Friday, October 24, 2008

Agenda for the Small Church

Agenda for the Small Church: A Handbook for Rural Ministry
By David G. Andrews, National Catholic Rural Life Conference (U.S.), National Catholic Rural Life Conference (U.S. Published by National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 1998
184 pages

This is another book with a series of questions through 18 different sections all related to ministry in the small rural church. Four essays conclude the text. This is an excellent resource for rural parishes posing questions around 18 different areas of ministry. Primarily written for American Roman Catholics, but it should have received a wide reading (it was published ten years ago). One of the strength's of this book are the two studies which are constantly referenced in the 18 different sections of the text.

The book is still listed at Natinoal Catholic Rural Life Conference Web-site. $16.00.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Your Church Your Parish Workshop & Discussions

This past week we talked about discipleship quite a bit.

Last night while reading The Country Vicar I came across the following by David Osborne:

The aim of much of the teaching of the church is not simply that people should be able to clarify their ideas about life, the universe and God but that they should be able to live with a deeper or stronger faith. Jesus was known as a teacher but he was not a philosopher or a scientist. His concern was that people should have faith in God and live with love and these will be the aims of much church preaching and teaching. The process of learning and living with Christian faith is often referred to as discipleship: being a disciple of Jesus.
Osborne echoes much of what we have been reading in Your Church Can Thrive, by Harold Percy. It's encouraging to find essentially the same concept in a different place, and sometimes from a source one least expects.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Country Vicar / David Osborne

The Country Vicar is written of course by a Church of England vicar. On the back cover you will find this little bit about the author:
DAVID OSBORNE is the author of The Owl and the Stereo; An Introduction to Radical Christianity. He is the Rural Dean of Shepton Mallet, a member of the Church of England's General Synod and a member of the Iona Community.
[But from other sources on the web, it does appear that he retired in 2007.]

Presently I have read three of the eleven chapters of this book. Any clergy who read this book will laugh at the stories at the end. Some spouses, and family of clergy, will laugh and cry.

Osborne states:
Though there are far fewer country vicars than there were forty years ago the book focuses on the country vicar not as an endangered species but as a continuing key player in the life of the church. It looks at what country vicars do, at the pressures they are under and at the unrealistic ideas and expectations they have to live and work with. But more importantly it suggests a way forward not just for the country clergy but for the rural churches of which they are a part. It is intended for anyone who is involved or interested in the life of the church in the countryside.
(page 18)

As I read through this text I hope to be able to say that Osborne accomplishes his purpose. If he has, this book is of great value to those in rural ministry.

One of the delights of the Country Vicar are the almost real stories that wrap up each chapter.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Holy Cross Choir with the Reverend Thomas Smith

This photograph, of the Holy Cross Choir with the Reverend Thomas Smith, hangs in the choir room at Eastport.

With the Rector in the photograph the following have been identified:

Norman Bull, Edna Dyke, Mildred Dyke, Alph Hancock, Gordon Hancock, Norman Handcock, Roma Laurell, Margaret LeBlanc, Bill Matchim, Ned Matchim, Betty Moss, Clara Moss, Wilbur Moss, Essie Penney, Harvey Penny, Gordon Penney, Sam Quinton, Baxter Squire, Neville Squire, Rebecca Squire, Eva Turner, Gerald Turner, Martha Turner, Nelson Turner, Rosalie Turner, Sylvia Turner, Ruby White.

This Thanksgiving we celebrate all that members of our choir, over the years, have offered freely and continue to offer in song to the glory of God.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Kenya Mission of Reconciliation - Bishop Eddie & Emma Marsh

Bishop Eddie & Emma Marsh, with others, will be in Kenya for a Mission of Reconciliation, Oct 28 - Dec 3. Please support them with your prayers. And I would encourage all to support them financially on this mission, as they are covering their own expenses.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Your Church Your Parish Workshop & Discussions

This afternoon (Oct 5 - Saturday) we begin a series of workshops and discussions, as we will read Harold Percy's book Your Church Can Thrive. This is one of those unknowns that one approaches with fear and trepidation. One never knows how many will turn up to participate, and you never know the out come. One hopes, and one prays!


Well a few of us came out to listen to Dean John Watton. Rev'd John stirred us as we prepare to consider the implications of Your Church Can Thrive by Harold Percy.
I am personally looking forward to reading together this book, holding in mind what Rev'd John has pointed out to us, and discovering the implications of discipleship as we “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” what God has in store for us.
Thanks John, we all appreciated your presence, what you brought to our attention, and the manner in which you presented all! Thanks.


For those of us engaging in these Parish discussions we are now expected to read chapter one by Tuesday/Thursday evening. Enjoy and learn as you read!
Oct 7, Tuesday, eleven of us gathered at St Stephen's Hall, Salvage – Thursday, Oct 9, fourteen of us gathered at the Church of the Resurrection, Sandringham – to work through the implications of chapter one of Your Church Can Thrive.
Two different conversations took place, but for the most part we confined our discussion to chapter one, Thinking About Growth. Of the matters we discussed much of our discussion centred around inviting others, of giving an invitation to explore fellowship with us as a church and with God in Christ.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Rural Ministry and the Changing Community

Rural Ministry and the Changing Community was written by Rockwell C Smith, 1971. Smith was "both a sociologist and a minister."

As I am reading this book I find myself challenged by my assumptions and perspectives, which R C Smith highlights as problems faced by clergy in rural settings. And maybe this can even happen to one who was raised in a rural setting. For the most part so far this appears to be a common sense book. It is still worth a peruse by anyone engaged in rural ministry. Though the volume I borrowed from a library does not appear to have had the privilege of being lent out previously.

Smith in the midst of his book draw particular importance to the book Small Town in Mass Society. (A partial reading is available at Google Books.)

As I read through this text I came across this:
the texture of our lives. Jews and Christians, as well as most of the great religions, reject the division of life into “sacred” and “secular”; they insist that all of life is the area for religious commitment and confrontation.

which is worth recalling in our own journeys of faith.