There is something about having time off from ministry to make you think more about ministry. And then I came across this Ordination address from Henley Henson, Bishop of Durham 1936:

Nearly 50 years have passed since I was myself ordained in Cuddesdon Parish Church on a lovely summer morning in 1887.

How well I remember the tumult of conflicting thoughts which raged in my mind, and perhaps hindered me from entering as fully as I would have entered into the solemn yet exalting service!  How little I guessed what lay before me!  The immense failures which would overtake me too – ardent beginnings; the disappointments which would shadow my later course; the growing sense of inadequacy which would become a settled resident in my mind…

The happiest years of my ministry were those in which, as the vicar of a great industrial parish, I was nearest to the people.  Faces look out at me from the past – toil-worn faces radiant with love and confidence.  Nothing of what men foolishly call success is worth comparison with the experiences which those faces recall…

I say to you then – love God and love people.  Count nothing excessive that you can do for them.  Serve them in your office for the love of Christ, and they will surely give you back more than you can ever give them.


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