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!