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Tag Archives: Ministry

What do we sing

There is a long-held view that Methodism sings its faith, that the hymns sung Sunday by Sunday help to form what we know and think about God. This can be seen in the debate about hymn books and so forth, and the content. However there are far more hymns than those in a book, and new ones coming out after the book has been published.

However the Untied Methodist Church – in the US – has looked over the top hundred hymns and songs from CCLI and scored them to see how well the conform to Methodist doctrine and practice, the scores can be seen here.

Now as some one who leads worship, I have to say that such guidance is of help. However I do wonder if the tool being developed can also be applied to current, and historic material, and what that would show up. When looking at the criteria being used:

So I have to ask how many of our traditional hymns would meet these criteria, or is it only some verses. Hence when looking over time at some hymns we see that some verse are no longer sung.

I have to say that I like that some one is looking over the new material, but do we have to also do likewise with some of the older material?

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2016 in Ministry, Worship

 

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The political but not partisan

With all that’s going on at the moment, it is difficult to not just let my own views take over what I say in the pulpit. At times yes I need to give my own views and opinions… however these view need to be rooted in scripture and faith, and when preaching, when I

interpret those sacred stories of our community, so that they speak a word to people today [Ordinations service of the Singapore Methodist Church]

It is my place to let me get in the way of the message, but at times it can be hard. This thinking has been kicked off by others having similar issues, in this case David over at Beloved Spear, and how he is dealing with things in the US.

So now we wait and see, but keep in mind the teaching of Christ and ways of God.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Ministry

 

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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.

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

 

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Church survival bag

A couple of weeks back I shared a post by God Life Church entitled Long Live the church. The original post viewed the decline in church membership like a disaster movie, with a plague spreading, and the need for humans to come together and do something.

Now those who follow such films and genre will know of the survival bag – a bag packed with the things to get through the asteroid stick, zombie apocalypses or what ever. S it got me thinking, what would I put in the Methodist Church is survival bag, the things worth taking with us.

  • The Class Meeting – the small groups that are intended for spiritual development, the deepening of faith and pastoral care. I’d put this in the bag because of all the above things. But also due to the origin of them, that it was a practical origin of collecting the penny to pay back the loan on the New Rooms. The ability to take something very practical and find a way to use it for the work is something important to me.
  • The Priesthood of All Believers – Now first this is not a case that everyone does everything, no it is a case that every one could do anything. The fact that in the church we are all equal, some are called to different tasks, and some do them, in this way it is not that every one does everything, but that they can. Also a key part of this is that access to God is not limited to a special few, but that all can and should interact with God.
  • Connexinalism – The interlinking of congregations and people. We are all working in the local, but people can support each other across the wider world. In this case the mutual support that can be seen here is important.

There are likely other things that would get put in the bag, what would you put in?

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Ministry

 

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To what are we called?

This was inspired by the melding together of the addresses to the Methodist Conference of the President and Vice-President of the Conference.

To what are we called?

To what are we called?
To famine or feast
to good or bad years
To what are we called?
To city or wilderness
to multitude or hermitage
To what are we called?
To be in season and out of it
to highs and lows
To what are we called?
To word and sacrament
to be unheard or empty
To what are we called?
To witness and service
to be unseen or unknown
To what are we called?
To mission or holiness
to a scriptureless dichotomy
To what are we called?
To be in or of the world
to be in ways set aside
To what are we called?
To core and rule
to inspiration or spontaneity
To what are we called?
To many, to all and more
to be done by the grace of God.
 
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Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Ministry, Poetry

 

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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.

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

 

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Food banks today

Today the numbers came out about how many are using food banks

Food banks see ‘shocking’ rise in number of users up by 51%, and the Churches voiced their anger at this not at the people needing the food, but that they needed to use food banks.

Along with this the church leaders put out a letter about food poverty issues, that appeared in the Guardian, which also reported on the issue. The letter is part of the End Hunger Fast campaign. And I’m glad to say that my name appears among the many.

A small contribution to raising a voice for those who need it, by those of us who can.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2014 in FoodBanks, Ministry

 

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