this especially with my ministers and I know I'll need to get better at it.

My home church is part of a linkage and one of the churches is having communion on that Sunday, so 2 slightly different order of services were agreed on to accommodate this. I did learn my ministers try not to have the same hymn more than once ever 6 months so they don't keep picking their favourites. They aren't really strict about this as occasionally they will have members of the congregation requesting hymns which are special to them for anniversaries and such-like. I like this idea as there are plenty of hymns to choose from and different hymns speak to different people in different ways. If I start regularly leading worship at a church I will create a spread sheet to track this.

Once we had the order of service worked out we needed to divi-up who was doing what. The only obvious bit from the 2 services we my minister would lead communion. I wasn't sure I could think of how what road to go down with the sermon, so initially said I'd do the children's address and prayers. While my minister put her son to bed I had a look at the notes on the readings in the Seasons of the Spirit resources for that week, which focused on the Luke passage. When my minister came down I commented:

"You know, I wonder what the fishermen really said to Jesus, or thought under their breath? "Here's that jinner coming to give us advice. Here we are, experienced fishermen, here all night and not caught a thing. Joe's son comes along, not a clue about fishing and tells us where to stick our nets."
There again, here's God helping people, knowing exactly what they need - just look at how Peter reacted".

At that point I was volunteered to preach the sermon. Thanks.

So, looks as though, yet again, others can see my potential better than I. It's not I doubt my abilities, far from it. I was brought up not to boast, so I will hold my light under a bushel. I'm better than I used to be, but there is definitely room for improvement.

But, in the meantime, I've a children's address to prepare for Sunday.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Prayers at home.

I lead the prayers at my home church yesterday. It was a bit of a strange experience, to be honest. Leading worship feels so right for me, but it's different at my home church as to some of the congregation I will always be wee Mrs Gerbil (that just sounds so wrong!). Others, I know, don't approve of people other than a minister leading worship. Fortunately, both of those groups of people are in the minority.

It's a very supportive congregation and they've constantly been asking my Mum and hubbie how I'm getting on. One very favourable comment I received yesterday was "to the manor born". I was very humbled by this and the other good comments as I know all I do, am, say comes from God. I'm just at the beginning of my journey to ministry, yet I already feel the growth. I felt I was leading worship at my home church in a way I hadn't really before. That is a testament to what my local assessor taught me and my walk with God.

God is truly preparing the way ahead for me on my journey. My call to serve and lead a community of His people. I need not be afraid.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

It's happening...

I'm a leader at a youth club and was having a bit of banter with some of them. I can't remember what I said, but one of the kids said "you sound like so and so's Mum". I offered my condolences to so and so.

So and so's Mum is a minister and also leads a the youth club. I mentioned this comment to her and she said "that'll be the change happening" and laughed. Thanks.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Looking ahead

I went to visit my ministers last night (two ministers in a joint ministry team). They wanted to see how I was and what I wanted/needed to do before selection conference. I took along my formal report from my local review too. Fortunately, it had just arrived in the post that day.

I let both of them read my report. One of them had recently been trained as a local assessor, so is aware of what the review is looking for. She in particular thought it was "an excellent report". I thought I came across quite well too. Plenty of positives and even the down points aren't really negatives in the lowest common denominator type way.

Having gone from being reasonably heavily involved in leading worship, along with other ministerial-type duties, at my placement, it would have been quite strange going back to only sitting in the pew every Sunday. Also, there's a bit of my thinks perhaps that's something I may be asked at selection conference - "what have you been doing since the end of your co-ordinated field assessment". With that in mind, I'm being involved leading worship at my home church (and its linkage) between now and then.

As for pastoral visits and such-like things. As I work full-time, day time things can be an issue, but I've let my ministers know if something comes along to let me know. I can easily take a ½ day (or a whole one, if necessary!). Both I and my ministers know this maybe isn't necessary - during ministry training I'll get plenty experience - but I'd still like to keep my hand in.

Conflict was briefly mentioned in my report and one of my ministers actually gave an example of a time where I had dealt with conflict very well. I must remember this and wish I'd remembered it before.

So, it was a really positive and encouraging meeting. I also was enjoying myself so much I didn't get home until past my bedtime - dirt stopout!!!

Oh, my dates for selection conference are 30th April-1st May. I'll maybe start panicking a couple of days before!!!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A wee niggle

After I was told the local review's decision, as my local assessor was leaving she congratulated me, and gave me a little advice on how to more fully put into words my sense of call. I appreciated this as I believe she knows I am called and also understands how difficult it is to put something I feel in my heart into words.

Then, she made the slightly throw away comment of something along the lines of "remember the ministry of word and sacrament has more ministries than parish ministry". I know I told her.

Since then, that statement has been coming occasionally into my mind. She had made that comment a while back too. Perhaps I am called to minister outwith parish ministry and this is God sowing the seeds for that. Perhaps I will start in parish ministry and more into another area later. All I know is I will go where God leads me and it'll be a life changing journey!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Cheerio for now

Officially, my placement ended on 2nd January. Due to the snow and my hubbie needing the car, I hadn't made it to my placement church for worship on the Sunday (3rd). So, I went along on Sunday to say goodbye and tell then my news.

I was a wee bit nervous about this. I don't like a all. I avoid them like the plague, if they are for me. Just the way I am. Just before the children's address the session clerk called me forward and made a wee speech and presented me with some flowers and a card.

It is sad to leave that congregation. I've come know they and enjoy working with them. I will let them know how I'm getting on and, no doubt, will visit at some time in the future.

I also know, if I am selected for ministry training (or should I say when?) I will feel I am constantly moving on. All the various placements and people I will learn from and work with. Until I find my own place where God leads.

Talking of where God leads. One of this placement's congregation asked, if I am selected, how long it would be before I was a minister? Just under 5 years I guessed. After a quick discussion with another member she said "that's just about the same time as your local assessor retires. You should come back here and be our minister then", or words to that effect.

I smiled and said something along the lines of "We'll just have to see what God has planned for me". Inside I was thinking if her words were prophetic until the person she'd had her brief discussion with said "well, it's better the devil you know". I wasn't sure if which way round to look at that- the congregation or me being the devil!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Local Review

Yesterday's local review went well. Just as Wednesday, I wasn't that nervous and very much felt God was upholding and supporting me during it.

Most of the questions were different, yet the same (if that makes sense) from last time. I answered as honestly and fully as I could. There was one point where I was being a little vague, I suppose. I didn’t explain the background to an example well. My local assessor added questions during that part of the interview so the panel really knew what I was meaning. I really appreciated that as she obviously wanted me to do well.

The only question which slightly threw me, as I'd never thought of it before, was how do I deal with apathy? Again, especially being put on-the-spot, I gave my answer. I wasn't sure if it was okay, but the national assessor told me "there's no right answer to this - if there was I'd be writing yours down and using it". With that I very much got the impression the question was more intended to see if I'd be thrown.

At the end of the review I was told the panel would make their decision after I'd left and I would get the outcome and report, hopefully, within 7 days. I was also told there might be a delay as the national assessor has no e-mail access due to no manse heating. That was understandable, given the weather. Also, I wasn't too bothered having to wait - I'd worked hard to get to this stage and there was nothing I could do to alter the outcome. Another couple of days wait wouldn't make any difference.

An hour after my review the bus to the panto was leaving my placement church, so I just made a cup of tea and read a book while I was waiting. I'd just popped out to my car to get something from it and my local assessor was looking for me. The ministries support officer needed to see me. Right, I thought, she just wants to check my contact details…

No - given the possible delay getting the panel's decision out to me, she told me there and then its decision. They have decided I am suitable to attend a selection conference! I was so happy I could have kissed my local assessor.

So, God is with me - it is His call, not mine or others. Well, at least the local review panel think so. I'll get my selection conference date with my full review report. It will be interesting to see what has been said.

Now, I wonder what I do with myself in the meantime?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Decision time

My local review is tomorrow afternoon. I'm less anxious about it than I think I should be. I suppose I've done my 6 months placement, the various reports have been written and I know what I know. There's not much more I can do to prepare myself for it.

I pray God will give me the right words and actions that the review panel will see Him calling me. It's in His hands now.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

You know it's cold when...

There's a local bonspiel happening in Kirkcaldy. One of the curlers, who has lived in Kirkcaldy for 40 years, had never played on real ice!

There were also ice skaters, but I didn't get a photo of them either. The curlers were talking of playing tomorrow and had been playing yesterday. By the sounds of things it's such an rare opportunity they were making the most of it. And why not?