Team Ministry in West Dorset

View from the Vicarage

Posted: 27th June 2015

Chickens – 5 of them! Light Sussex; Blue Maran; Cuckoo Maran; two ex-Barn.
Though I think this is supposed to be an ‘over-view’ rather than a ‘literal-view’ (otherwise I’d have to mention the pink portaloo in the church car park!).
En route to a week’s Retreat in Hacienda Los Olivos, Vicky & I few in to Malaga, birthplace of Pablo Picasso. This Spanish painter, sculptor, poet & playwright is eminently quotable. For instance, “Every act of creation is frst an act of destruction”. If you know your Enneagram (a model for helping our awareness of both the positive & negative aspects of ourselves), Picasso might appear as a ‘Type-8’ – assertive; strong; challenging. “Eights are self-reliant and take control of steering ships that have gone of course” (Taylor & Williams).
Rev’d John Rennie (Deanery Missioner) is leading a Steering Group to consider various aspects of the multi-parish rural Benefce that is ‘The Melbury Team’. With Graham Perryman’s departure as Rector, the Archdeacon informs us that the Post will not be advertised “as is” because it would not be filled “as is”. And so, pastoral care; administration; service-pattern; children & young people’s work; mission &
evangelism; PCC co-operation; collective prayer are all under review. The first Christians had to work out for themselves how they should organise their communities so as best to carry & spread the message with which they had been entrusted. That dynamic is no diferent today.
Do you hope that this time of Vacancy (interregnum) will be one of creation? Do you fear that any new thing, or any change, means destruction? Rev’d Bob Jackson tells of the Vacancy period that followed his Rector leaving and suggests several reasons why things went so well; “It’s been a team effort … We tried new things & made changes … We made sure nobody drifed away & looked out for newcomers … We held a weekly, well-attended prayer meeting”. Can we in Melbury do the same to make this a good Vacancy missionally & pastorally, so that the church community holds together, grows
together & ministers together? John, Linda & I are not the persons who do the ministry to the church, but those who help the whole people of God out-work the mission & ministry of the church.
As you read this, John Rennie is meeting with Churchwardens & PCC representatives to discuss all of the above and will write more next month. I imagine that our journey will involve contrasts similar to those of other parishes; “It was a hectic, busy, scary time” … “People you would not expect got involved in things.” My own prayer is that, to quote Picasso, we would remember “everything is a miracle” ; that God is “really another artist”; that we are the result of his endeavours, “created in Christ Jesus to join him in
the work he does” (Ephesians, ch.2).
Rev’d David HARKNETT