09 November 2006

Letters to the Editor

I'm beginning to think that, for purposes of morale, it might be wise for me to stop reading the letters to the Editor in The Methodist Recorder.

Maybe my perception is skewed, but it seems to me that we've had months and months of letters about how awful and incompetent Methodist ministers are: from our preaching, to our pastoral skills, to willingness to take on administration duties, to our inability to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

According to The Methodist Recorder, as far as I can tell, the ideal Methodist minister:

  • Is 30 years old with 45 years' ministeral experience.
  • Is an expert in building children's and young people's ministry starting with nothing but a country chapel with 3 elderly ladies, a Fairy Liquid bottle and some sticky-back plastic;
  • Spends 7 days a week making pastoral visits and is happy to be a personal chaplain to all shut-ins;
  • Is an efficient administrator of all government regulations, reads 45-page fire codes in 5 minutes with full and expert comprehension, and carries out £150 safety checks in the church for 1S 3d;
  • Conducts trendy and lively all-age worship using presentation videos and all the latest worship songs whilst simultaneously preaching a gripping exegetical sermon and permitting nothing but Wesley hymns.
  • Is perfectly happy to be minister to six churches with 20 members each and would never, ever, mouth the heretical idea that actually 120 members in one congregation would release a lot of human energy and monetary resources.


Sally said...

Yup Pam that spounds about right- I wonder where that super Minister is hiding?

ampraisingHim said...

Good post...that's an awful hard thing for my husband to live up to, but isn't it what the congregation sometimes expect, :(

PamBG said...

I'm probably still in the honeymoon period, but I don't find that my actual congregations expect all of this. Possibly because they know me and they know I care about them and that I'm doing what I can.

I think that the thing about a "letters to the editor" section - or even blogging - is that rather than facing our own minister and saying "I don't like this", it's easier to write and take out our frustrations on "all ministers". But that can be disheartening sometimes - which is why I say I shouldn't read the letters if my morale is low.

Anonymous said...

Reading the Methodist Recorder letters page is my favourite form of masochism.

Anonymous said...

love this ... and am quoting it :)

bless you !

Gerrarrdus said...

You forgot "and has a wife/husband who is a brilliant organist, leads house groups, makes tea, welcomes visitors, arranges the flowers, and has a separate life of their own apart from being married to the minister"

Gerrarrdus said...

Sorry, should have introduced myself. I'm a fried of Dawn's and Sally's from their course, and an Anglican (but a former Methodist local preacher).

PamBG said...

Welcome Gary and thanks for stopping by.

I had some trepidation about posting this, but it seems to resonate with a lot of people. I wonder why? ;-0

I'm a former Lutheran with a closet interest in liturgy that I try to keep under wraps as much as possible. Although the alb might be a giveaway.

It takes all sorts!

Mr John Cooper said...

I only read the recorder for the letters page. For nothing short of a gossip column it has a remarkably large readership. Bit of a shame that is the ony thing of interest in the paper.

As for £1.10 or 20 now that they ask I certainly do not have the cash to splash on that ....

so the laws of economics have cut me off!

Oh do you mind if I link to your blog?


PamBG said...

Feel free to link, John. I think, perhaps, we "know" each other from Ship of Fools. I used to be in Enfield and I think we may have had a conversation once. (I'm trying not to to blow my SOF cover. ;-))

will smama said...

Huh - there are similar requirements for the Presbyterians me thinks.

PamBG said...

It's interesting how this has resonated. I'm sure that these "requirements" cross denominational boundaries.

I want to hasten to add that I didn't actually make these up, though. They pretty well reflect the contradictory complaints that have been in The Methodist Recorder over the last year or so!

I suspect that it says something about projection - the congregants' and ours! And probably about how ministers really do have to let this stuff roll of their backs and not let their internal demons beat them up the ammunition that is provided.

Sometimes we have to just do our best and leave it at that!