This is a response in the Church Times with reference to the debate on “key limiting factors” (News, 2 July) – clergy – that prevent mission and ministry in the Church of England. Sadly, this is another ‘faux pas’ by the church hierarchy towards clergy over these past 18 months & is quite depressing – especially when we are weary and morale is low. Not unlike government response to Nurses and Key Workers etc.. National leaders are so out of touch its mindboggling.
This article by Giles Fraser The Church is abandoning it’s flock is well worth a read too.
We are the limiting factor.
We are the listeners to stories to heartache to pain — that arrive in our hearts via email, Facebook, and a knock on the door.
We are the holders of hands, the ones who bless the dying and comfort the bereaved.
We are the writers of risk assessments and the readers of regulations and Covid guidelines (often late at night)
We are the facilitators: the “Let’s change our plans” people, the “We can adapt”, the “Rain/Covid won’t stop us”.
We are the up-at-6-a.m. people, the learners of Open Broadcaster Software, the reluctant YouTube stars; we moved our ministry online in moments. We are the learned-new-skills people, wept many tears of frustration people, worried about those not online people.
We are the shoulder to cry on, the place to bring frustrations, and “Why did you move the candle?” questions. We are the listeners to roof problems, the unblockers of toilets. and the listeners to joyful moments.
We are the lovers of our community, the spreaders of the gospel of love, even if this doesn’t translate to bums on seats.
We are the baptisers of babies and the reassurers of young parents. We smile at wonderful noisy toddlers and sing nursery rhymes at toddlers’ groups.
We are the ones who bring up our babies and juggle their needs alongside our communities. We are the ones who sacrifice our loved ones to others too often (but we are getting better at that).
We are the ones who have missed many family occasions because we don’t get a weekend; we have smiled too many wry smiles at our spouses because of emergencies’ changing plans. We are the ones who give so much time to others and then return to an empty house with no one to hear about our day.
We are the fun Jesus people at schools: the supporters of teachers, the bringer of gifts, the ones who struggle to find a new exciting way to tell our school children that they are amazing and loved and valued.
We are the ones who marry the in-love — who learn new systems, who listen about flowers and seating plans, and pray for sunny days and happy marriages
We are the ones who journey with the sick and who talk about death and don’t back away from hard conversations.
We are the ones who bury our friends and total strangers and give each the same respect and care.
We are the ones who lose hours to safeguarding, who write policies and hear stories, and who fear handling it badly; who safeguards us?
We are the ones who bless the bread and feel inadequate, who say the blessing and know it’s not us.
We are the welcomers, the never tired or sad one, the always available one. The ones who know there are always more phone calls and visits we should make and the ones whose inbox is never empty. We are the lovers of Jesus who wish there was more time to pray and less admin.
We are the broken, the tired, the “We are not good enough”, the weary. The called to a ministry we love but is so, so hard.
We are the limiting factor.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.