Wednesday, March 19, 2008

St Joseph's day lament

Well, I survived three days of morning and evening Eucharist with a third of my usual voice. The noise of digging up St John Street outside has proceeded efficiently, at a pace. A work-place security fence now blocks entrances to several of our small churchyard areas. This means that, even if I wasn't rotten with cold, even if it wasn't still cold and raining, I still couldn't carry out my planned pre-Easter tidy-up of all our churchyards. Amazing. My intentions were so good and pure when first formulated. Never mind. Allan and I had a go at one of the remaining accessible ones before tonight's Eucharist, and filled a bag with bottles, and it's only half done.

I feel like I'm walking a tightrope with this cold. I thought I was getting better yesterday evening and then had a bad night, leaving me feeling incapable of assisting at Tredegarville School end of term Eucharist. I had to call in early and leave messages for Fr Roy and the Head Teacher. So very frustrating to feel I have to give in if I'm to keep going past the weekend.

I'm past feeling angry about the inability even to consider deploying clergy in partnerships with sustainable work loads that can cope with this kind of eventuality. What seems like a common sense priority to fire police and ambulance services, doesn't seem to hit the radar of church management at all. Sooner or later some kind of crisis happens, hitting the routine. Clerics like everyone else are vulnerable. The flock need caring for as ever. It's not an optional extra. How much better if we had an effective support plan in place - like working in partnership.

Oh, but I forgot, that would mean reforming the entire parochial structure of ministry and the church to achieve properly. We're not desperate enough to do that yet. Time will tell. Our kind of Anglicanism has successfully created a religious enterprise dependent upon clergy providing sacraments. Having created the demand, we now have problems guaranteeing supply. We still rely on predictable regularity in our devotional life to sustain us when all else around is chaos. But we don't plan to maintain supply, like the world strives to maintain supplies of energy, water, food, security, health care, 24/7/365.

People are kind and concerned when something goes wrong, but it's not at all what they need to sustain them in their day to day struggles. We need generous plans, not damage limitation.

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