Tonight I was at the Local Preachers’ meeting of the Tiverton and Wellington Circuit, the first of the new Methodist Year. We begin by sharing communion together on this occasion, and this is the meeting I always appreciate most.
Local preachers are just ordinary people who have recognised a call to preach – ordinary people like this bunch here, who were also eager to aspire to their photo featuring on tonight’s blog! Preaching has been described as ‘enabling people to encounter God’. What an awesome responsibility! Within the Methodist Church there is a requirement for preachers to undergo training and the process can last some considerable time. It is a responsibility not undertaken lightly.
I responded to that sense of a call to preach back in 1981 and was recognised as a fully accredited local preacher in 1986. I have always enjoyed the challenge of leading all age worship, but more recently I have also come to appreciate, too, the opportunity to lead worship in smaller rural congregations. Local preachers share their stories and encourage others to share theirs, too, with each other and with their neighbours – and to share the story of how following Jesus in our ordinary lives matters and can make a difference, in all sorts of ways.
Regarding the photo, I took eight shots, in the hope that they would all be looking at the camera in at least one. Failed dismally in that aim, but then they can be a tricky lot to manage!