We are such a fortunate parish! Why? Well, of course, we live in a part of the world which never ceases to astonish by its beauty; our villages are dynamic and enthusiastic communities, which are small enough for everyone to know everyone and for children to run safely in and out of their friends houses (a privilege denied to many); but most of all because of the people that we have in our villages, who are so talented, intelligent and keen to get on with each other. When people say to me, ‘what a beautiful place to have a ministry’, I always respond ‘a place is only as good as the people in it. Fortunately, the people here are wonderful as well!’
We are also really blessed in those who are part of our regular worshipping community. There are so many who spend so much of their time keeping the churches going, looking after the structure of our beautiful churches, acting as Churchwardens and PCC/DCC members and those who take part in our services, acting as sidesmen, reading lessons and composing and reading prayers.
In addition, we are very fortunate to have a number of people who have a calling, I have discerned, to preach and lead services. It’s part of the authority that I have as a priest in charge (or Rector) to be able to discern those of our congregation who would be able to lead services and to preach from time to time.
If you have been attending our Family Worship or our Valley Worship services over the last few months, you will have seen a number of lay people preaching on this basis. I plan (in accordance with our parish Mission Action Plan agreed by the PCC) to extend this to the leading of services (other than Holy Communion) during the next few months.
To be invited to preach at a service, or to lead it is, (on an admittedly smaller scale) a bit like being invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace: its a huge privilege and one which you get invited to, rather than request that you receive an invitation! There are many factors which are taken into account in discerning who to invite, not least of which the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I hope that you as the congregation, will enjoy the variety of preachers that we will have in both our informal and more traditional services (both Family Worship, Valley Worship, Evensong and Parish Communion) over the next few months and the variety of leaders at our non Eucharistic services as well, as they provide new insights into Jesus and our relationship with Him.