Feet on the ground – ash on the forehead

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

One comment

  1. A litany of replies on sexuality but no replies on Independence and Lent, and clergy training. As ever the church strains at knats…

    I hope the cascade conference doesn’t turn into a tirade but suspect that just one point of view will given given, and because ordinary members won’t give their voice those with their feet in the ground rarely will come to a conclusion that may be unbalanced. Already two folk have said they will leave if the canon on marriage is changed. I suspect there will be many more who quietly feel the same.

    We may be naive and ignore the political reality that this is a red herring to take the focus away from The Independence debate. A downturn in our economy with companies leaving Scotland will lead to far greater poverty though a tax shortfall, let alone the uncertainties about relying on oil flow and price. Christians can read and find much more on that in the Bible.

    Anglicans do have a scripture, tradition and reason approach but always with the primacy of scripture. Through the work of the Holy Spirit we should come to it with humbleness and a desire for enlightenment. A hermeneutic that says ‘that was then, and this is now’ makes a false assumption that we are somehow better people today. We are not and Lent is a reminder of the failures we allow or make and our need for Grace. Thank God for the gift of repentance and forgiveness – and for 40 days especially to concentrate on it!

    Have a good retreat +D

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