Footprints

Martin Ritchie comments and ponders a parallel between ministry and the ‘here today gone tomorrow’ of theatre.  And of course there are many parallels between the church and theatre – as there also are with politics.  In my time as a trainer of Curates, I used to suggest to them that they should learn to leave footprints behind them – to act in a situation so that somehow or other it was clear that they had been there.

I suppose that in ministry it’s a bit of both.  If you are the person who conducts the wedding or the funeral or who comes into the hospital in a moment of crisis, you are unlikely to be forgotten – for better or worse.  For the rest, I think clergy tend to operate on the basis of ‘one sows and another reaps’ – sadly in both the negative and positive measurements.  William Barclay said that we stand on the shoulders of our parents.  When I moved from Northern Ireland, I went through a period of feeling that I should have done more.   I celebrate today an e mail from my successor who has got to the finishing line with a building project which I planned with the parish but couldn’t get built.  Thank God for our successors!

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