Avril at Romsey

… and Lancefield and Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon

So what exactly is it that I do?

I’m trying to write my report for the various congregational AGMs that are coming up. I thought that it would be interesting to use the vows I made at my ordination to organise the report. But now I realise how much of what I do has nothing to do with the vows I made at my ordination.

Does this mean I’m doing things that aren’t actually part of being a minister; or that the ordination vows cover a very small section of what a minister’s job actually is?


March 27, 2009 - Posted by | Ministry


  1. Confessing Jesus Christ; celebrating sacraments; using creeds; being guided by Basis of Union; submitting to church discipline: 5% of the time.

    Meetings: 95% of the time.

    Comment by Paul | March 27, 2009 | Reply

    • Close, but in my case:
      Confessing Jesus Christ; celebrating sacraments; using creeds; being guided by Basis of Union; submitting to church discipline: 5% of the time;
      Meetings: 45% of the time;
      Driving between the four congregations: 50% of the time.
      Really got to get some “learn a language” cds for all the time in the car. Although I do get to listen to a lot of Radio National, and that makes me happy.

      Comment by avrilhj | March 27, 2009 | Reply

  2. Well, one would hope that what happens in the meetings at least *sometimes* is guided by the Basis of Union. And wasn’t there something about Scripture as well? Don’t happen to have a copy of the ordination vows with me, but I’m sure that I promised something about the Bible before they handed me one. 🙂 and leading worship?

    The driving you can’t do much about, although I tend to find that I spend time behind the wheel reflecting on various aspects of my ministry, but it might be that the congregations need to rethink what they do in their meetings.

    Comment by Judy | March 28, 2009 | Reply

    • There were thirteen promises/vows I had to make at my ordination. Some of them were about what I believe: “Do you confess anew Jesus Christ as Lord?”; “Do you believe that you are truly called by God and the church to the office and work of a minister of the Word?”; etc. Most were about things to do, like proclaiming from the Scriptures and pastoring the people of God. Writing my annual report became a bit of an exercise in working out where things I do fit. Like being on the Steering Committee for the Proposed Children’s Hub in one of my towns. Is that “being a faithful pastor” or “announcing the good news of God in Christ to those outside the people of faith” (by my presence rather than through my words) or “working for justice and peace in the world” – or does it have nothing to do with my ordination vows?

      The driving often becomes prayer time, although sometimes it’s ‘listen to Radio National time’, or ‘sing along to the soundtrack from musicals at the top of my voice’ time.

      Comment by avrilhj | April 10, 2009 | Reply

  3. Driving and other mindless physical tasks like showering or chopping vegetables can be a very creative space for the mind. People often have do their best thinking behind the wheel or walking the dog.

    And there is nothing to improve the mind (and provide fascinating conversation starters, and instructive asides in sermons) like Radio National. Do you ever have sermon breakthroughs on the road?

    And to think how long ago it was you couldn’t drive at all! God bless John.

    Comment by Olivia | March 29, 2009 | Reply

    • Everything is sermon-thinking time. No matter what else I’m doing, the passages I’m going to preach on are always in the back of my mind. I’ve had a couple of breakthroughs at the gym, which my gym instructor finds hilarious – she says she can tell by my facial expression when I’m working on a sermon.

      I drive so much now! And because I’m driving around the same area in which John taught me to drive I often think of him while I do it. Och, I still miss him!

      Comment by avrilhj | April 10, 2009 | Reply

  4. slightly different in my case (they would be, wouldn’t they!)accept holy scripture & Confessing Jesus Christ 100%;be diligent in prayer,administer doctrine & celebrating sacraments 20%; using creeds; be an instrument of peace; be an example & pattern 2%; submit to & administer church discipline 5%: stir up the gift of God in self and others 75%

    Yeah well maths isn’t my strong point…but that’s the amount of time spent and the time overlaps jobs you do 2 or 3 or 4 things at once ie; witness all the time!

    We reckon good sermons come on bus rides or train journeys…I certainly wrote a homily up to manchester and one on the way down (2-3 hours each way!)

    May the peace and love of the Risen Christ be with you on Sunday. All blessings Linda

    Comment by revd. linda | April 8, 2009 | Reply

    • There’s something just the slightest bit wrong about your maths there!

      The bit I have been beating myself up about failing in is: “Relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, will you be diligent in the study of the Bible, will you seek to live a holy and disicpleined life, will you be faithful in prayer?” Even with the power of the Holy Spirit I was struggling to set aside time for personal prayer and study. But recently I discovered a lake (more like a pond really) on the side of the mountain, about a twenty-minute into the bush. So far it has always been deserted when I’ve gone there. So I’ve started to take my spiritual reading and my journal there. Once there I turn off my phones, I am away from the rest of the human race, and I am surrounded by natural beauty. And I can take the time to pray and study there that I can’t manage when I’m in my study at home with the phone and the computer and all the preparation and administration I need to do.

      Comment by avrilhj | April 10, 2009 | Reply

  5. I agree with comment 8! Anna E & I were saying how much we missed our Bossey prayer walk round to class…becasue of the reasons you give about just being in God’s (nicer)bits of creation! We are alweays admonished about days off & sometimes you just have to go out and be…to get the peace with God you crave. (Which is not this week! Daughter home & house therefore a tip …you know all about uni students too don’t you!!)

    Comment by revd. linda | April 11, 2009 | Reply

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