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Minister’s July/August Letter

Dear Friends,

                    “Procrastination is the thief of time,” is an old saying and, unfortunately, an all too true one.  How many of us have kept putting off something we did not want to do until we were left with two things:  (i) far too little time to do the job, and (ii) bitter regrets over the amount of time we had wasted thinking about it rather than doing it.  Sound familiar?

One piece of advice I read about dealing with procrastination was called “slice the salami.”  If you look at a whole salami and think about eating it, it looks somewhat daunting to say the least. But if you slice it thinly, arrange it on a platter and eat just one small slice at a time, it is far more appetising.             

Where am I going with this????

St John’s Church is looking at the daunting task of arranging a weekly act of worship through at least a year of ministerial vacancy.   52 church services to plan for!!!!   And although I am the person creating the vacancy, I am doing what I can to make the task look less formidable.  And here is the first slice of the  salami  ….. at our AGM we talked together about the worship life of our church.   Many lively and creative suggestions were raised but I think the whole discussion could be summed up in two  sentences:

Variety OF worship

Variety IN worship.

People are ready for different kinds of church services within our weekly programme, and they are also ready for different things to happen even within a fairly traditionally ordered church service.  And the best way of making this happen is for people within the congregation to get together and lead a service.

My suggestion at the AGM was that people got together in “Trios” and offered to prepare a service.   It does not have to be Trios.   It can be one person, two people, four, five, six people.    But I need these wonderful people right now.  These are the salami slices in order:

Slice One:   July/August:   collect names of people and groups/teams who would be willing to lead a service once or twice during a year of vacancy.  If you would appreciate a training session, I would be happy to arrange one.   There are also endless resources available for worship to which Jenny Sheehan is happy to direct you.

Slice Two:  September/October:   publicise a full list of dates from my retirement to one year ahead and invite people to “sign up” for a service.

Slice Three:  November/December:   approach visiting preachers to lead the remaining services (be warned- there are nowhere enough of them to cover all 52 weeks) .

Slice Four:  January/February.   I have agreed to produce a very flexible thematic programme to give people a (optional) starting point for planning their service.

Slice Five:  March/April.   We all feel impossibly smug and pleased with ourselves for being so well prepared…..    

And the question, when precisely shall I be retiring?  Sometime between April and June next year and I promise that a date will be given in the next Newsletter.   If I fail to keep that promise you can accuse me of procrastination and gross hypocrisy…

St John’s has many fine and worthy traditions of which we are rightly proud.   But one “tradition” which is not so great is that we never commit ourselves to anything until the last possible  minute!

Please do not let this happen now or the life of our church will be under an impossible strain.   Pray, think, talk to your friends, and ask yourself seriously if you might get involved in preparing a church service.   If you think you might like to help but don’t know who you might work with, then speak to me and I am sure I can direct you to someone.   If the whole idea terrifies you but you cannot quite forget about it, then come and talk to me and we might be able to find a way forward.   And no, I do not twist                 people’s arms.

God be with you in your thoughts and prayers.    God direct you in what you might be able to contribute.   I look forward to hearing from you.

With love and warmest good wishes to you all,

Jennifer Millington

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