Monday, September 6, 2010

Tales of a Country Parson, Vol. III

So, at church yesterday, I learned that when you are the pastor of a two-point parish, it's helpful if someone tells you that the reason all those bulletins are stacked outside your office door is because you need to take them with you to the second service 10 miles down the road.  That way, when you get there and the usher says, "Do you have the bulletins?", you don't have to say, "" 

Anyway, all in all, things went really smoothly.  There's the requisite figuring out of the choreography of offering and communion, that sort of thing.  But in general, it went fine.  The Words of Institution aren't quite second-nature (read: totally memorized) to me yet, but one of the congregations does communion every week, so I'm I'll get there soon enough. 

My supervisor came down to preach, which was good, because "thou shalt hate everybody" is a heck of a text for a first sermon.  I did the rest of worship leadership, and managed to survive.  This is one of the advantages of a (reasonably) traditional worship service - the congregation knows what they're supposed to do, and so do I.  There were a few times of transition throughout the service where I had been nervous about what words I needed to use, but then I relaxed and just let my memory take over.  I was raised on the LBW liturgy, which is (basically) what these congregations use, and I found that I remembered more of it than I thought. 

The people were also all really nice, including at the second service when we didn't have bulletins.  It seems more and more like my parishoners have more grace for me than I have for myself, which should tell me something...seems like something I should have explored in CPE, but then, well, anyway....

Finally, as my supervisor and I were leaving in our separate vehicles after the second service, he said to me, "Excellent job today, see you Tuesday!"  I realized then that it had been an extraordinarily long time since anyone had given me totally unqualified praise like that.  Not "Excellent job, just work on getting the Words of Institution down."  Not "Excellent job, just remember the bulletins next week."  Not "Excellent job, but learn to talk louder."  Just, "Excellent job."  Not that I don't have plenty of things to work on, and I'm sure I'll find more.  But it's nice to know that I have a supervisor who will tell me when I do things well, because it's good for my self-confidence to hear that. 

So...1 down, 51 to go.  Time to get a jump on that sermon for next week!

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