Saturday 7 April 2018

Go to Church, Have a Cardiac Arrest

Big news. The prize for Most Surreal Use of Social Media in a Religious Purpose has not gone to Mark Driscoll.

Instead, well done to the C of E media team for this awesome plug.
I mean, what thought process are they considering?  In marketing terms, these are called "missions" - which is quite appropriate I suppose. The "missions" this tweet might cover include:

"Where is a cold building where I can stream Netflix while people fail to chant a psalm in tune or time?"

"I've run out of warfarin. Which building that only opens one hour a week can I go and stand outside, to be on the safe side?"

"I want to buy a stamp, and sing the Te Deum. But I only have the petrol for one journey."

"I really want to go to Cafe church." Oh no. Hang on, that works, doesn't it.

I'm impressed really with the optimism here. There are about 12,000 parishes in the Church of England. And  "hundreds" have one or more of these facilities, apparently. Let's suppose "hundreds" is 500 - which is roughly average for "hundreds". And let's suppose no church has more than one of these facilities. In which case your chance of finding that any given church has the facility you want is roughly 1%. Given the area of England is 50,000 square miles, which is roughly one church every four square miles - on average you will find what you need somewhere in a 20x20 mile box around you*.

Which is a long way to go for a stamp. And if you suddenly need a defibrillator, you're not going to make it. Best to find somewhere to go and pray. I'm sure there are some buildings knocking around for doing that.

* Your mileage may vary if you're Welsh or Scottish. Or Methodist. Or Catholic.

Want a good laugh? Want to laugh at the church? Want to be secretly suspicious that the author has been sitting in your church committee meetings taking notes? Then Writes of the Church: Gripes and grumbles of people in the pews is probably the book for you.

From Amazon, Sarum Bookshop, The Bible Readers Fellowship and other good Christian bookshops. An excellent book for your churchgoing friends, relatives or vicar. By the creator of the Beaker Folk.

1 comment :

  1. Well, we don't have a defib or cafe,although we run coffee moanings in the Church Hall weekly, and a lunch club monthly. When we have services on, we are fortunate to have one retired GP and two active GP's and an abundance of Nurses in all specialisms on hand - so, we can deal with an emergency if it arises.

    Our church is open daily, with people there to welcome visitors who have access to a first aid kit and telephone to call the emergency services if needed. We offer tea, coffee and biscuits and a listening ear, which are often the thing that people who come in to light a candle want.

    What we do isn't publicised, but is mission and pastoral care on a pretty low level basis, but a pastoral emergency can be just as difficult for the sufferer as a cardiac arrest.

    Off course, now and again, someone expects to find the Vicar in Church 24/7 to listen to them, and dispense wise advice (or none), but they need to realise that Vicar's have a life outside the church building, often doing stuff, which is unseen, but just as important for mission.

    It might be keeping the Arch Deacon happy, or colleagues in Chapter unhappy, or even endless meetings about this or that, or training days, or preparing sermons, or writing the address for the APCM, or even making Gin or feeding the Chickens.

    Or preparing for weddings, baptisms or funerals, or other offices such as home communion, pastoral visiting, or just doing the admin, applying for grants, editing the parish magazine, or meeting the church wardens to discuss the new hole in the roof or the blocked drains. And on occasion, attending the latest tranche of safeguarding training.

    Those lucky enough to have a Curate or Readers, might also be involved in supervision.

    Off course, there is always Deanery/Diocesan Synod to prepare for, even General Synod if they are unlucky enough to be elected.

    The point is that all of this is mission, and the Clergy family life, often has to take second place to it. Vote for Vicars I say, they're worthy of the vote.

    I'm a bit more sniffy about Arch Deacons, or Diocesan staff, who demands immediate answers to obscure queries at short notice.

    As for Bishops... we all know how important they are, so push them further up the pedestal to the Lords, where they can be productive.


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