Friday, January 05, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well after a bit of a break, I am back in harness. I am sorry that the break from blogging was longer than I originally intended. A big thank you to all who read this blog in 2006. I hope you will want to stay with me in 2007!

To get back into the swing of things, I want to add to the last blog. I felt at the time that it finished too abruptly. I am working on the next stage and hope to publish it over the weekend.

Personal Journey 15 (continued)

The Primary School in Banchory was large, perhaps the largest primary school in the UK. Each of the four chaplains took assemblies and had responsibility for one age group within the school. I offered to take responsibility for the early stages, which included the nursery (or kindergarten, as we would say out here). I found myself enjoying going in to take classes each week, and I found myself making some good friends on the staff.

Not too long into my time there, I was invited to become a School governor. I think I should explain that I did not have children of my own and so I felt especially honoured that they should ask someone like me and nor did they have to ask a clergyman. It was a great encouragement. As an incomer, and a new one at that, I wanted to do what I could to get involved in the local community and this was a big step forward. Later, I was also to get more involved in the local secondary school, but it was the Primary School that was to be my main commitment. Towards the end of my time at Banchory, I also had the privilege of becoming the Chairman of the School Governors.

In addition to my involvement in the schools, I did what I could to create a good relationship between myself and local community groups and organisations. Organisations such as the British Legion, for example, whose annual service and lunch I always enjoyed and looked forward to. I also made some good friends at a local retirement estate and regularly took services there. I encouraged local groups to make use of the church hall in the hope that it would help people get over the psychological hurdle many feel about coming to church. I thought that if they had been to an activity at church during the week they would feel more comfortable about attending a service at a weekend!

I tried to make the Church available for people in time of need. For example, I always agreed to marry people in church, if asked, and again made some good friends through helping people prepare for their wedding. And I always said yes if asked to officiate at a funeral for someone in the town. My attitude was that the Church ought to be there for people and that we should do what we could to minister to people.

Gradually, and slowly, we began to see some growth in the number of people coming to church. What was especially encouraging was that people started bringing their children to Sunday School and attending church while their children were there. While nothing spectacular was happening, I did feel that I was fulfilling my initial goals. The problem was going to be how to proceed next!

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