Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Processing change, encountering grace.

It is now six weeks since I left Parish Ministry to take up my new post as Path of Renewal Coordinator.
As well as getting to grips with a new job, the description of which is still, largely, being written, there has been the challenge of moving house, leaving church, and finding a new faith community.
We have discovered how easy it is to accumulate far too much "stuff" in 34 years of marriage. Although neither of the manses we have occupied contained the required number of rooms stipulated by the Church of Scotland,  we still had a lot of recycling to do in order to occupy our new home. 
We have also discovered the freedom of choosing our own colour schemes and having work done without committee discussion and approval!
Finding a new church wasn't difficult: there are plenty around and the one closest was so welcoming that we haven't ventured anywhere else. But Sundays are still traumatic. It is difficult to be in the pew. 
It's not so much that I miss preaching or conducting worship per se. And I certainly don't miss all the preparation and angst. But I miss being with the community that I know and love, the community that appreciated the unpredictable on a Sunday, who were always up for a challenge and who welcomed my style and spontaneity in worship.
Well meaning friends and colleagues have suggested that I should fill in for other ministers, and there have been offers. But that still wouldn't mitigate the miss that I feel of worshipping with a community who had become familiar - pilgrims together.
Sundays are pain-filled but I give thanks for a new community of faith in which folk are willing to let me simply be, offering space and compassion, empathy and companionship on this latest stage on the journey of faith.
And in my new post, as I mentor and support others who are exploring new ways to be communities of faith, I will remember these important lessons in letting go, in grieving,  and in embracing the new, supported by those who live into the grace of God.

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