I have just been writing my bits for the January newsletter (we have a compassionate editor, who let me delay after Christmas). The newsletter is a new-ish thing in the life of the congregation, and we are just at the point of shifting from ‘new and bright’ to ‘established pattern’. So it is that I begin to recognize how even a newsletter reflects the biases of the priest and editor.
The editor and I had conversations early on about what a rector’s letter was for, and she offered me the good advice that it needed to be shorter and simpler than I might wish to make it. The trade off was that we put in place a monthly column called ‘Growing Together’. This is a catch all space for news that needs to be shared (decisions made at the liturgy day, for example) and things that we might fruitfully think about together. But as I wrote for it again today, I realise I’ve turned it into yet another ‘teaching’ slot.
It is inevitable I suppose. ‘Once a teacher always a teacher’ is a phrase that lacks humour only because it is about as surprising as ‘water is wet’.
But I do prove the adage rather more often than most.
So, this month’s rector’s letter has small suggestions for preparing for the winter session on deepening in prayer. And the Growing Together column has a full blown invitation to written work on core theological concepts, as well as a quick explanation of the free writing method.
It’s crazy, I know. But the thing is, it seems to work. I can’t tell you how often someone comes back to me weeks or months after some throw away suggestion I’ve made to the congregation to tell me how much they got out of it (or enjoyed it, or what it led to…). I’m sure some of the congregation groan and think ‘not another piece of homework’, but they are free to ignore the suggestions and carry on with their day.
This business of offering tiny suggestions for things to do, things to try, things to think about seems to be working for a lot of people. And it is as easy as could be to offer.
So, the question for you, dear reader, is this: what are the best ‘little suggestions’ you’ve been given? Small bits of teaching, method, stimulus that have lead to something meaningful.
I have a blog domain sitting dormant right now. I wonder if it is time for a new ‘church homework’ blog and weekly posts, with a space for talking about what happened when we tried. ‘Hermione’s Heaven’, perhaps? It’s madness, isn’t it? But the thing is, madness is no bar to things happening in the Piskie church…