For six months I was Interim Pastor at our neighbouring little flocks of Bo’ness and Grangemouth. While there I helped them prepare their Congregational Profiles which will be given to any prospective priests. I met some lovely and interesting people while working with them and hope that they find the right person to travel with them.
At Easter I found that it was just getting too much for me. Caring for three churches was becoming a real struggle and I take my hat of to those clergy who do this, and more, on a day to day basis. Getting cover was the really time-consuming part of it, as many city-clergy seem to be reluctant to travel a few miles out of town to help out. I could spend two days a week easily phoning round old friends trying to call in favours. Even the Supernumerary system which is meant to provide cover in emergencies didn’t seem to work. (I’m told now that this system is now changing and cover is being arranged from the Diocesan Office which seems to be a much better plan. I just wish it had been in place back then!)
When I left I was given generous book tokens from both churches which was a lovely surprise and always much appreciated. One of the books I ordered was Unfolding the Living Word by Jim Cotter who recently died. It is a book of new Kyries, Canticles, Gospel Acclamations and Collects and already I have found some beautifully poetic pieces which I shall use. In the Appendix I came across a little paragraph for use in a communion service which reads:
On a church door there was this notice:
Everybody is welcome to receive communion here.
Only one thing is asked of each and all of us, that we be hungry.
However, some people prefer to come to the altar for a blessing:
if so, please incline your head rather than holding out your hands.
Or you may prefer to sit quietly where you are.
May there always be pillars to hide behind for the shy, the puzzled, and those
who are searching and seeking.