Buildings vs Clergy

I suddenly realised in the middle of a complicated meeting yesterday that it seemed as though people in many situations would actually prefer to have a church building than a priest.

Is that so? Is that true and is that one of the key things which gives life to those who long for freshnewlocalcollaborativetotalministryofthebaptised?

LCM again

Someone was speaking to me the other day about a post that I wrote some time ago about Local Collaborative Ministry, as opposed to local collaborative ministry. (See the post itself and the comments following for the difference between the two). My interlocutor said that I was being too harsh in what I said about those dioceses which had adopted LCM early. Looking back at what I said, I may have been a little harsh, though I’m not sure.

When I look at the website for the Diocese of Argyll & The Isles, I find this article about St Columba’s, Gruline. [Note that this is a local copy – the diocesan website has so many broken links, I fear that if I direct you there, you will encounter only a single track road and never return from your wanderings]. It is an appeal for a return to Mass Priests. No, worse than that, it is an appeal for anyone who feels called to this to contact their bishop to demand such ordination for themselves. Bear in mind this is in an official diocesan publication.

Now, that the article is insulting to people like me who give their lives to stipendiary ministry and do what we can with what we have is one thing, that it appears to circumvent the ordinal, the selection process and the prerogatives of the College of Bishops is another.

However this alone does not really get to the heart of why there is such bitter misunderstandings between some of those pushing the Local Collaborative Ministry agenda and some of those who, working collaborativly and locally in ministry, don’t subscribe to the tenets of LCM or whatever it is called this week. I don’t, as it happens, think that the LCM folk would necessarily be promoting what is called for in the article in question directly, though you never know.

I think that the problem is directly related to the use of the reserved sacrament. It seems to me as though there is an attempt to turn priests and churches into the cheapest possible sacrament dispensing machines. That is not what priesthood used to be about, it is not what church used to be about and it isn’t what discipleship used to be about either.

Of course, not all that happens in our Companion Diocese Over The Water is bad. When I want inspiration about thinking locally and collaboratively about ministry, I need do no other than turn to Mother Dunoon, who says it as she sees it.