Jan 192008
 

It’s been a pretty diverse week just past.

On Thursday I was at the ordination and induction of a friend. It was a lovely service, full of humour and joy tempered by the serious business of taking on responsibility for a parish. If taking on her first charge wasn’t enough, Louise also has to cope with it being a new linkage as well. That said, I’m sure she’ll do well. I remember meeting her just a few days after she had been called to the charge. Up until then I had always seen a ‘minister-in-training’ but on that day there was an air about her that said ‘minister’. It was more, I think, than simply being happy at being called to a charge. It was a real sense of ‘rightness’ and affirmation of God’s calling.

This morning (Saturday), I was at the funeral of a local minister who died very suddenly. That service too had joy and humour and not just a little seriousness as Geoff Smart was remembered, as husband, father and dearly-loved minister and friend to many. The church was packed out, a real tribute to the esteem in which he was held. I was there as part of Presbytery and I only really knew Geoff in passing. That said, he was the Presbytery person who ‘looked after’ ministry candidates and enquirers and I knew him in that regard. I found the service deeply moving and, like me, Geoff was a relative latecomer in his calling to the ministry. On hearing the tributes delivered today, one could do worse than look to his ministry as an inspiration.

I also had news that one of the church members in my district had died, so that’s a funeral visit I’ll need to do as soon as possible. Archie was a retired teacher and, whenever I visited, was always keen to hear how my studies were going and how my family were doing. His wife Pat is a lovely person and they were always a great joy to visit.

Archie spent his last days in Strathcarron Hospice and, I understand, had plenty of time to say his goodbyes. Not so Geoff, who died very suddenly. Both families will have to deal with deaths but with a very different set of circumstances. Both families have a faith and it is in that I pray they will find their comfort and strength.

  One Response to “Highs and lows”

  1. Ups and downs indeed.
    I shared in that weekand echo all that you have said about Louise and Geoff.
    Training for ministry doesn’t often take account of the major shifts of emtion that clergy regularly go through. This would not be the first week when I felt poured out, emptied, and still expected to produce material for Sunday. In many ways, today’s sermon was a personal journey through the week, needing to hear a good word as it would and should natutally come and not (as one member remarked) looked for. They didn’t mean anything nasty by that comment, but they had completely missed the whole point of the sermon..(but that won’t be the first or last time that happens)
    I did have a conversation in KHR with an elder who asked how I coped with doing funerals in the morning and weddings in the afternoon. You just cope, and then find something or somewhere to go and be alone (or with family).
    Ups and downs like this past week are unusual in that they have been exaggerated in their scale. Ministry, normal ‘ordained’ ministry is always like that, and it is great when you get that unsolicited thank you.

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