I am between job elements at the moment. I have been at one of the local primary schools today leading their Friday morning assembly and will leave in a bit for a funeral of a community member. She was not a member of the church, but she was still part of my parish and receives my care at this time. Both of these situations are very different from ministry in the States -- but I think I like it this way.
There is, however (and completely unrelated to either of the above activities), a prejudice in this land. It is pervasive and not hidden at all. It is a prejudice against.....tumble dryers. Yes, tumble dryers.
If you ask anyone here about using their tumble dryer, the first response you get is a stare of disbelief -- as in "why would you want to do THAT?" The second part of the response is a statement about the smell of clothes freshly dried outside. The third part is a statement about the inefficiency of tumble dryers. The fourth? Well, the fourth is a stereotypical Scottish response -- "besides, why waste money when you can dry outside for free?" Yes, some stereotypes have a basis in reality, and that one about Scots hanging onto their money is quite true in this sense -- and the Scots I have asked about this quite readily affirm it.
So, when you come to visit me, please be ready to dry yourselves with rather crispy towels. They will have been dried on the line (as God meant for them to be). I will be wearing my crunchy underwear (dried on an airer inside -- I refuse to hang my undies out for everyone to see).
And now -- I feel a need to go hang out some wet clothes.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I Am Official. Last Wednesday night, September 1, I was inducted as the minister of the Armadale Parish Church and have begun walking alongside the members of the church.
The induction service itself was wonderful. In addition to a church full of Armadale and West Lothian Presbytery folks, there were two coaches that arrived -- one with St. Anne's members and one with Abercorn, Winchburgh, and Kingscavil members. It was very moving for me to see representatives from 5 congregations present. I have been blessed with the people I have come to know in the past year. We laughed together during the service, then shared again in the vows of induction -- promising to serve God as we work together in ministry.
Then came Sunday, my first as the pastor to the parish. Once again, we laughed and sang and prayed together. The rounds of meetings have begun for me -- meeting people in the street when we are out, meetings at the church as I get to know the workings of this particular church. Even after a year of familiarization, there is still much to learn. While I got the general picture before, now I am learning the specifics of this place and time.
This is not only a time of saying hello. It is also a time of saying goodbye. For the first time in my life, I am not a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or its predecessors. I am not certain that this has sunk in completely yet. This is now my home and the Church of Scotland is my church -- yet there is part of me that still (and will probably always) carry my roots with me. How can I not? I was shaped into who I am by what I have known. That will not change.
It is time now to venture out into the dreich (translate gray, rainy, and cool) day to the church's Thrift Store, one of the services we provide to the community. I want to see how it all works and to visit with the workers and the shoppers. They tell me I will also be able to have some coffee and "home bakes" while I am there. It is all part of coming to know and becoming known to this new community that is now my home.