I don’t get out ‘on the ground’ in our congregations often enough. So it was good to spend the morning of Ash Wednesday in Lochgelly with our Lay Reader there, Margaret Dineley. Lochgelly is post-industrial, mining Fife. It used to have the lowest house prices in Britain. So it’s a place of challenge and it’s very important that our church there, St Finnian’s, is open and now beginning to grow again. It’s part of our Central Fife Group and the congregations are working hard under the leadership of Revd Thomas Brauer.
First sign of church growth is that it is often random when it appears. Margaret and I were sorting ourselves out at the church when a former member of the congregation turned up. ‘Is this church still open?’ – and he told us about being an altar boy/server long ago. He’ll be back
And then we set off – to a Mother and Toddler Group run by the Salvation Army, to a Community Shop, to the Senior Citizen’s Day Centre run by Fife Council. I don’t miss the sheer hard work of congregational ministry – but I miss the buzz and the fun of it. So Margaret and I, having had our tea and toast with the Senior Citizens, had some worship with a group of them. We talked a bit about the ash which we had brought with us – then one of the elderly ladies began to talk about being a Catholic and having ash on Ash Wednesday. ‘And what did the priest say when he marked your forehead?’ I asked. And instantly she said, ‘Remember O man …. ‘
Those are great moments