Even more service…

This part of Scotland is a lucky place at the moment – we’ve just made someone else a deacon. With another one tomorrow, that’s three new deacons in the space of 10 days or so. That’s a lot of sacramental service suddenly on offer.

Today is was the turn of Liz O’Ryan from St John’s church in Greenock who became the Rev Liz O’Ryan there a couple of hours ago.

I well remember arriving at St Ninian’s Cathedral in Perth for my own deaconing. I was immediately set about by a crowd of locals crying out for keys. It was the first time I realised that wearing a dog collar made people behave entirely differently towards you. I’ve come to the conclusion that the collar helps sometimes and really doesn’t help at all on other times. The feel of being at the centre of a baying mêlée of people who expected things that I could not offer simply because they saw me as ordained has stayed with me since then. It is just one of the glimpses of ministry that subsequently made me refuse the keys of the church at each of my institutions.

It was lovely to be with Liz today. Anne Tomlinson preached a great sermon and even did me the honour of appropriating one of my own lines. (She got a better laugh out of it than I would have done too!)

The church looked beautiful and was nicely full today. There is the most gorgeous woodwork there which is full of all kinds of carved wildlife – rabbits, monkeys, birds in glad array, all running around in exquisite detail at the front of the church. I’d never been in before, but would like to go and take a slow look round.

Note to churches in the diocese: If you want people to come to you, give them some clues on your website. There’s an interesting picture of St John’s, Greenock on its website, but so far as I could find, nothing about where it is. Full postal address (with postcode for those who turn their satnav on whenever they are south of the river) and a map are ideal. St John’s say prominently on the front of their website that they are a family orientated church, but don’t take any notice – so far as I could see, all the rest of us were welcome too.


  1. Keys and the fact that you seem to have been turned into a janitor who can stack chairs willy nilly. I was never taught a thing about stacking chairs at Tisec.

    • I wonder whether we choose our own oppression though. I used to work with a priest whose entire ministry was about moving tables. He used to complain about it but still moved tables constantly. Whenever I was with him I seemed to be invegled into moving tables with him. He said that was just what ministry is about.

      Ruth, you may not have been taught to stack chairs at TISEC, but you were certainly taught that it was impossible to worship the Lord our God without moving furniture around, were you not?

      How else can you make way for the tea-lights?

  2. Part of my dad’s job seemed to involve moving ancient pianos around. Then there was furniture removal from derelict flats in the parish (breaking and entering with his children and an elderly lady parishioner), three piece suites etc rescued from demolition and distributed to appreciative new homes. He usually wore his dog collar on such missions, presumably as protection from the law….

Speak Your Mind