1st Sunday of Placement

Today was my first Sunday at my placement church – Kirk of the Holy Rood in Grangemouth. I was formally introduced to the congregation and participated by doing the readings and the prayers.

There was also a Baptism today and a classic moment when the little girl (a toddler, not a baby) was welcomed to the family of God. Right ‘on cue’ she waved a hand in the air and shouted, “Yay!” Couldn’t have arranged for that.

I was also introduced to the organist – a young lad of 15 who’s very good but has very strong views on music. To be fair, it’s probably just a very good understanding of what works and what doesn’t on their organ. That said, he likes CH3 and The Scottish Psalter. He’s OK with more modern ones from Mission Praise (he’s referring to the 1990 edition – the one with trumpets and palm branches 🙄 ) but likes the more traditional tunes best. There was also a comment made about long organ voluntaries – they could be compared to long sermons and needed to be cut short at the appropriate time. After all, 15 minutes is more than enough for a sermon. That leaves me with a dilemma. I’m preaching in 2 weeks time. Do I compromise my principles and cut back on what I’d normally say or stick to my guns and make the sermon as long as it needs to be?

Ah, the joys of going to a new place and discovering those who would exert their influence.

3 responses to “1st Sunday of Placement”

  1. You have principles about how long a sermon should be? I’ve preached for 7 minutes (just last week) and 24 minutes not long before that. Those are my shortest and longest so far. If I were you I’d go for 15 minutes for a couple of reasons:

    1: if you preach for 25 mins everyone will hate you!

    2: it might be good discipline to try and fit what you would say in 20-25 into 15. Focus is a good thing.

    3: see 1

    As for the organist… pick what you want to!

  2. No I don’t really have principles about sermon length, but there are certain elements I think it should contain and that sometimes takes time.
    I think you’re right though – aiming for 15 minutes would be a good discipline then if it is a bit over, it ought to be over for very sound reasons.

    As for hymns/praises – I choose what fits the theme and reinforces it, always with an eye to what the congregation knows and can actually participate in. Singing is one of the few parts of a service that allows the congregation to actively engage with what’s happening. To deny them that opportunity is tantamount to suggesting they can’t be part of worship at all.

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