Monday, 30 March 2015

Church Profiles Explained Some More

In my previous blog to you, O blog-lovers, I discussed some labels of church traditions that are used in church profiles - those documents generally used to sell churches to potential ministers - and what they meant in reality. Some people laughed, some tutted, some resigned their ministries, and some wondered where the Charismatic Catholics were.

But that's only part of the story. There are also the words that the churches use to describe themselves, apart from the labels. The softer words. The words that can convey positive meanings to potential ministers, while hiding or foreboding an inner despair.... Here's a sampler.

A Sense of History - The Memorials get more attention than the members of the congregation.

Ambitions for Children's Work - You or your partner  must be good with children. As none of us can stand them. But apparently they're "the Future", whatever that is.

Architecturally rich - People will come from all over the country, demand you open up the church so they can spend five minutes admiring the stained glass, and leave nothing in the donations box.

At the Centre of the Community - Controlled by the Lodge.

Buidling Relationships - The last minister got 10 years.

Church Magazine needs reviving - How's your writing, editing, printing and door-to-door distribution skills?

Close-knit - You know that Table of Kindred and Affinities you townies have? We've shortened that.

Conservative - We ducked the last witch in 1986. She's now the organist, as it gors.

Dedicated congregation for Daily Prayer - Doris does get a bit fixated on the minister.

Diverse - The organist is Welsh. And the Church Warden's wife is from the next village.

Ecumenical activity - The Baptists have stopped swearing at the Methodist minister. At least, on Sundays. That's an improvement, isn't it?

Everyone knows everyone else - There's only four in the congregation.

Historic Building - Are you a good fund-raiser?

In need of a Hands-on minister - The boiler's constantly breaking down.

Inner City - Look, we know it's what Jesus might be wanting. But that doesn't necessarily make it easy. You will be the only professional on the patch who doesn't go home to the suburbs at night. And possibly the only church member in that situation as well.

Many baptisms - Well, they're cheaper than weddings.

Many funerals - When they cleared people out from the Old East End, they didn't completely lose the culture.

Many weddings - Mostly between people from the EU, and people from the developing world who can't seem to remember their partners' names.

Messy Church - Pigeons and bats keep getting in.

Mix of Traditions across the Benefice - Little Tremlett has declared war on Woodby Chapel End.

Paid 75% of the Parish Share - Next year we're aiming for 50.

Patron is greatly interested in the work of the Parish - Imagine you're Mr Collins in Pride and Prejudice. But will you please stop simpering?

Quarterly Benefice Service - Every 5th Sunday of the month, the congregation of 5 out of 6 parishes stays at home.

Reverent - No children.

Rich local history - There's a coven meets on the downs. Not one of the nice ones. And two of the members are on the tea rota.

Rural - You'll be accepted in about 20 years.

Strong pastoral commitment - The entire congregation needs bussing to hospital on a weekly basis. Apart from the ones in the residential home, obviously.

Solemn - See "Reverent"

Thriving village social life - Wife-swapping.

Varied Worship Tradition - After three ministers of different enthusiasms, we're liturgically and theologically bankrupt. And financially, obviously. Financially goes without saying.

Very Rural - We'll give your car a year. And the local mechanic - whom you will have to go to, as he's one of the Wardens - really only "gets" tractors.

Vibrant - Noisy


  1. Forward-looking - With our history we daren't look back.

    1. I've been minister there! (I didn't see you) :)

  2. "writing, editing, printing and door-to-door distribution skills."

    Totally unrealistic because over-simplified, ArchDruid. How's your ability at getting information about future fixtures (our bring-and-buy sales are world famous in Dorset) out of the organisers; at getting reliable information out of the organisers; at altering text at the last minute because they have given you the right time and venue but the wrong day? How's your ability to stay sane and polite when it's the third time they've done that? How's your ability to complete a list of contributors to something without omitting at least one name (and that the name of the most aggressive member)? And mis-spelling another? How's your ability at writing up a cake sale to make it sound like the Social Event of the Century?

    I ran a newsletter for a local charity for eight years and I've still got the scars.

    1. I once pointed out to a pagan acquaintance who was proudly showing me a poster for a Beltane event she was organising that there is no such date as 31 April.

  3. All of these and more can describe situations in a particular place and time. But those that are stable and happen all of the time, explains the longevity and diversity of the CofE. It has survived despite itself, due to those dedicated eccentrics who actually belong. And as we're a nation of eccentrics, it's quite popular and has more signed up members than both the Tory and Labour parties combined.

  4. I will bear this in mind for tomorrow's Section 11 meeting. We have a strong choral tradition, buildings of major archeological and historical interest and an admirable parish magazine. Wonder what sort of incumbent we will attract ...


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