I am currently working in a grey zone with regards to the Church. I have not quite finished my curacy, am not quite a Rector but am Interim Priest-In-Charge at St Nins and, basically, am classified as the Bishop’s Curate till September. So, technically, I am still in my training and formation period of authorised and ordained ministry.
This means that I attend our Diocesan Curates Support Group as part of my Continuing Ministry Development (CMD). Yesterday, we had an informal lunch and reflective session at one of the Curate’s homes. There were only three of us but it was good. The Curate is married to a priest who will be celebrating 50 years of Holy Orders in September – his Golden Jubilee! What an accomplishment and how much experience has been gained in those many years. So it is always a joy to discuss ministry and life as a priest with someone who has seen it all, done it all and heard it all.
What struck me yesterday, apart from how fabulous their Coronation Chicken and my brownies were, was that we are very blessed with our Church. In the SEC all styles of worship and approach have a home and are accepted. From the very low laid back to the more catholic than the Catholics approach, we all have a place, we are all tolerated and, for the most part, I pray that we are all welcomed. There really is an Episcopal/Anglican church out there to suit everyone. I simply love that about the church God has chosen for me to commit my life to serving. It means that with all my quirky human faults, I am licensed to be a priest in a church that doesn’t bat an eyelid about red shoes and matching red nail polish on a Sunday morning.
We got into quite a heated debate about when a priest is celebrating the sacraments how much of that priest’s personality should be on ‘display’. From the staunch line of ‘ absolutely nothing of the person should be revealed’, to the relaxed ‘we are human and we bring our humanity with us to God’s table’, the views were wide apart. And yet, over brownies and Quiche and wine, there was laughter, common ground and trust.
I have probably opened a can of worms with this post, but each priest and each member of the church bring something different to worship every week. We are all changed by our lives during the week. I celebrate the fact that on a Sunday morning we can lay it all at God’s feet and simply pray ‘thank you for loving me as I am’.