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What did you come to see? — 6 Comments

  1. Ian,
    Some may come in hope that they will hear something which touches them, but few I suspect in expectation! But when they do they will remember it. More I suspect come desiring to reconnect with a sense of the holy they experienced perhaps long ago – familiar words & hymns, a sunbeam falling on a seat where a loved one once sat, a memory of apt words preached half a lifetime ago. The Galilean carpenter touches people in ways the minister cannot know. Do not be afraid. It is our Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom!

  2. Joc,

    I agree. I think my greatest fear is unwittingly treading on that sense of the holy.

  3. M’lud,

    Sometimes that is the problem. The desire to make one’s ‘mark’, to shape things according to one’s personal theological perspective seems sometimes to add to the pain that is present.

  4. Hold on a moment … did I say that? I thought I was gently suggesting that we are simply passing through – or as the body language of my former parishioners used to say so eloquently, ‘You, Rector, are a butterfly.’

    The desire to make one’s mark is long gone in favour of survival with a reasonable measure of integrity. I shall spare you a ‘blow by blow’ of my meeting this morning with a group of Vestries…..

    But the reason I called back – as it were – was just a passing interest in where you are now in terms of ‘club Church of Ireland’ Your admirers get the impression that you are finding the rural Church of Ireland somewhat more congenial, authentic and impressive than the Dublin suburbs. My reason for asking is that I ponder the experience of dealing with the Scottish equivalent – let’s call it ‘club Piskie’. Club Piskie is found where people appropriate the church as part of their cultural identity but do not buy in spiritually. It is identifiable by a number of indicators. For example, it survives by fundraising and not by stewardship. It has no concept of being part of the church beyond itself.

    Recognisable?

  5. I think ‘Club Protestant’ may be discernible in some places, probably more in south Co Dublin than in rural Laois.

    There are no ‘big house’ families in my parish. Children attend the local schools. People belong to the GAA and all the other local organizations. Fundraising is not part of the culture – parishes are assessed on a per capita basis and then ask parishioners to pay an annual sustentation payment equivalent to the assessment. It works out at about €250 p.a. for every person over 18. One of the prime objections against proposals in the diocese to form unions instead of groups voiced by one of my own parishioners is that it would turn the focus of individual churches away from engagement with the local communities in which they exist towards some vague and remote entity which will henceforth take decisions regarding the lives of local congregations.

    No yellow corduroys or tweeds and no West Brit accents here!

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