My sitting in the pub, sitting in the coffee shops, wandering around the High Street is not pioneering as I understand it. What I am doing is, I think, what the traditional parish priest used to do – which was to be in the community and be available…
…I am starting to wonder if the establishment as such also needs to give permission to parish clergy to be out in their communities and so making themselves available to the people.
I didn’t think the establishment was against parish clergy actually being in the parish. I think I had always assumed that it was part of the role. Indeed, at my welcoming service here, the incumbent asked me to exercise my role as a deacon particularly by bringing to the Church the needs of the parishes, by searching out the non-churchgoers and finding out what they are doing, their needs and concerns. It is, however, good to have a bit of a reminder. To be honest, I’m struggling a bit to figure out where to start (other than organised groups and activities). I think the Shiny Headed Prophet has a point – I need to find somewhere to go regularly, just to hang out. So where then?
In thinking about this, I’ve realised that there isn’t a cafe in any of the parishes, (except some distance from the village centres in tourist attractions), so nowhere for the locals to hang out and chat for a bit. Oh hang on, yes there is – the bakery has a counter with three chairs there. That is a possibility. Then there are the pubs. Maybe I just need to get over my aversion to sitting in pubs on my own – in my head it is fine for blokes to go to pubs on their own, but a little odd for girls.
A related note: when we are called to be full time ministers, we are called as ourselves. College doesn’t turn us into any stranger beings than we already were. If we were interested in gardening or art before, then we will probably find them useful in ministry. If not, then although we might end up doing a bit of gardening or art, there is probably some skill or enthusiasm that it is more obvious to use.
A question: what are my skills and where can they fit in the parishes? I’ll keep thinking.