Mixed emotions on Thursday as a group of hearty Episcopalians gathered in the Synod Office to say goodbye to Barbara, our beloved Child Protection Officer. I did a little waitressing to help out with distributing the fabulous Waitrose canapés which B had provided. Speeches were made, gifts were promised and then some of staggered off to Brown’s for more fizz and food. Bumped into more Piskie clergy so it would seem that Brown’s is the place to be seen in Lent.
B has had a difficult job dealing with a tricky caseload. Not everyone has been nice to her either. But she certainly brought glamour to a seedy side of the Church. And nobody can say she didn’t give 100% to the job – sometimes taking phonecalls late into the night with never a murmur.
On Friday morning – it was at that point that I regretted having quite so much fizz – I had to get to the dentist at 9.25am to have a tooth removed. It was meant to be a 10 minute appointment which turned out to be closer to an hour. It would appear that I really didn’t want to part with that molar. No pain but a lot of pressure and then an infection to deal with.
I was given antibiotics with the strict instructions that I do not drink alcohol. “Not even communion wine?” I asked. “Just the tiniest sip,” I was told. So my servers will have to be on stand-by for the clearing up tomorrow.
I was also told to go home and rest, with no strenuous activity. It was my day off anyway but I did have plans for a rearrangement of my study. That will have to wait. But I did have a helpful chat with Fr K who had stayed the night. The greatest thing about clergy getting together is the sharing of ideas.
Well, the silence last night (see previous blog entry) was shortlived and today the madness begins that is the run-up to Lent. So far my to-do list contains:
- buy lemon for Ash Wednesday
- prepare ashes for AW
- design 2 sets of pew sheets for AW (one trad, one mod)
- write sermon for AW
- prepare wedding prep stuff for meeting on Tue
- find 5 Lent Group speakers
- design pew sheets for first Sunday in Lent
- Write sermons for Lent 1
- prepare Confirmation material for Sunday
- write a few thank you letters and other wee notes
- prepare for Mission & Ministry Committee meeting on Thu
- Email notices out to congregation
- have a glucose intolerance test
Well, I’d better get on with it then.
Still no news from Tanzania and the Primates meeting. Wish I could believe ‘no news is good news’.
So who appeared on Weakest Link last night? Why! It was Fr Gordon and he made it to Round 6. I loved his reasoning for being an Anglican (sic) priest – cos the clothes are more glamourous. And thank goodness he got the religious question correct. That would always be my fear if I were to take part in a quiz – what if you got the religious question wrong?
A survey showed that people who attend church are less likely to suffer from depression. “The higher the worship frequency, the lower the odds of depression and mania,” says researcher Dr Marilyn Baetz, of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, who carried out the study.
Hmmm. I wonder if they included clergy in that survey!
Listening to this debate about whether Muslim women should be allowed to wear their veil when talking to male MPs and I wonder how long before clergy are told to remove their collars or cassocks. Are they a barrier to communication? I dare say some would say yes, while others no.
My friend Pamela (ex partner in crime at Tisec, ex curate of far too many parishes, ex nun and now Hospital Chaplain down south) attended the consecration of Bishop Stephen Conway last week. (Pic below) We met him when he came to preach at our cathedral a while ago for Affirming Catholicism and he was jolly good. I may even have said at the time that I thought he’d go far.
The sermon at the consecration was about his motto at Westcott where he trained and how we live up to them. Someone asked Pamela what her college motto was and she didn’t know. Neither do I. I don’t even know if there was one at the old college – Coates Hall – before it became Tisec.
So how about a competition? What do you think the Tisec motto should be?
According to The Week (issue No 540) “vicars are too shy to go out and preach. A survey conducted by the Right Rev Michael Whinney found that Protestant clergy are unusually sensitive and introverted, and would rather busy themselves with paperwork than get ‘out there’ in the community and convert people to Christianity.”
Now, I have several issues with this article. Certainly I have no doubt that most clergy are introverts. When I was at the Theological Institute we all did a Myers Briggs test and sure enough, I was in a minority with one or two other attention seekers. But most clergy are indeed introverts and I don’t have a problem with that.
I can even cope with the phrase ‘unusually sensitive’ although I do fear that they may be very bruised and battered in ministry if that is the case.
But who is going to do the paperwork, if not the clergy? And am I meant to be out in the community, preaching and converting people to Christianity? If that is the case, we got nothing in Tisec about that. Are we all meant to be out on soap boxes at the Mound shouting “Repent! Repent!” Maybe we are.
And here was me thinking that the vast majority of people came to church with a friend. I thought it was only about 2% who came because clergy invited them. But that could be because they weren’t out there preaching in an extrovert manner.
Hey-ho. Oh it’s difficult loving Jesus, as Fr K used to say.
Lunch today with the L’gow clergy. In the first ten minutes we had managed to cover the topics of religion, sex and politics. After that it just sort of descending into bad puns and laughter. Pity I had to leave to go to the dentist.
Last night at a meeting we were discussing transitions. All clergy know it is hard to go through a day when your emotions can swing from one extreme to another. We can go from a funeral visit to the birth of a new baby, from planning a childrens’ outing to writing a sermon after a national crisis – all in one day. It can be hard to take account of your emotions and feelings before you move on to the next event.
Someone said that she had come from a school of noisy children to take a funeral, and that it was in putting on the vestments that she was able to make the transition from teacher to priest. The bishop said we were all like transvestites – we sometimes needed the clothes to make us who we are. I’d never thought we were transvestites. I’m sure there are transvestites amongst the clergy – maybe more than in other walks of life – but I’d never thought of it for myself. “Put on the mascara – more mascara!” shouted the bishop. I think he was quoting from La Cages Aux Folles.
I shall look at my fellow clergy and bishops in a new light from now on.