Tag Archives: Ministry

Where it all began….

The seventy-odd year old patient in one of the EMI wards at the Mental Healthcare Hospital always greeted me with, “What are you doing here, you stupid (expletive removed) old parson?”.

Then there was Bernadette, in another facility, who always groaned when I came to conduct a worship service in her Care Home. “It’s that blethering bugger – again! Why? Why?”

As “Withnail” said, “We’ve come on holiday by mistake”, so I often felt that I had stumbled into Holy Orders by accident.

Wanting to stay on at University after my MA, and interested in Ecclesiastical History, the only way to secure a grant in those days was to become a candidate for the Church of Scotland ministry.

The “Selection School”, a three day residential series of interviews and psychological and other evaluations and tests, was the “way in” on a journey that began in 1970.

At the last minute, I had cold feet. Yet I attended. And literally had cold feet…and legs, arms, torso; obviously, the Church, being perpetually skint, couldn’t afford the shillings for the meter.

As Rabbie Burns, in one of his most stinging poems, put it,

“As cauld a wind as ever blew,
A cauld kirk, and in’t but few”. (“In Lamington Kirk”)
It was grim, especially at night: icy, numbing, desolate.

There’s a Bible verse that speaks exactly of the conditions in the small cupboard of a bedroom assigned to me: Isaiah 28:20 (New International Version)

“The bed is too short to stretch out on, the blanket too narrow to wrap around you.”
The window didn’t close fully, and a freezing Edinburgh “hoolie” roared through the large gap (handy in one respect, in that, as smoking was banned on the premises, I could blow cigarette smoke out through it).

The bed was, if not short, then narrow. This was Kirk property, and, no doubt, it was designed to prevent anyone else “sharing”

I had to lie on my side. More, because of the cold, I wore my dressing gown on top of my pyjamas and socks – on my feet, naturally, but also a pair on my hands in a vain attempt to keep warm.

Was it the cold that stultified me so much that I zipped through all the various tests, in order to get first to the one bar electric fire in the library in order to thaw out?

I don’t know.

But here I am, forty something years later, a paid up member of “God’s Frozen People”

I wonder what the journey would have been had I not travelled the Ministry route….
TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

“The Road Not Taken”
Robert Frost – 1874–1963 – Mountain Interval, 1920.

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Like a mighty tortoise moves the Kirk of God….. but we’re getting there

Church votes in favour of allowing ministers in same sex civil partnerships

16 May, 2015
The Church of Scotland has voted in favour of allowing people in same sex civil partnerships to be called as ministers and deacons.
The Church of Scotland has voted in favour of allowing people in same sex civil partnerships to be called as ministers and deacons.

The historic decision was made by the General Assembly on the Mound in Edinburgh today, where the motion was passed by 309 votes in favour and 182 against.

The outcome is the culmination of years of deliberation within the Church. The motion has faced a series of debates and votes before the final decision was arrived at this afternoon. This included 31 of the Church’s presbyteries endorsing the move to 14 who opposed it.

This means the Church has adopted a position which maintains a traditional view of marriage between a man and woman, but allows individual congregations to ‘opt out’ if they wish to appoint a minister or a deacon in a same sex civil partnership.

In a speech later today the outgoing Moderator Very Rev John Chalmers is expected to say:

“There’s something else that we have to learn as a Church and that is the power of harmony. Of course we need the freedom across the Church to shape the life and worship of the Church according to local needs and local gifts (and we have seen wonderful examples of this – from Soul Space at Johnstone High Parish to the Shed in Stornoway) but we cannot go on suffering the pain of internal attacks which are designed to undermine the work or the place of others. It’s time to play for the team.

“And let me be very clear here – I am not speaking to one side or another of the theological spectrum. I am speaking to both ends and middle. It is time to stop calling each other names, time to shun the idea that we should define ourselves by our differences and instead define ourselves by what we hold in common – our baptism into Christ, our dependence on God’s grace, our will to serve the poor and so on.”

Co-ordinator of the Principal Clerk’s office, Very Rev David Arnott, said: “The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland decided today to allow individual Kirk Sessions the possibility of allowing a Nominating Committee to consider an application from a minister living in a civil partnership. During a vacancy a Kirk Session may, but only if it so wishes, and after due deliberation, agree to a Nominating Committee accepting an application from such a minister. No Kirk Session may be coerced into doing so against its own wishes. This decision was in line with a majority of presbyteries who voted in favour of such a move.”

Because the debate predates the legalisation of gay marriage the proposed change mentions only civil partnerships, not same-sex marriages.

The Assembly will be asked on Thursday to consider amending today’s new Church law to include ministers in same-sex marriages.

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40 years on

I chalked up 40 years of Ordained Ministry in June 2014.  What nobody knows is that I wanted to quit by 1977.  There was no specific reason, just a general realisation that perhaps this career path wasn’t for me, although my congregation in this, my first Charge, were lovely.

I remember taking my infant son, Matthew, into Stirling (the nearest town) to buy him clothes in a wonderful young-kiddies shop, and stopping, on the way back, at the Job Centre (it was probably called something else in these far off Bay City Roller days).

The middle-aged chap,who interviewed me, turned out to be a Kirk Elder and a Boys Brigade Officer in his church, and, boy!, was he totally flummoxed!

“What?! You want a different job?!! And you’re a minister. I’ve never heard of anything like this before!”, said he, puzzled and with a look of pity, mixed with incredulity.

There was little or no more interaction, and I left……..to carry on ministering

And here we are, after 40 years of toil, sweat, tears, overwhelming joy, and a wonderful journey which I’ve never since thought of leaving!

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“Man of God; Man of the People”

  •  After my Finals, some of us congregated in a posh St Andrews cocktail lounge. An American lady – on vacation – was waiting at the bar with a dear friend and I. She said something along the lines of “What are you guys celebrating?” And I told her that we’d finished our divinity exams. My friend, trying to justify his slight intoxication (!) continued the conversation by saying, “To be a man of God, you’ve got to be a man of the people”

    And that’s kind of stuck with me after 40 years of ordained ministry

  •  George MacLeod wrote:
“The cross must be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am claiming that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble, because that is where He died and that is what he died about and that is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen should be about.”
 
  • so many of us cling to the traditional belief that we – in the pulpit – are “six feet above contradiction”; that spiritual leadership becomes spiritual dictatorship, because “we know best”. As mentioned, I was ordained in 1974 and thought that I knew it all – it was only when mixing with congregational members and parishioners that I realised that I wasn’t really addressing their hopes, fears and aspirations. I went to the places they frequented, including pubs and bars and clubs, and was eventually accepted as not so much “The Minister’s here – watch your language” but as part of the fellowship of general humanity. Yes, there was still respect for my role, but the mythology built around the “set apart” person was diminished.
 

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Working in a Pub

Learning from the Landlord

Posted by Paul Levy

 

I recently got locked out of my house and spent the morning in our local greasy spoon, ‘The Hanwell Cafe’, and the afternoon in our local pub, ‘The White Hart’, affectionately known in the area as ‘The Dripping Blade’. It’s an old style London pub that hasn’t been gentrified. I took Trueman in there on his recent trip. He was terrified; constantly looking shifty as if he’d walked into a Gospel Coalition committee meeting. On another visit recently with a minister friend it took us 15 minutes to convince a man under the influence that we weren’t the ‘Old Bill’. In a pub like the White Hart policemen are not the most popular of people.

The previous landlord of the White Hart used to say to me: ‘You know what the problem with this pub is?’, at this point I shrugged and he gesticulated with his arms and said in an exasperated tone ‘The locals!’. He had a point in some ways, but, although having a fair crack at running the pub, with an attitude like that it was never going to be a roaring success. In a traditional English pub you go partly for the vibe.It’s the same faces, telling the same jokes, enjoying each other’s company. In the words of the Cheers song ‘You wanna go where everybody knows your name’. For a time darts was banned at the White Hart because of the potential danger and pool cues could only be obtained when asked for at the bar, it didn’t make for the most congenial of atmospheres.

The new landlord and landlady are Polish and not particularly adept in the art of pulling pints but both are delighted to be there. The pub food is still as bad; an English breakfast cooked badly with Polish sausage is no fun. It’s a man’s pub. There’s rarely a woman in there and when she is I would have thought she would instantly regret it.

Having spent an afternoon in there being quizzed by locals about why I had a Bible and a lap top it struck me there are lots of similarities between running a local pub and being a minister. I know the obvious differences. I’m not proposing that we start pub church and all that kind of stuff, but there is a sense where a landlord must be warm as toast, hospitable, tough, hard working, able to talk to people, working ridiculously long hours, willing to take the criticism and moans of regulars, being able to accept whoever walks in the door and try and engage with them, having the guts sometimes to ask people to leave. I wonder whether part of ministerial training should involve working in a pub?

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The Kirk and Gay Clergy (article from “The Scotsman” newspaper)

General Assembly

 

Church of Scotland faces breakaway over gay clergy

The General Assembly decided to allow gay clergy. Picture: Getty
The General Assembly decided to allow gay clergy. Picture: Getty

By ALISTAIR MUNRO and CRAIG BROWN
Published on 31/05/2013 03:14

THE Church of Scotland is facing a fresh crisis over the controversial issue of allowing gay clergy after two churches threatened to break away from the Kirk.

Congregations at the two churches, both in the Western Isles, are to vote on whether to quit the Kirk over the issue.

The congregation at Kinloch and elders of Stornoway High, on the Isle of Lewis, are the first to react to the Kirk’s decision to allow gay clergy, which was passed last week by the General Assembly. Sources suggested at least ten more congregations could be considering similar votes this summer and warned the Church of Scotland “could be facing extinction in the Western Isles”.

The ordaining of ministers in same-sex relationships has divided the Kirk since traditionalist members attempted to block the appointment of Scott Rennie, who is gay, in 2009.

So far, two congregations have left the Kirk over the issue – St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow and Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen – both 
before the Church of Scotland took the historic step last week of voting in favour of allowing openly gay men and women to become ministers.

The two churches now considering breaking away are from the evangelical wing of the Kirk, which believes in the “gospel truth” and follow the written word of the Bible.

The evangelical wing is strong in many parts of the Highlands and Islands, and is at odds with Church’s more liberal sections and their position on the ordination of gay ministers.

One source from within the evangelicals said: “On current form, it is perfectly conceivable that in two years time the Church of Scotland will have nobody left in places like Lewis. Many congregations across Scotland are deeply unhappy with what the General Assembly decided.

“Now that Kinloch have announced their intention to leave, it could have a domino effect across the Highlands and Islands, with many more planning to leave – easily running into double figures. If rumours are correct, come May 2015 the national church could be facing extinction in the Western Isles.”

The minister and members of Kinloch Church of Scotland have made a unanimous decision to consider their position, saying they are unhappy with the way in which the Kirk has handled the issue of gay ministers.

Kinloch minister, the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell, said the General Assembly should not have even tackled the matter.

He added that it was not so much the decision by the General Assembly that had caused them to consider a breakaway from the Kirk, but the fact the issue was being discussed at all. “They have been investigating and talking about this for at least four years,” he said.

“As far as we can see this is a question of what authority God’s word has within the denomination within the Church.

“If the word of God had the authority, which it should have, the question and debate would never have been in the General Assembly in the first place.

“God has spoken quite clearly and it only takes a few seconds to read what God has to say on this issue.”

Meanwhile, elders at Stornoway High Church held a meeting on Wednesday night and also decided to vote on whether to leave the Kirk. The congregation narrowly voted to remain part of the Kirk in 2011 when it became clear that the Church of Scotland was moving in the direction of allowing gay people to become ministers.

At the General Assembly earlier this month an attempt was made to find a compromise to satisfy all within the Kirk, but it has not gone down well with the evangelical wing.

The General Assembly maintained the Church’s traditional stance on the doctrine of human sexuality, but allowed congregations to decide themselves on whether to allow a minister in a same-sex relationship.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We have not been informed of any congregation wishing to leave the Church of Scotland following last week’s General Assembly and the debate on the proposals put forward by the Theological Commission, and we would be saddened if this were the case at such an early stage.”

A summit is to take place for evangelical ministers next month to hold “crisis talks”.

It has been organised by Rev Kenny Borthwick, now leader of Holy Trinity Church in Edinburgh, urging traditionalists to gather and “repent, pray and work for reformation that is so badly needed”.

A Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “By voting for political correctness over faithfulness to the Bible, it can be no surprise the Church of Scotland has jeopardised its own future.”

Just prior to the General Assembly, the Free Church’s moderator Rev Dr Iain D Campbell said the underlying principal of the 1843 Disruption – which caused the split in the Church 170 years ago – was the key issue, ultimately freedom for the Church to be governed by the “Word of God” alone.

Over the past few years a number of ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Paul Gibson resigned his charge of Tain Parish Church after just eight months into the post. The Reverend Ivor MacDonald left Kilmuir and Stenscholl on Skye and the Reverend John Murdo MacDonald resigned from Lochalsh.

The Church of Scotland is facing a fresh crisis over the controversial issue of allowing gay clergy after two churches threatened to break away from the Kirk.

Congregations at the two churches, both in the Western Isles, are to vote on whether to quit the Kirk over the issue.

The congregation at Kinloch and elders of Stornoway High, on the Isle of Lewis, are the first to react to the Kirk’s decision to allow gay clergy, which was passed last week by the General Assembly. Sources suggested at least ten more congregations could be considering similar votes this summer and warned the Church of Scotland “could be facing extinction in the Western Isles”.

The ordaining of ministers in same-sex relationships has divided the Kirk since traditionalist members attempted to block the appointment of Scott Rennie, who is gay, in 2009.

So far, two congregations have left the Kirk over the issue – St George’s Tron Church in Glasgow and Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen – both 
before the Church of Scotland took the historic step last week of voting in favour of allowing openly gay men and women to become ministers.

The two churches now considering breaking away are from the evangelical wing of the Kirk, which believes in the “gospel truth” and follow the written word of the Bible.

The evangelical wing is strong in many parts of the Highlands and Islands, and is at odds with Church’s more liberal sections and their position on the ordination of gay ministers.

One source from within the evangelicals said: “On current form, it is perfectly conceivable that in two years time the Church of Scotland will have nobody left in places like Lewis. Many congregations across Scotland are deeply unhappy with what the General Assembly decided.

“Now that Kinloch have announced their intention to leave, it could have a domino effect across the Highlands and Islands, with many more planning to leave – easily running into double figures. If rumours are correct, come May 2015 the national church could be facing extinction in the Western Isles.”

The minister and members of Kinloch Church of Scotland have made a unanimous decision to consider their position, saying they are unhappy with the way in which the Kirk has handled the issue of gay ministers.

Kinloch minister, the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell, said the General Assembly should not have even tackled the matter.

He added that it was not so much the decision by the General Assembly that had caused them to consider a breakaway from the Kirk, but the fact the issue was being discussed at all. “They have been investigating and talking about this for at least four years,” he said.

“As far as we can see this is a question of what authority God’s word has within the denomination within the Church.

“If the word of God had the authority, which it should have, the question and debate would never have been in the General Assembly in the first place.

“God has spoken quite clearly and it only takes a few seconds to read what God has to say on this issue.”

Meanwhile, elders at Stornoway High Church held a meeting on Wednesday night and also decided to vote on whether to leave the Kirk. The congregation narrowly voted to remain part of the Kirk in 2011 when it became clear that the Church of Scotland was moving in the direction of allowing gay people to become ministers.

At the General Assembly earlier this month an attempt was made to find a compromise to satisfy all within the Kirk, but it has not gone down well with the evangelical wing.

The General Assembly maintained the Church’s traditional stance on the doctrine of human sexuality, but allowed congregations to decide themselves on whether to allow a minister in a same-sex relationship.

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “We have not been informed of any congregation wishing to leave the Church of Scotland following last week’s General Assembly and the debate on the proposals put forward by the Theological Commission, and we would be saddened if this were the case at such an early stage.”

A summit is to take place for evangelical ministers next month to hold “crisis talks”.

It has been organised by Rev Kenny Borthwick, now leader of Holy Trinity Church in Edinburgh, urging traditionalists to gather and “repent, pray and work for reformation that is so badly needed”.

A Free Church of Scotland spokesman said: “By voting for political correctness over faithfulness to the Bible, it can be no surprise the Church of Scotland has jeopardised its own future.”

Just prior to the General Assembly, the Free Church’s moderator Rev Dr Iain D Campbell said the underlying principal of the 1843 Disruption – which caused the split in the Church 170 years ago – was the key issue, ultimately freedom for the Church to be governed by the “Word of God” alone.

Over the past few years a number of ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Paul Gibson resigned his charge of Tain Parish Church after just eight months into the post. The Reverend Ivor MacDonald left Kilmuir and Stenscholl on Skye and the Reverend John Murdo MacDonald resigned from Lochalsh.

SEE ALSO

• Analysis: Secessionists likely to be trickle not flood

• Aberdeen church breaks away over gay ministers row

• Church of Scotland faces exodus over gay clergy

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Myths of Ministry (taken from a recent interchange on OneKirk (FB)

What are some of the myths of ministry that you’ve come across or came to realise while on the job? How about making a list? I’ll start!

Like ·  · Unfollow post · 3 hours ago near Bishopton, Scotland
  • Daniel Manastireanu Myth: The minister has to be equal to everyone, a true democrat, treating everyone the same.
    3 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • Dave Slater Myth: it’s possible to ‘do it all’ i.e. prepare sufficiently for worship every week, deal with meetings and admin, fulfil any Presbytery commitments, do any pastoral visiting/hospi…See More
    3 hours ago · Like · 2
  • David William Mcfie although you or most wear a cloak u cant fly like Batman
    3 hours ago · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu And how do you know that, David? Do you have proof? 🙂
    3 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu Myth: The minister has to be available to everyone at all times.
    This always winds me up, especially when I hear ministers say that. What about the dark night of the soul, what abo…See More
    2 hours ago via mobile · Like · 2
  • David William Mcfie because Daniel ive worn my cap and mantle and couldnt even take off
    2 hours ago · Like · 1
  • David William Mcfie but of coarse iam not a minister, maybe u have some divine intervention method? Daniel
    2 hours ago · Edited · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu That’s what I do, David!
    2 hours ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Nelu Balaj Depends what you mean by myth
    2 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • David William Mcfie so modest Daniel , u will have me convinced you can walk on water,,, ha
    about an hour ago · Like · 1
  • David William Mcfie theres a fine line there Nelu
  • Sandy Strachan The manse door is open to everyone 24/7
    about an hour ago · Like · 2
  • Owain Jones The Minister is omniscient. When Auntie Maud, who lives in Glenwherrahellzatagen Cottage, is wheeched into hopsital in the middle of the night and nobody knew, the Minister will Feel A Great Disturbance In The Force, and will Know…
    about an hour ago · Unlike · 3
  • Owain Jones …and will say to his Assistant “It was as though millions of voices called out “OhyaBANDIT!!!” and then were silenced…”
  • Daniel Manastireanu The force is strong with you, Owain, don’t give into fear! 🙂
    43 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 2
  • David William Mcfie Owain, Yordi thought rev iain currie was obi wan kenobi
    41 minutes ago · Like
  • Daniel Manastireanu Myth: The minister has two days off. Or, the flipside: A good minister is a busy minister. How can a minister be both busy and available/sensitive?
    40 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • David William Mcfie myth u all only work on a sunday
    39 minutes ago · Unlike · 2
  • Alexandra Rosener The minister has to please everyone. If the minister gets told that soandso was not pleased by any of his/her decisions the minister has to feel great distress.
    39 minutes ago · Like · 2
  • Alexandra Rosener Daniel Manastireanu Only two days off? I thought the minister has Monday to Saturday off?!?!
    38 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu Hahaha. I thought that was a given, Alexandra!
    38 minutes ago via mobile · Like
  • Daniel Manastireanu On the distress thing!
    38 minutes ago via mobile · Like
  • Daniel Manastireanu Nelu, you should figure that out by the examples given. Do they have something in common?
    36 minutes ago via mobile · Like
  • Owain Jones Christmas: “This’ll be your busy time, then, Minister…”
    Or on a particularly bad day “This’ll be your busyAGGGHAGGAGGGGLUUURGHHspluttercoughsplutter… Cough… Thank you for explaining that to me, Minister…I now fully appreciate that your workload is year-round…”
    34 minutes ago · Unlike · 2
  • Sandy Strachan One of my predecessors “never took a holiday” in the thirty-odd years of his ministry in this particular change; fact: he had a cottage somewhere about 50 miles away and would spen…See More
    34 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Sandy Strachan Someone once asked if I was going “anywhere nice” over the Easter weekend
    33 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 3
  • Owain Jones I REALLY DID hear this said. “Our minister never takes a holiday… [LONG PAUSE]…. wish he would….”
    33 minutes ago · Unlike · 2
  • Owain Jones A very wise former Session Clerk of mine once said “Get a reputation as an early riser, and you can lie in for the rest of yoru life…”
    30 minutes ago · Like
  • Daniel Manastireanu Sandy, the easter weekend one is hilarious! 🙂
    29 minutes ago · Like
  • David William Mcfie Sandy were u on a roll at easter
    28 minutes ago · Like
  • Sandy Strachan there was a minister who always wore his dog collar on holiday – “in case anybody needed pastoral help – they’d know who to turn to”
    28 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu Wow, that IS identified. (a psychotherapy term; if you don’t know, shame on you!) 🙂
    27 minutes ago · Like
  • John Orr To follow Sandy‘s one, I did a wedding (it was family) during the Easter weekend, because, well, it’s a holiday, isn’t it…
    26 minutes ago · Unlike · 2
  • Owain Jones MYTH: MINISTERS JUST LOVE RECEIVING OLD, DAMP, SHAUCHLED BIBLES IN 8-POINT PRINT, AND THAT YOU MUST NEVER THROW OUT AN ANCIENT, UNREADABLE, 3/4 COMPLETE POCKET- (OR ACTION MAN-) SI…See More
    25 minutes ago · Unlike · 3
  • Dave Slater Daniel – myth: a minister has to know everything about everything: psychotherapy, project management, team leadership, architecture and buildings maintenance, charity law, youth work, accountancy,… (add your own to the list)
    25 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu Did you feel the shame there, Dave? 🙂 I feel it constantly…
    24 minutes ago · Like
  • David William Mcfie sad thing is there are 300 people on this page, obviously a geat number dont contribuate at all?? Daniel
    24 minutes ago · Like
  • John Orr Here’s a slightly more obscure one. Why am I supposed know the symptoms and consequences of every medical condition? ‘You need to see Mrs. So-and-so, after all she’s got…’
    22 minutes ago · Like · 2
  • Sandy Strachan colleague in his first charge – asks the Session Clerk “do we have anything planned for the evening of Good Friday?” “What date is that?” looks up diary “Oh, that’s the evening of the congregational dance!”

    Dance then wherever you may be……….

    22 minutes ago via mobile · Like · 2
  • Daniel Manastireanu Myth: A minister has two tasks: preach on Sunday and visit people during the week. That’s it. Oh, and take funerals, weddings and baptisms. But that’s rare, ain’t it? That’s it, really…
    21 minutes ago · Like · 1
  • Daniel Manastireanu One of my favorites: The minister’s first priority is the well-being of his/her congregation. Er… nah. The first priority is their own well being. How many of you are annoyed to bits by tributes to ministers that extol overworking and lack of self-care?
    18 minutes ago · Like
  • Dave Slater Daniel. No. I’m assuming that the ‘shame on you’ is another myth, otherwise this thread really will reinforce that perception that the 99% have that you need to know ‘big words’ to take part in this group.
    18 minutes ago · Like · 2
  • David William Mcfie sorry dont do big words but know a few small ones that are HUGE and life changing,[GOD]
    16 minutes ago · Like
  • Daniel Manastireanu Yes, Dave, it is another myth. A minister who doesn’t know something should be ashamed. After all, the buck stops with the minister, right? It makes sense he/she should know it all!

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Grenada 2

The Meenister’s Log

During my second trip to Communist-controlled Grenada as a locum, I was asked to conduct a funeral service for a young man who had been a volunteer soldier in Comrade Maurice Bishop’s militia.

The service was held in a small church in the hinterland of the Island.

Fools rush in…… in the Eulogy, I mentioned the liberating power of the Gospel message and the freedom of the Kingdom – Christ frees even those in thrall to earthly oppressive regimes (or words to that effect)

Now,standing down one side of the Church were half a dozen or so mean looking guys in camouflage fatigues, each one with a rifle slung over his shoulder (comrades, I guessed, of their late friend and colleague).

Then one of them, staring at me intently for a couple of minutes, as I waffled on about liberty, got out a camera and took a flash photograph of me.

Nothing untoward happened thereafter, and in a few days I was ready to fly back to Trinidad where I was based.

I checked in at the airport, showed my passport and ticket and temporary work-permit, then paid the departure tax of a few dollars.

While waiting in the departure area for the announcement for embarkation, I noticed the armed security guard looking at whatever form it was that I’d handed over, then to me, then back to the documentation. Without a smile, he beckoned me -ordered me – to come over to his desk.

“It is Reverend Strachan?” he asked.

“Oh dear, here comes the jail” thought I

“And you’ve been working in Grenada for these last two weeks?”

Gulp, “Yes”

“Yes, indeed, I have the chits”  (I thought I was going to have something similar – but spelled slightly differently)

And then added, “Well, Rev., I’m really sorry………………………………….. working clergy don’t have to pay the full departure tax. You’ve been overcharged and here’s your refund.  I hope you’ve enjoyed your stay on our beautiful Island.  Viva Comrade Bishop!”

“Viva” indeed – vamoose time

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The above photograph is of the Meenister and his two sons on Grande Anse Beach, St.George’s, Grenada

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Grenada

The Meenister’s Log

(The New Jewel Movement (NJM) under the leadership of  Maurice Bishop was the main opposition party in Grenada during the 1970s. In 1979, the party decided to overthrow the government of Eric Gairy which had ruled the country since independence in 1974. The NJM launched an armed takeover of the radio station, army barracks and various other key locations in Grenada while Gairy was on a trip outside the country. 
Bishop announced the formation of the PRG over radio. The constitution was suspended and the NJM announced new laws. The PRG organized a cabinet to run the country with Bishop as Prime Minister. All political organizations except for the NJM were banned.
The PRG established close relations with the government of Cuba and with Cuban assistance began construction of a large international airport. The PRG also began a systematic plan to build up a large army on the island.)
Grenada was invaded by the Americans on October 1983 and the Communist regime brought down.
I was twice asked to be locum there (there being no Presbyterian minister on the Island at that particular time) just a couple of years before the U.S invasion, and while Maurice Bishop’s regime was still in control.
On the first visit there, one Sunday evening, a service was held in the Anglican Church in St.George’s, the capital of Grenada, and to which, as the Presbyterian Minister, I was invited.
This service lasted more than two hours – but the time went by so quickly.  It was a Thanksgiving Service for three of the congregation who had just been released from jail – imprisoned for their anti-government views.
On hindsight, I’m surprised that they had been given their liberty, and that they were allowed to talk about their feelings in the crowded Church.
But talk they did, most sincerely and movingly about how, even though in prison, their faith liberated them from any bitterness or fear.
It is one of the most moving testimonies I have ever hear or ever will – true faith, forgiveness and hope in the liberating power of the Gospel message

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