Words by Rosemary Bird
Bethany in Transition 18 years ago

In this time of transition from one minister to another, perhaps it would be a good thing to do a short evaluation.

Where have we come from and where are we going.

For a satisfactory day-to-day life, we need to be ever moving forward; continually challenging ourselves to learning new ideas and trying for improvements in our methods.

A thriving church also is prepared to meet new challenges; in fact, to welcome them as a way of preventing an attack of the doldrums.

These doldrums can be brought on by viewing church services as something we automatically attend and sit through each Sunday morning.

Since I have started attending presbytery meetings, my eyes have really been opened to the fact that a minister’s job is much more than a couple of sermons on Sunday and a hospital visit through the week.

There are 14 committees at Presbytery and each one chaired by a minister, with other ministers also in the groups, besides the lay representatives – and how necessary they are to give the competent leadership sorely needed by inexperienced persons such as myself.

And besides the Presbytery meetings, these ministers have frequent executive meetings, inductions to attend, and other meetings at conference level.

Much reading must also be done to keep abreast of the current affairs both in the church and in the world at large.

It only takes some time and attendance at several available workshops to make you realize how the ideas

 

come down from General Council through the various levels to ourselves as representatives to Presbytery to be brought to you as parishioners.

Much thought and deliberation precipitates these ideas – and just as institute members and lodge members have a responsibility to become informed and contribute their time and talents wherever possible, so do we as church members need to share our abilities.

At the Official Board meeting in Elora where Mr. Ingleby’s resignation was formally presented, he explained to us that he felt a change was necessary both for himself and for ourselves as parishioners.

He remarked that in time both minister and congregation can get into a rut with a resulting lack of enthusiasm.

He said we should think of a minister not as an employee, but rather as someone on loan to us from Presbytery, at our request, to be our teacher and mentor.

He further pointed out responsibilities a congregation has toward a called pastor.

It should be a covenant relationship in which the pastor and congregation work together.

Problems should be dealt with by the suitable committees rather than let things fester.

Meetings should be as frequent as needed and should be well-attended.

Concerning hospital visiting; supposing the regular day for this is Tuesday. Between that Tuesday and the next someone can be into hospital and back home again and complain about the minister not being in to call.

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