Category Archives: preaching

Of preaching and red skirts

This morning I delivered my first service in my new circuit. And it went rather well, if I do say so myself. I wasn’t the only one to say so, I even managed to impress Mr Critical (otherwise known as my other half, who has a tendancy to be picky about preachers), who hadn’t seen me do any preaching before. And I had various other positive comments and reactions from the congregation. I may well blog about the service itself at some point, but needless to say I was rather pleased with it. Now its on to the next one, countdown two weeks..

The other item of news, in relation to my last two posts, is firstly, as you may have guessed, I didn’t get that job. I wasn’t overly disappointed at this, being quite surprised at having an interview at all, and given I really didn’t have a lot of experience of the computer programme that was a large part of the job I was told I still came a close second, which was pretty good. The other thing I was told, in a message they left to tell me I hadn’t got it, was that they had another job coming up that they were really keen for me to apply for. Well, as keen as you can sound when you’re not meant to ask someone to put in an application. Anyway, this was positive, so I applied, and surprise surprise, the next day I got a phone call asking me to come for an interview. Which is on Tuesday, at the same time as the last one. Interesting coincidences. Somehow I don’t think I’ll need directions to the office. I’m not too worried about getting it or not, I’m still impressed to have got interviews this early on. I’ll just do what I can, and when the right job comes up I’ll be ready.

Oh, and the other thing to mention about the quirks of preaching round here. I had a meeting with the lady who was meant to be preaching today earlier in the week, and among other pieces of ‘advice’ was told how when she started preaching the women had to wear black or grey, and ‘of course its not like that anymore’, but they were all a little shocked when one particular female preacher turned up to her first service with a ‘red swishy skirt and dangly earrings’. Horror of horrors! And a comment was also made about some people possibly being unsure about the fact I have my nose pierced. Terrible, what was I thinking?! I’m just sorry I didn’t have a red swishy skirt to wear this morning..

Farewell, farewell

So its nearly October already, with the usual talk of summer having gone too fast, nights drawing in, and “how many days till Christmas?” I saw crackers in a supermarket this weekend. Sigh.

But the end of September this year is another milestone- the end of the bat survey season! The big cheeses in the environmental world have to assign an arbitrary end point to the warmer summer months and the start of cooler weather and lower bat activity, and that end point is today. So with the beginning of October, the bats are out less and less, and, thankfully, so are we ecologists. As much as the bat watching is interesting, I won’t be sorry to not have to set my alarm for 3.30am any more!!

The other thing that this next month will bring will be the start of my local preaching in my new home town. At the beginning of September I went to my first preachers meeting here, and apart from lowering the average age by a good 20 or 30 years, it still felt good to be involved, and getting back into the things I used to do before I moved made me feel like I’m still me, even if I am somewhere else! So I now have 3 dates between now and Christmas, and even some ideas for them! Having spent a good while trying to get this sorted, it all seemed to fall into place in no time at all. The whole thing still makes me more than a little nervous, but also quite excited at the thought of being able to get stuck in again, which I’m taking to be a good combination.

Of preaching and needles

Wow, blogging two days in a row.. its almost like I’ve got free time or something. So, other things which happened this week, not course-related.

On Tuesday I went to my first Local Preachers meeting here. Scary or what? No idea what to expect, I’ve met the Super once (when he didn’t know I was me, if that makes sense!), and spoken the secretary on the phone. The minutes had a slot specifically devoted to discussing what to do with me (I paraphrase here). Interesting. The other thing which bugged me a little was the secretary insisting on using titles at all times in the agenda, therefore labelling me as Miss on at least 3 occasions. Those who know me know this isn’t smart. A little annoying, given a) he had no idea whether I was married or single, if in doubt surely even the most trad would stick with Ms? b) Miss always conjours up images of an 8 year old in a frilly dress. That or happy families. And needless to say I’m neither. Maybe thats just me. Hmm.

Anyway, the meeting went well in the end. A friendly, if not large group, of which I managed to lower the average age quite significantly! It was agreed that I could basically take on some dates planned for other preachers, and that they could then come along and observe/help out etc but basically get a day off. I think this idea went down well. There were suggestions of forming a queue. All in all, quite a positive result. Now I just have to remember this whole sermon-writing thing. Gulp.

The other thing that happened this week is I went to my GP yesterday to ask about vaccinations. I’ve not mentioned this here yet, but for Christmas this year we’re going to Africa! Chris’ parents are off on what can best be described as a gap year, travelling and volunteering in various African countries for 8 or 9 months, and are having us all (him and brothers, and me!) over to Kenya for Christmas. Like you do. So, my first Christmas away from home, not just another city, a whole different continent. Never do things by halves eh? But its all very exiting, so many new experiences all at once, but we’re doing it together, so whatever happens it’ll be good. So anyway, I thought I should get some idea of how many times they’ll want to stab me with needles before I go. It turns out not much, 3 in fact, two of which were free and could be given straight away. So in less than half an hour I was in, punctured in each arm, and out again. One more but thats lots closer to when we go, and thats it. The last time I had injections was probably school. I’d forgotten how much the upper arm hurts afterwards, the muscles just don’t like being used right now! Or lay on.

So there, it feels like its been a rather full week. And today I’m off to sunny south Wales for the proms in the park, so if you’re around there I might see you. Just don’t be offended if you hug me and I yelp!

A time of preparation

At this time of year, there’s always someone moaning about Christmas being taken over as a commercial event, more to do with how many presents you can buy than the reason you buy them. And not only that, it seems to start earlier and earlier each year, the decorations go up sooner. Though the point of buying a real christmas tree at the start of december escapes me..

So amid all this preparation, the church sits smugly saying we’ve got our own separate season of preparation, untainted by all this commercial rubbish. Hmm. But is it separate? Or do we immediately switch to Christmas mode at the beginnng of December. No sooner is it advent than we’re planning and preparing carol services, rehearsing nativity plays, ordering traidcraft Christmas cards and singing hymns which talk about christmas day.

All this talk of preparation, and the natural tendancy to think about new beginnings around the end of the year, has got me thinking. Dangerous I know. I recently made a big decision, took a step into the unknown, and went to the preachers meeting to ask for a note to preach. To the non methodists out there, this is the first step on beginning the Local Preachers training course, which is the way lay preachers are trained in methodism. The course is varied, challenging (for which read very difficult and hardgoing at times) and stretches over a number of years. My excuse for about the last year is that my future is too uncertain. But I realised thats all it was, an excuse, so I’m going ahead anyway. I’m excited, confused, unsure and downright terrified, probably in equal measure. But who said these things are meant to be easy?

So this advent, I hope I’ll be able to separate this period of preparation from the build up to the day itself. And I hope I’ll be able to prepare myself for this most important of responsibilities, for which I don’t think I’ll ever be completely ready, and I trust I will be given the strength I need. With my faults and failings, my doubts and fears, I am ready to try. Here I am, send me.