Some well intentioned advice

Dear Friends,

When trying to give me some well intentioned advice on taking time off a minister friend of mine said: “When I am expected to be in two places at once I don’t go to either!”

So, what do you do when you are always expected to be in two places at once: NOTHING!

A full time minister in two places is part-time in both, but a part-time minister in one place is full-time in that place. When you are part-time in two places it can be assumed that if you are not in one you are in the other, but when you are part-time in one there is no hiding place.

I do not suggest that any minister finds a hiding place to do nothing, but having to be in more than one place at the same time can mean they are less fruitful. I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part-time minister with responsibilities for one church in the one community in which I live. I can identify with that community and feel part of it, but it raises a challenge when expected to take time off.

I appreciate the pastoral concern shown when people say that I must take time off, but can YOU live as a part-time Christian? I asked that question at the weekend because there is no hiding place for a Christian in a community. There is no day off from that responsibility to love your neighbour or to carry your cross with dignity through the community and to meet the needs of the strangers you encounter. Being a Christian is a 24/7 commitment with no day off so how can I be a part-time minister?

If I was to be a part-time Christian what would I be for the rest of the time? No! I am a Christian first with a full-time commitment and I am privileged to get part-time pay for what most of you do for nothing!

That’s my thought for you to reflect on for the week and I will be back on Wednesday from my part-time break that has demanded a full-time commitment!

Prayers for our journey back to Broadway on Thursday as our car struggled to reach Lymington. We lost power at the end of the M3 and limped off the M27 before the engine seized up and allowed us to crawl into a lay-by. I switched the engine off and back on and we were on our way again to reach our destination. We thought we would get the car checked out by our emergency recovery service but as we had moved the car they would not help and a garage said they could not identify a problem. If I hadn’t turned the engine back on when we ground to a halt in the lay-by the emergency service would have come and switched it on….. That would have been so embarrassing!

We watched the funeral of Prince Philip with a friend who said if that was a celebration of someone’s life he wasn’t surprised people were losing interest in the Church! I wonder what other people thought!

It has been good to meet people in Lymington who remember Susan Nuttall and the pastoral care she provided during her ministry in the town with her husband .

God Bless, Richard