Saturday, 13 October 2012

Buildings For the Future

It's just three sentences, and not the whole sentiment of the piece or the initiative. And in some instances it might make sense. But it still made me wonder. I refer, of course to the plans of five Welsh denominations to pool clergy and other resources. A fine example of the ecumenical spirit. Maybe 50 years too late and forced by circumstances, but you can't have everything. And if they work truly collaboratively, sacrificially, great things might happen.

So why does this sentence worry me?
"For example, in some towns you might have two churches and a chapel. They might have a vicar but no-one in the chapel. If the churches united, the vicar could also serve the chapel." 
Cuts to the scene in a vicarage, somewhere in Wales. The phone rings... 

Revd Myfanwy: "Hallo? Llantisiliog Vicarage?"

Bishop: Good afternoon, Myfanwy. It's the Bishop here.

RevM: Hello, Bishop. Hope you're well.

Bp: Radiant, Myfanwy, radiant. Now, you've been looking after a lot of parishes for us. Llantisiliog, Llantisiliog Brevi, St Hugh's Well, Llanmorwenna, Llannectan and Mudd.

RevM: That's right, Bishop. It's been hard work, but worth it. That Easter Sunday when everyone wanted communion in their own churches and a foot of snow fell - it was a 20-hour day, and I had a week off with flu straight after, but it was so rewarding, sharing the day will all twenty-seven worshippers across the benefice...

Bp: Quite. But things are going to change now. We're working with the Presbyerians and the Methodists. 

RevM: What - you mean I'll be able to share the load with Revd Lewis at Mudd Baptists? Maybe our congregation could merge with theirs? 

Bp: Something like that... 

RevM: Or we could close Llanmorwenna and they could join the Presbyterians? That would be great news. They can't afford to fix the roof. When it rains they're ankle-deep in water... 

Bp: A bit like that. It's a real opportunity for service.

RevM: Sounds exciting! What is it?

Bp: How do you feel about taking on the Methodist Circuit as well?

6 comments :

  1. Were you at the last meeting with our Archdeacon by any chance, Eileen? Either that or we have a mole...

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  2. Can I just congratulate anyone who managed to read the previous version. My Android did some strange things to the formatting there.

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  3. Naa - it's the new Blogger.

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  4. Good thought, but I was even more taken by the line, "a new breed of bishops will be created". Presumably in the Bishop-breeding pits of the Dark Tower?

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    1. How can you breed bishops if there are no female bishops?

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  5. I can't see why anyone would want to 'take on' the Methodist Circuit? They are notoriously belligerent and have a few champion boxers, rugby players and reformed coal miners in their midst. And being quite a temperance lot, they are not even good for a meeting at the Black Swan :(

    No the thing to do is what we've done. Allow them to have services in our church and to sell their chapel to raise funds for Methodist Central Fresh Expressions and absorb them.

    It worked a treat. The sole remaining methodist in our village is prominent by being the only one who refuses to stand for hymns, but he is weakening and nearly stood last week before he remembered where he was. Give us another six months and he will be a regular at evensong.

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