Saturday, May 21, 2016

Not-so-Visible Ministry

Yesterday I downloaded and printed the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission  report. The United Church is committed to developing "right relations" with First Nations peoples and the denomination was involved in the hearings which were held across the country. The United Church was one of several denominations which ran Residential Schools in conjunction with the federal government and it is perhaps the darkest chapter of our story. We have provided millions of dollars in settlement and restitution, created a separate healing fund, issued formal apologies, and been involved in a host of other conversations. I plan to offer opportunities for discussion about the TRC report, so I better do my homework.

This is one of the not-so-visible aspects of ministry. Early on I had a parishioner who would joke that I was "six days of the week invisible, one day of the week incomprehensible." It was clever and funny -- the first time. Granted, ministry is a profession which can be invisible and incomprehensible, but most clergy do a lot of stuff which never registers on the radar of most folk.

A couple of weeks ago we hosted Rob Oliphant, the co-chair of the joint committee of Parliament and the Senate which produced the report on Medical Assistance in Dying. Since I was interviewing Rob I figured I better do my homework. I read the report and the proposed legislation.

Last summer I read through Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home the environmental encyclical issued by Pope Francis. I created questions for a four-week study group on the encyclical and its creation care implications.

Am I blowing my own horn here? Maybe. Actually, this is more a reminder that not all of ministry meets the eye. Would everyone consider this a good use of my time? Not likely, given that this is the United Church. But if I won't do the "heavy lifting." who will. It's strange. As I get greyer, my grey matter becomes more compromised. Focus, comprehension -- all the challenges of aging. I'll plug away at it though!



Frank said...

For ministry to be effective, it must be relevant. And that means it also must be current. We also realize that the lead minister cannot be expected to do this all alone. We all need to share in this responsibility.
Nevertheless, effective ministry also relies on leadership that inspires and motivates the rest of us to action, to discipleship. We must always be prepared to discover where there is suffering in need of relief, and to use our worship and fellowship opportunities to encourage one another along this never ending road.

Judy McKnight said...

Frank is dead on, as usual ! Don't quit what you are doing, David - I really appreciate a well-informed, well-read preacher and encourager !