Monday, 18 May 2009

Ministry Reality Checkpoint

A very busy weekend, mainly because of five presentations in 48 hours! Great pleasure, but it does restrict time a bit. Today brings a leavers session at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. Putting it together, I remembered these words from an ordination address delivered by Hensley Henson, Bishop of Durham, in 1936. Some of the ways of putting things may have dated, but I think the main point is worth considering, even today:
Nearly fifty years have passed since I was myself ordained in Cuddesdon Parish Church on a lovely summer morning in 1887.

How well I remember the tumult of conflicting thoughts which raged in my mind, and perhaps hindered me from entering as fully as I would have entered into the solemn yet exalting service!
How little I guessed what lay before me! 
The immense failures 
which would overtake my too-ardent beginnings; 
the disappointments which would shadow 
my later course; the growing sense of inadequacy 
which would become a settled resident in my mind...

The happiest years of my ministry were those in which, as the vicar of a great industrial parish, 
I was nearest to the people. Faces look out at me from the past — toil-worn faces radiant with love and confidence. Nothing of what men foolishly call success is worth comparison 
with the experiences which those faces recall...

I say to you then — love God and love your people.
Count nothing excessive that you can do for them. Serve them in your office for the love of Christ, 
and they will surely give you back more 
than you can ever give them.

2 comments:

Tim Chesterton said...

That's lovely, Alan - thank you!

ukviewer said...

"I say to you then — love God and love your people. Count nothing excessive that you can do for them. Serve them in your office for the love of Christ, 
and they will surely give you back more 
than you can ever give them."

What a wonderful sentiment to remind us what we are about!

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