Well hello there!
Been a good day I think. Had a staff meeting this morning. It is worth saying that the staff team seems to be functioning better and better as a unit than ever before. In the past the meetings have been business like and informative but that is where it stops. Increasingly though now they are fun, informative, challenging, constructive, affirming and worthwhile.
Now might be thinking, why is that? Well I think it is alot to do with new staff - especially Lauretta and John. But there is something else - we trust each other enough to open up and share good and bad alike. Collegiality - a horrible word - but it describes the friendship, trust and risk that binds our working relationship together for God and His kingdom.
This morning we touched base on things like the formation of the new benefice, worship, the environment and the churches response to environmental crisis plus a whole load of in-house stuff that needed attention. It was great.
This evening I have met with my church wardens Matt and Gill. A good meeting on the whole and I feel that we dealt with some interesting and worthwhile stuff too - a very interesting conversation about monitoring and evaluating the worship provision of the community. But then came the curve ball - a good number of people are concerned with the length of the services...
I agree that a number of services recently have stretched beyond the one hour marker. This last Sunday was especially long, but that has made me reflect more on what or who is the worship for?
Our worship is about God and directed towards Him. There will be preferences in terms of style that will tick the boxes of some/many in the church community - but that is to do with style and not intent. Why is it that length is such an issue for some?
Is it to do with engagement? Are some not finding time in the pressence of God edifying and uplifting? I am aware that we are trying to squeeze a lot into each act of worship, and that too might be an issue - hymns/songs. the eucharist, taking seriously the presence of children, notices and communicating information and good news... all of this takes time.
I am aware that time is something that has become a very precious commodity for people today. We talk of free time, leisure time, me time, and yet when the rubber hits the road, many people will tell you that they have no or very little time.
I agree that there is something to be said for trying to streamline what we do in the worship that is surpless to maximise time in worship, but again who is the worship for? Entertainment before the real business of the day - Sunday lunch - gets underway or an opportunity to gather with our brothers and sisters in faith and spend some quality time together before the Lord of Time and Space, and hopefully find ourselves enriched and inspired in the process?
The irony is, that I have heard just as many positive comments about our recent worship - the use of words, of space, of silence, of engagement and involvement.
I guess you cannot please all of the people all of the time, but I hope and pray that what we offer pleases God...