Warning to my little flock

This is a warning to whoever asked me to put something in the pew sheet next week (see 3 below).

  1. I may look as if I am engaging in that conversation with you on Sunday after church.
  2. I may look as if I am listening to your ideas as we sip coffee together on Sunday in the hall.
  3. I may even nod and agree to put your suggestion on to the pew sheet next week as promised.
  4. I may pocket your little envelope with money in it for something or other or accept your fiver for the magazine fund.
  5. I may agree to a meeting to be held in the rectory 3 months from now on a Thursday at 10am.

However, this is what is really going on…

  1. I am indeed listening to your conversation but I am also thinking about why there was absolutely no response to that sermon, why the choir didn’t seem to know that second hymn at all, why the roof only leaks on to the Advent Wreath when the wind is in a certain direction, whether I can phone the council about the use of the digger outside just as the service began, and when I can take these shoes off because they are nipping like hell.
  2. I am listening to your ideas but I am also wondering why I didn’t come up with it myself, thinking who on earth is going to carry them out because it certainly ain’t gonna be me, pondering why the last rector left, wondering who put that poster up on the notice board of a religious event which you’d rather stick pins in your eyes than attend, and trying to recall which of the Margarets you are. You are a Margaret, yes?
  3. Honestly I do intend to put your suggestion in the pew sheet. I really do. You do know that I don’t do the pew sheet, don’t you? You do know that I am actually thinking of a black pudding roll right at this minute, don’t you?
  4. Thank you for that little envelope or that fiver. Know that it will be safe in that pocket until such times as I take it out of the washing machine and shake the sodden lumps of paper around, or come across it when putting that particular cardie on in six months’ time. Whether it is the next day or six months’ time know that I will have no recollection of what that money was for. Nor who it was from. I may even spend it on Gin.
  5. Unless I have my diary in my hand and you see me writing it in immediately, please know that this will be forgotten by the time I have gone upstairs and had my lunch. Nay, by the time I have turned away from you to adore that new baby in the corner. It is not that you are not important. Nor is it that your meeting isn’t a great idea. Nor is it that I have dementia. It is just that on a Sunday I have a host of other things going on in my head and for some reason none of them stick. And don’t you know that we always have a Weekday Mass on Thursdays so I can’t come anyway?

brain is full



11 thoughts on “Warning to my little flock

  1. Please pray for my Auntie Jean who has just been diagnosed with (insert illness here).

    …but I’m not doing the intercessions…

  2. But that would be like me saying, Don’t speak to me on Mondays. I wouldn’t get away with that because they pay me to work on Mondays, no matter how difficult I might find it.

  3. So Agatha – your strategy for getting someone to hear what you have to say is to say it to them at a time when you know that they are so busy that they are least likely to remember what you’ve said and using a form of communication which they’ve told you is unlikely to be successful.


  4. No Kelvin, I just accept that people want to speak to you when they see you (which for the clergy is on Sunday) and that is what people do, and there’s no point in being precious about it.

  5. Brave and true, Ruth (as always) I’m glad this happens *even to extroverts*.

    I heard of one church that successfully learned to use a ‘tell the rector’ book — all those little things that come in on a Sunday were written down instead of (or in addition to) being told at the door. I wonder how much more present we could be to the conversations we were having if we knew that the key things for action were already recorded.

    Agatha — I would not expect a surgeon to take in all the details of a new patient the second he walked out of theatre. I wouldn’t expect a teacher to be able to remember the details of the agenda for the next PTA meeting, if they were told to them as they supervised the playground at break time. Sometimes we have to be realistic about what types of communication are possible in a given environment, and ‘after the service’ is not the best time for clergy to hear and keep hold of 50 new pieces of information.

  6. Ooh I’m precious! Thanks Agatha. That’s not a very kind thing to say.

    Thanks for the suggestion about the book, Kimberly. Can’t imagine it working but an interesting idea. I’d rather have a private secretary with a big quill and a notebook writing it all down as it happens. Then I’d feel much happier.

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