Due to a series of Sunday commitments I have not been able to attend our local church. Funny how guilty that can make me feel. I think it comes about because we are now two years into a vacancy situation. It seems that there is still a dearth of ministers who feel called to serve in rural congregations, especially where there are a number of church buildings ie preaching stations. The good side of this is that people get to hear different preachers and a wide range of views. The downside is that it is easy to be disheartened. There are a faithful few who keep things going, but gradually familiar faces are seen less and less frequently. And I don’t like being one of these.
I am well aware that it is more attractive to minister in a populated area with good schools and local services. But I also appreciate that having one service on a Sunday is a big incentive to prospective candidates. In truth the Church of Scotland is fast approaching the time when we will no longer be able to claim to exercise a territorial ministry in Scotland. A similar situation exists to centralisation of all sorts of social services. But having said all that, I still prefer living in the countryside. There is space to breathe and think. Perhaps that is the lesson we need to think about this Sunday………. finding God in the spaces in our lives; and that means in the midst of wherever we are, be it town or country.