Since January 2011 I've been leading worship on my own at least once a month. Recently due to changing jobs and moving churches, I've not preached in almost four months. I've led team meeting prayers and appreciated the opportunity to worship with colleagues, students and chaplains – most recently in Lancaster. What I haven't done is lead a full worship service.
This Sunday I'll be leading my new church's carol service. I'm half way between being excited to be back in the pulpit and nervous I'm not going to pick everyone's favourite carol and upset my new friends. I will also try to explain incarnation, ask whether we have room for a baby this Christmas, and wonder in the silence of such a busy season.
It's been a long journey to become a Local Preacher. I spent years being told I'd be good at it, or people expecting me to follow in my Mum's footsteps, when I was certain it wasn't for me. I'm actually a seventh generation preacher from all sides of my family so it really is in my blood. I spent over four years after I felt my call to preach studying the Faith and Worship course, exploring the Bible, writing some creative liturgy and best of all exploring big questions.
If I had to sum up why I love preaching in one sentence it would be: I get a chance to explore the big questions of life and faith with other people. I know you can do that through Bible study too, and I know I also am helping people connect to God, through readings, songs and prayers. I also know I now have many more questions than answers and spend much of my preparation working out what I do not understand. At the end of the day I love exploring what God has to say to us today from the stories of people who lived two thousands plus years before us. Preaching has really given me a greater appreciation of the stories of the Old Testament and the teachings of the New Testament. I love to ask the "So What?" questions to make sure what I say can help us be better followers of Jesus today.
One of the many things I love about my job with SCM is how varied it can be; I’m encouraged to bring a variety of skills to the role. It is therefore a joy that I can offer to preach as part of my job in the North West.
I'd love to come to your church, to just preach or lead the entire service. To explore the big questions of who we can be if our aims are deepening faith, seeking justice and building inclusive communities. To share something of who God is calling SCM to be in 2017 and to pray with, and for, our students and university staff. Could you join us to pursue this vision?
If you'd like to book me in February around Student Sunday where we explore "All are Welcome", or at another time of year, please get in touch. And don’t forget that you can plan your Student Sunday service next Feb by downloading SCM’s online resource toolkit here.