Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Country Parson (Apologies to Mr. Herbert)

Things I experienced for the first time ever today:

Walking into the door of a church to have have the greeter, a ten-year-old girl, smile and say, "Are you the preacher?"

Preaching for congregations not my own, congregations where there was not a single friend in front of me nodding, "Go Gannet!"

Preaching for congregations in the plural -- two services, one right after the other;

Preaching for tiny, tiny congregations (counting me, twenty-four in the first and nine in the second!)

Being asked to lead the informal praise singing at the beginning of a service (the second one, for which the music person did not materialize) -- I laughed and said that they should add to their praises the fact that they would NOT hear me sing!

Preaching in a little white country church set out in a field among goldenrod and gravestones;

Making a spur-of-the-moment decision to go with the original plan in the nine-person congregation, overcoming my original instinct to change format completely to accomodate the small group in a more informal manner, and following instead my revised instinct in favor of the traditional approach, realizing that the congregants were eager to worship with the formality and dignity that they would have experienced had their church been filled with the 200 people it can hold;

Engaging in candid lunchtime conversation with two delightful older ladies about the pitfalls and challenges of maintaining a small church presence when no preacher responds to a call and the younger people drift away.

Really, an excellent day.

If only it were not framed, beginning to end and side to side, by Greek vocabulary endings!


mompriest said...

GG - sounds like you have a fabulous day of leading worship...with all the idosyncrisis (sp) that come day in and day out with small parish ministry!

Jan said...

GG, great leading and (I'm sure) preaching. I also like your new picture of puffins!

emmapeelDallas said...

I agree, it sounds as if you did beautifully (no surprise to those of us who read you regularly).

LawAndGospel said...

Sounds like you grasp the needs of small parish ministry. I myself was in a new parish worshipping 80 at their only service. Will be posting on it today. BTW, hang in there with Greek - I am taking a break from mine now.

Cathy said...

I really like the puffin pictures!
and sounds like a good day of worship!

A 10 year old greeter!

Diane said...

yes, it sounds wonderful -- and brings back memories

RevDrKate said...

Fantastic. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Kathryn said...

I suspect your instincts were completely correct on the second service. I am in need of some Greek but I will e-mail you separately.

I know I'm late with these comments but I'm just now surfacing.