Theological students

We had some theological students in church yesterday who had come as a group to observe our goings on. This is something that I got involved in last year too. They go around several churches and then invite the preacher into their class which takes place later in the week to discuss what happened. I think this term they are doing us, our local Roman Catholic neighbours (St Columba’s), Queens Park Baptist and Sandyford-Henderson Church of Scotland. Not a bad mix altogether though there might be a risk that just as the Queen is said to believe that everywhere smells of fresh paint, they might end up coming to the view that churches are all doing rather well and are reasonably full, thank you.

Yesterday, we did what we do. There are always temptations when you have folk in observing. I was tempted to have a procession, but decided that as we’ve not done that in years, it might be asking for trouble to do it on a Sunday when you want things to happen as they should. The risk of everyone bumping into one another or all falling over is just too great sometimes.

Inevitably, I found myself wishing that I had had the impresionable student minds for longer. I’d have liked them to be able to compare yesterday morning with last night’s glorious evensong and it would have been great to get them to the Requiem tonight. However, I guess it is a realistic challenge. Lots of people try out St Mary’s for one service and they make their minds up very quickly whether it is for them or not.

I like going into theological classrooms, especially to talk about liturgy and preaching. They are both things that I think everyone involved in public worship can always learn to do better. When I was a theological student in Edinburgh, the students had a weekly meeting, which was at a time that had been deliberately chosen to ensure that staff were not present at. Our agenda was always the same, every week.

1 – How can we make the worship better.

2 – Any other business

We rotated the chairing of the meeting because there was an acknowledgement amongst us that chairing meetings was yet another thing that we were not being taught how to do in the formal TISEC structures.

I don’t know how it left the others involved. I know that it left me as someone who thinks every week about how to make worship better. It also made me someone who is easily bored in church. Dull liturgy, scrappy worship booklets and dreary hymns just make me wonder why anyone would want to come.


  1. someone who is easily bored in church

    Yesterday, I was accused by a visiting speaker of being someone “good to have in the congregation” for being “responsive” to the sermon. I’m still not sure this is a compliment to my alleged politeness so much as to the sermon being worth staying awake for though… 😉

  2. I could spend a week talking about how to make our liturgy better. Always trying to improve. Isn’t it great being Pisky?

  3. gaielle says

    Dull liturgy ? Dreary hymns ? ………..?

    (Can I remember those days ?……….yup….. when I think hard enough)

    ……….but NOT recently. x

    PS..the ‘Pesky’ bit may be a factor tangled up in all this somewheres, Rev R, but I’ve a notion there’s Another involved centre stage…………

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