Sunday, 28 February 2010

Comment Moderation

Recently, I've had a spate of comments which have not been very appropriate. So, I have decided to moderate comments before publication. I always appreciate comments, whether they take my standpoint or another, so long as they are balanced and fair. Where they are not, I'm afraid the comment will be deleted prior to posting.

I will try to check comments regularly, so you won't have to wait too long for your comment to appear on my blog. Thanks for your patience meantime.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Good, yet strange meeting

A couple of weeks ago one of my ministers got in touch with me. I'd (with her consent) put her down as a referee on one of the ministries council's forms I'd filled out following my referral to national selection conference. She'd received the form ministries wanted her to complete and wanted a chat with me about how I was feeling about selection conference, my call etc.

Well, we sort of talked about that, but also talked the forthcoming general election, the cost of public transport (especially buses), council tax and generally put the world to rights. I also briefly babysat 2 of her 3 children while she picked up her third son (her hubbie was at another church meeting). So, all in all, I'm not entirely sure if she got the answers she needed/wanted. I suppose she must have.

A couple of things which did amused me about the form was these questions:
  • Can the person see the your completed form before conference? (Or something along those lines). I told my minister it was up to her. She thought the question rather odd, as "there's nothing I'd write on the form I wouldn't say to your face". That's a relief!
  • Is there any reason why the person is not a suitable candidate for ministry? If yes, state why? Jokingly, my minister said "yes". I'm sure she would have told me before now and certainty would not have encouraged me during my placements and to be involved in worship since the completion of my last placement.
Now, I'll be interested to read what she does say.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Encouraging comments

I lead prayer in my home church again today. My minister had strayed from the lectionary and the theme of the service was "be love". A very tenuous link with Valentine's day.

I received a very positive response from both congregations. One comment which stood out was "You speak very well. You're very clear and go at a good pace." I feel I do that, but it's reassuring to hear it from someone else.

One comment which is recurring at both congregation goes something along the lines of "You're doing so well, Mrs Gerbil. What stage in your training are you?" I explain the situation, that I'm in the selection process. The answer is "Oh, I have no doubt you'll do well. No doubt at all". These are good and encouraging comments. Though, it has to be said, my home church's congregation is going to be slightly bias!

My minister's Mum was visiting today. She, too, is a minister. After the service she caught up with me and thanked me for my prayers. She also asked about my going through the selection process for ministry and where I was with that. I filled her in. She told me "From what I saw today I would be surprised if you didn't get selected" I thanked her. Apparently she used to be a selector at selection schools.

I suppose I could be doom and gloom and say these people care about me and want me to do well. But I won't. I am going to treat them as intended - encouragement from God through others that the path I am following is His.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Good news for a change!

This article amused me. I knew there would be a benefit to my real ale drinking eventually!!! And to think, when I was a child I was told drinking milk would give me strong bones!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

7th February 2010 sermon critique.

As I mentioned here, I was leading worship with my minister at both my home church and the linkage church. It could be argued I drew the short straw, as I wrote and preached the sermon.

The sermon was based on Isaiah 6:1-8 and Luke 5:1-11 and the general theme for the service was call. God calling Isaiah and the first disciples, but also all followers of Christ being called to follow and show the Good News to the world.

As the first disciples Jesus called were fishermen, I picked up on nets as a bit of a theme in my sermon. How our nets of self-doubt and responsibility can hold us back from following God's calling, but also how our interconnected lives can spread God's love like a net radiating out from us.

I feel it was a good sermon. My points were clear and I brought in stories the congregation could relate to. It also came together well, and that isn't just me saying that, I had a couple of good bits of feedback which told me that.

But, I was really nervous. More nervous than I have been when I've preached at my last placement. I think that's a combination of familiarity - will they just see "wee Mrs Gerbil"? - and my concern I would be speaking the words God needed the two congregations to hear.

My nerves weren't helped by either of the services being held in a traditional worship setting. At the linkage church, the service was in the village hall. I was expecting this, but thought there may have been a lectern to stand behind. No such luck. I held my notes and threw them in the air twice! Managed to catch them both times thankfully!

At my home church, the brand new boiler (that is another story), which heats the main worship area, wasn't working, so the service was in the hall. At least the table was higher and there was a table-top lectern which I could put my notes on! Having said that, I had been swithering whether or not to use the pulpit at my home church -neither of my ministers tend to use it as it's very high. That wasn't something I had to think about.

Being in the hall meant the congregation were much closer and, to be honest, does make for a more intimate service. It also means I could feel - really feel - the congregation listening to me. That's not a bad thing, I'm just not used to it!

I like having a lectern or pulpit for preaching the sermon. It gives me somewhere to put my notes, bible etc and my hands. I always wonder what to do with my hands.

During both services, but more so at my home church, there was a bit of my sermon where I could feel myself getting quite emotional. I didn't let it get in the way, and I had thought when I wrote it that part may have caught me. As my hubbie said, at least it shows I care. From a couple of the comments I received about that particular bit, (coincidentally, one from each church) I think they were surprised I would be like that. What a lot of people don't realise is I'm a big softy and really quite shy. Just shows you, you can know someone for years, but not really know them at all.

After the service, I received much positive feedback, even from people who generally don't comment. Even my ministers where impressed. And not all the comments were "nice sermon", there were specifics, such as "I liked how you linked all the themes together in the end" or "I really appreciated the inclusiveness of what you said". Knowing the congregations, I know someone would pick me up if they disagreed or felt my presentation was poor.

I'm just amazed I had this talent I didn't even know I had until about this time last year. When God calls He gives those He calls the skills to do what He has called them to do. He certainly has done that with me.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

First Snowdrops of 2010

Last week these reminded me even in the middle of the cold grey winter, spring lies just under the surface, waiting to burst out:

When I was taking the photo, I was lying flat out on my front. This was on the Aberdour to Dalgety Bay coastal path and, even though is was really cold last Saturday, there were plenty people about. I couldn't see then, but could feel the vibes of "what on earth are you doing? And why are you using such a big lens?". Obviously not photographers!!!

I have to take the photo the way I did. I hope it allowed me to better reflect the glory of God in such a small flower. I also wanted an excuse to use our Sigma 80-200mm F2.8 lens for a macro shot!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

No pressure - just speak for God.

I started writing the sermon for Sunday last night and, I have to say, it's coming together quite nicely. It's not finished - I gave up at 7:45 and hadn't had dinner! - but I know where I want to take the rest of it.

Then it'll just need re-read, tweaked and added to over the next couple of days.

I hope it lives up to expectations, though. As I'm working with my minister on this service, I e-mailed her my initial thoughts on Sunday. Her reply was "Sounds really good".

As long as I speak the words God needs my home church to hear, I think that'll be enough.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Same talk, different reactions

I was doing the children's address at both my home church and its linkage. The linkage came first and I feel it went well there. I got the message across well and had a bit of interaction with the (two) children there.

It was okay, but could have been better at my home church. There were about 15 children there yesterday and a fair few don't know me as they've started coming (or come back) during my 2 placements. Because I didn't know the children, I couldn't get the same interaction as I did at the linkage (I pretended to ignore one of the children). I think I should have prepared a volunteer to help with this and not necessarily a child.

No much to worry about, but I know I need to be aware of this.