RSS

Category Archives: Seen by the outside

Christian values in the UK today…

Every so often there is a call in some of the press about the UK being a Christian nation, and that we should have Christian values. But then again there is also the saying to be careful for what you wish because you might just get it.

So at the end of a week when there is what I can only see as a created controversy over the inclusion or not of “Easter” in the name of some events. We have on the one hand those who say that it is all bad because some lumps of chocolate (wrapped in foil with pirates, robots and princesses on) that are hunted for don’t have the name Easter associated with them. As Mark Steel puts it “Theresa May is right: if we let someone drop ‘Easter’ off an egg hunt, we may as well hand Britain to the jihadis

But of course this is in the same week that the Churches raised the issues of child poverty and the effects changes in the benefits system on this. Of course this is not new, as the the item from the Joint Public Issues Team highlights, there have been a number of reports and items raised on this. Going back to 2015 there was the Enough campaign. And even further back the church has been raising such issues. What also surfaced for me this week was a piece in the Guardian where (the then) Victoria Coren defended the Bishops of the Church of England for standing up for children in the befits system – and this was back in 2012.

 

So what are Christian values, to me the latter set of standing up for the poor, the oppressed, being a voice for the voiceless. As it is put in the letter of James

26 If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

and then there is continual call in Deuteronomy about how we care for the widow, orphan and stranger, with just two examples below.

1018 who executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and who loves the strangers, providing them with food and clothing.

2417 You shall not deprive a resident alien or an orphan of justice; you shall not take a widow’s garment in pledge.

So for me once we have sorted out what can be seen as core Christian values; as come from Jesus him self, and of course he then goes on to explain who a neighbour is

25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What do you read there?’ 27 He answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.’ 28 And he said to him, ‘You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.’ (Luke 10:25-28)

And for who is my neighbour – Luke 10:25-37

 

Then we can try for the minor things like chocolate eggs…

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: , , , , ,

Dressing the part

I’ve looked a little at how ministers appear as they do in the past, mainly to do with age. However I came across this today, which speaks of being dressed in a cassock and the the effect it had on the wearer. Also the fact that it is seen as a uniform, which is very much the reason I wear it, and that’s the answer to the question. Which is sometimes asked, and mainly when I’m ether wearing a clerical shirt and collar or in vestments. So I thought I’d put together some answers. Firstly however I’ll say that there is no required dress code for British Methodist Presbyters – however British Methodist Deacons being part of a religious order do have a uniform. However there is still the question of what to wear when “working”.

Why I tend to wear a clerical shirt and collar

Part of the ministers role is a public representative one; this means often being a public face on behalf of a local congregation or the wider church. And even today most people seem to recognise a clerical shirt and collar. So at the student lunch, or the church Coffee Morning I’ll wear it so folks can pick me out with ease. This also comes in useful when I’m around different parts of the circuit, people will see the collar and see a minister, and this can be the start of many conversations, a chance to reach out. So the shirt and collar to me is a uniform, something that signals to people what I am, and at times let them see the role rather than the person – much as with shop staff in uniform so you can spot them; a police man or a doctor in white coat.

Why I tend to wear vestments

So when leading services I can be seen at times wearing a black cassock, with white preaching bands, and sometimes a stole on.

So first the cassock, this was originally an overcoat, worn to cover up the every day clothes, and was till not that long ago standard outdoor wear for some clergy. I tend to wear a cassock to remind me that when leading worship I’m doing something out of the ordinary – and also to cover up the clothes I’m wearing be it smart or not. Also this presents a plain black image, so as not to distract with what I’m wearing. As one person put it, “It’s just a fancy boiler suit” and for me it is. It is something I put on to remind me of what I’m doing.

The preaching bands – the two strips of white cloth that hang down from my neck – are an extension of the clerical collar, and in part related to the neck tie. I tend to wear this as one would wear tie, to finish the outfit off. Also it is part of the traditional dress of Wesleyan Methodist Ministers, and acts as an expression of me placing my self within this traditions.

Finally the stole – the scarf like item – is one of the traditional symbols of ordination, and something shared with the wider church. This tends to be why I mainly wear it when leading sacramental service (Baptism and a the Lord’s Supper), or other special services (high days, weddings and funerals and so forth). Also the colour relates to the season of the year;

  • White for celebration – Christmas and Easter
  • Purple for penitence – Advent and Lent
  • Red for the Holy Spirit – Pentecost and times of renewal
  • Green for the rest of the time.

So part of why I dress as I do is to express a link with the wider church, and with the church tradition of which I’m a part. However there are also practical considerations, in not distracting and appearing in a respectable manner. Though as said, there is no right or wrong way for a Methodists minister to dress, and the verity of clothing that can be seen on ministers is as varied as the ministers.

If you would like further history of how some Methodist ministers have dressed; then Norman Wallwork’s “Blackbirds and Budgerigars” might be of interest.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 1, 2015 in Ministry, Seen by the outside

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Ministers in the world

I’ve been thinking about how the world sees those who are set by the church as ministers. And there is no clear view on this, as I’ve said before about the image of a young minister, also how ministers might think the world sees us. However much those who are ministers may think about what they do, and however much the church may have its ideas of ministers and what they are. The truth is that the media has more influence, so here are some TV ministers, and the views on them.

Take 10: TV vicars, priests and ministers

Six to watch: TV priests and vicars

So what do we think, some of these are historical figures, so not so relevant. But what I take from them all, is they are real people trying to do their best, and trying to follow the calling they have, dispute all else that is going on.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Ministry, Seen by the outside

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

“Faith in Foodbanks”, supproting them in fact a prayer

Well more about Foodbanks, with some resources now to support them, with both facts and prayers, from the folks at the JPIT. As Ruth Gee blogs and the info about it for the Press.

 

http://www.jointpublicissues.org.uk/faithinfoodbanks/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 21, 2014 in FoodBanks, Seen by the outside

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The whole Christian country

Before Easter it came out that the Prime Minister said that Britain is a Christian country, then a group wrote to the Telegraph saying it was not.

 

Now all this sort of makes sense in a political way, but for me I have to agree with the sentiment of the 50 who wrote the letter in response. Not that I agree with their main point, but more that I see that to be a Christian country, that the nation would need to align itself to the core aspects of the Christian Faith, and this would influence all aspects of public life. Which it clearly does not. However I have to agree with both Archbishop Justin Welby and his predecessor Bishop Rowan, that there is an echo of Christianity in the form and shape of the nation, but that this is not the whole of the story. And as Bishop Rowan puts it, people can discover the Christian faith anew, without all the baggage of being an organ of the state, which I see as a positive thing.

Archbishop Justin Welby

 

rchbishop Justin Welby

 

rchbishop Justin Welby
 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 28, 2014 in Ministry, Seen by the outside

 

Tags: , , , , ,

How NOT to be a Rector

Rev'd Claire

IMG_3224 I’m not perfect. I often get things wrong. However, I think I have plumbed new depths of What Not To Do as a new Rector….and I offer the resulting lessons to Incumbents, Associate Clergy, Curates, Ordinands and those considering Ordination….that you may not Do As I Have Done.

Do not, on your first day, give the notices, process to the back of the church, and wonder why a choir member is whispering urgently to you. You will have forgotten the Banns. There is nothing wrong with returning to the Vestry to retrieve the Banns book. However, it isn’t ideal if the congregation can hear you doing your best to break into the remarkably solid register cupboard, to which you have a key that so very nearly works when you are calm.

A good Rector will remember to get the Banns book out
before the service and take it with them…

View original post 217 more words

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 24, 2014 in Ministry, Seen by the outside

 

How many churches could be like this?

Some one pointed me in the direction of the following, it is the church speaking, and comes from the work of the The Unappreciated Pastor on The Huffington Post, and is called “Hello, my name is Church

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on January 3, 2014 in Seen by the outside, Spiritual Vocab

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,