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.