Thursday, 12 February 2015

Celebrating Colleagues

I have a friend who tells me he really misses working with colleagues.  He's 'freelance' and rarely meets up and chats with other like-minded people.

Yesterday I bumped into different colleagues on no less than three separate occasions.  It began with a Bucks Baptist Ministers' Breakfast at Aston Clinton - we tucked into sausages and eggs (I can hear some of you saying 'he's always talking about food!) and caught up with each others' news.  I then attended my Baptist Order Cell in the afternoon - praying the Office with three other members of the Order and talking together about our experience of 'ministry'.  The day ended with a meeting of The Bucks Baptist Forum Network chaired by one of our Regional Ministers at which colleagues and lay members of the churches shared news of the congregations in our area.

So was yesterday 'just' all talk?!  Well in a way yes, but it was good and stimulating talk.  It was catching up on news, sharing experiences and simply having those empathetic conversations that can give us all a sense that we are not alone but we have fellow travellers on the journey with us.

I'm convinced that the best option for any newly ordained minister is to join a Team Ministry.  I had that rich privilege almost thirty years ago now!!  And I wouldn't have missed it for the world because working alongside an experienced colleague for my first five years was the best grounding I could ever have had.

And now it's my privilege to work alongside a URC colleague here at AFC.  This month Erna celebrated her tenth anniversary as our church's Associate Minister and we couldn't let that go by without some cake and flowers!

Having colleagues may not always be possible - but when it is I believe it can enhance life tremendously.

A fortnight ago as we thanked Erna for her ministry and friendship we prayed this prayer together:

Let us offer up to God our thanksgiving for Erna’s ten years of ministry amongst us as Associate Minister of Amersham Free Church.

With gratitude in our hearts we express our appreciation for Erna’s teaching ministry and her love of theology.
Thanks be to God.

With gratitude in our hearts we express our appreciation for Erna’s companionship with us in the journey of faith – sharing with us and standing alongside us in good times and bad.
Thanks be to God.

With gratitude in our hearts we express our appreciation for Erna as a colleague as we have shared in the privilege of ministry together recognising and valuing each other’s gifts.
Thanks be to God.
And so our prayer for you Erna is:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you
And be gracious to you.
The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you
And give you peace today and always.


All good wishes,


Ian

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