From the Locum Minister

Dear Friends

During my brief sojourn at Cramond I have savoured, to the full, being part of a 'team ministry'. Every Friday morning the team has met to 'touch base'. 'Savoured' is an appropriate word because, during these meetings, we would feast on a wonderful variety of sweet-meats washed down with coffee!!!!! By 'team 'ministry' I mean myself, Colin, Louise the Church Secretary, David the Beadle, Alistair, and then Simon the Organist and, not least, until the end of last year, Louise our Probationer Assistant.

One of the most fulfilling periods of my ministry at St Cuthbert's was when we operated what was tantamount to a team ministry. The team consisted of myself as Senior Minister, Peter Neilson as Associate Minister and Ian Andrew as Assistant Minister. A minister from the Church of North India - Anthapurusha by name - made up the fourth, unofficial, member of the team. One day, during a team meeting, Anthapurusha startled us with a typically forthright, yet perceptive observation. Looking at each one of us in turn, Anthapurusha said, 'Tom, you are the rock providing stability and continuity: Peter you are the pathfinder, exploring new ways of being Church: Ian, you are the implementer, fleshing out creative ideas and making them happen.' What the insightful Anthapurusha was saying was that each one of us had our own unique and particular gifts and talents and strengths. Though he did not identify them, he was also implying that each one of us also had our own limitations and inadequacies and frailties. However, operating as a team we discovered that we complemented each other wonderfully well: where I was weak, another member of the team would be strong - and vice versa. As a team Peter, Ian and I came to the liberating realisation that we needed each other, we became dependent on each other, we drew strength from each other.

Somehow I am reminded of the story of two delightful American ladies. In the spring of 2003 Margaret Patrick arrived
at the Southeast Senior Centre for Independent Living to begin her physiotherapy. As Millie McHugh, a long-time staff
member, introduced Margaret to the people at the centre, she noticed the look of pain in Margaret's eyes as she gazed at the piano. 'Is anything wrong?' asked Millie. 'No', Margaret said softly, 'it's just that seeing a piano brings back memories. Before my stroke, music was everything to me.'

Millie glanced at Margaret's useless right hand as the black woman quietly told some of the highlights of her musical career. Suddenly Millie said, 'Wait right here. I'll be back in a minute.' She returned moments later, followed closely by a small, whitehaired woman in thick glasses.

'Margaret Patrick,' said Millie, 'meet Ruth Eisenberg.' Then she smiled. 'She too played the piano but, like
you, she's not been able to play since her stroke. Mrs Eisenberg has a good right hand and you have a good left and I have a feeling that together you two can do something wonderful.'

'Do you know Chopin's Waltz in D flat?' Ruth asked. Margaret nodded. Side by side, the two sat on the piano stool. Two healthy hands - one with long, graceful, black fingers, the other with short, plump white ones - moved rhythmically across the ebony and ivory keys.

Since that day, they have sat together at the keyboard hundreds of times - Margaret's helpless right hand round Ruth's back, Ruth's helpless left hand on Margaret's knee, while Ruth's good hand plays the melody and Margaret's good hand plays the accompaniment. Their music has delighted audiences on television, in churches and schools, and at rehabilitation and senior citizen centres. On that piano stool Margaret and Ruth complemented each other - where one was weak, the other was strong - and vice versa. In other words, they pooled their strengths. They were a musical team. And that is the story of Margaret and Ruth, who now call themselves Ebony and Ivory.

In many ways the congregation of Cramond constitutes a team ministry. Each one of you has your own unique and distinctive gifts and talents and strengths. Dare I also say that each one of you has your own particular limitations and inadequacies and frailties. So be it! After all, in the Church none of us is ever called to be a jack-or-jill of all trades!!! However, if you are operating as a team, you will discover that you complement each other wonderfully well. Where one is weak, the other can be strong - and vice versa. Operate as a team, complement one another, pool your strengths - and there is no telling what Cramond can achieve for Christ and his Kingdom.

Blessings!
Your erstwhile Locum Minister

Tom


November 2016
Webpage icon From the Minister
Webpage icon From the Kirkyard
Webpage icon From the Sunday Club
Webpage icon Turi Children's Project
Webpage icon Cramond Kirk Jumble Sale
Webpage icon The Cardboard Cathedral
Webpage icon Randomly Chosen Religious Reads - No 9