Oh, what with one thing and another, I am realising both time and situations mean there's less and less I can (or an willing to) share in a public forum, no matter how anonomysed the content may be. So, apologies in advance for the intermitancy of postings.
But, what's been going on? Well, Remembrance Sunday went really well. Yes, I was nervous, mainly due to the nature of the service rather than the increased numbers present. Finding the balance which leans towards commenoration, without celebration, triumpalism or nationalism is hard to trend, especially with the knowledge there were former and current service personel in the congregation. But, with proper preparation, I got that balance right.
Everything went really smoothly, especially the public act of memorial. That says a lot of those who, not only attended, but organised the order of the laying the wreaths, music, etc. All I had to do was say the right words and trust the other things would come together - and they did.
And the church service was pretty cohesive. I think that was the best service I have lead, thus far, at Airside, so it's good to feel I am improving and learning. The only 'glitch' was the point after the final hymn when people, not familiar with church services began to sit. When everything had gone well, thought - "don't do this to me" - but a voice in the back of my head reminded me to ask the congregation to remain standing. A minor glitch, but a lesson learned from it was to ask people to remain standing after the final hymn, in such services, in future.
Since the service feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, both on the day and throughout the week. Even The Boss was pleased. And I don't mean that in a she's really pedantic and niggly way, but it's her job to point out where I could improve etc. The only thing she asked about was my use of the pulpit, but that was more to see if I'd thought that through, rather than to critique.
So, I'm pleased I had the courage to ask to lead this service while I had someone to 'hold my hand.' Much of what I may encounter in any parish was covered and I have learned I can do this well.
But with all that in mind, I am also mindful of the additional time in prayer and preparation I needed for the service. And, though I am gaining confidence and experience, I am all to mindful that is only possible through my continuing reliance on God to lead and challenge and grow me into the minister I can and need to be.