An interactive sermon on stewardship
15th March 2009
As Churchwarden I’m like the dustcart after the Lord Mayor’s Show – just sweeping up the bits - and that’s often what it feels like to be churchwarden - looking after things that have been left or mopping up the bits that haven’t for one reason or another been done! I’ll show you what I mean by talking briefly about 2 aspects of the role Richard and I have as churchwardens:
1. We are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the fabric of the church and for the cleanliness and overall appearance of the church and everything used or worn in it. We pay a church cleaner who does a weekly basic clean, the grass is cut by professionals, we have the advice of an architect (we’re due for our 5-yearly inspection in 2010) and we call in professional help as needed e.g. over the cedar tree. But the day-to-day maintenance is largely down to all of us here and in practice is carried by a few people. I mean things like washing and mending robes and linen, duplicating service sheets and news sheets, keeping the notice boards up to date, polishing brass, woodwork and the floor, changing the altar cloths, doing the flowers, gardening and keeping the grounds tidy. Do you know who clears the rubbish and the blocked drains? Who duplicates the newssheet? Please consider if you could do more in any of the areas I’ve mentioned or others. Sometimes we think,’Oh, so-and-so does that job. Always has.’ Well so-and-so might like a change or some relief. Even occasional help is really valuable - it doesn’t have to be a weekly commitment and we can adapt jobs to suit all ages and abilities! We’ve a working party coming up..
2. Another part of the Churchwarden’s job is to care for the safety, warmth and well-being of the congregation, of you, and to maintain order and decency in the church and churchyard. Here, the sidesmen are our assistants – a sort of cross between a British Airways steward and a club bouncer. Are the lights and microphone on? Is the right hymn book out? Who is going to take up the offertory? Where are the large print service books for someone who needs them? We need more sidesmen to cover all our services adequately. The 11.15 on the first of the month can have as many in the congregation as the 9.30 and at present no sidesmen are allocated. We are short at 8am, we need sidesmen at big baptisms and funerals and more for major festivals – at such times in the congregation are strangers to our church who need welcome and guidance. Please don’t forget the coffee rota…
As Lay Minister I am lucky enough to have some very special jobs at St Matthew’s. I help to cover services when Fr David is on holiday, and also take worship out from the church and into the community. We do Evening Prayer once a month at Hillside, which is only possible with extra people to move the liturgy along. It is a very rewarding task, and my excellent little team would welcome extras. At Christmas we were invited to sing carols there, and it was very moving to see how involved were even those who seemed most disengaged from reality.
A Community project of our special friends, Bushey & Oxhey Methodists, is the daily coffee morning Boffees. A few of us lend a hand once a month with the coffee, and I would be glad of one or two more. If you can’t manage that then pop in some time and enjoy a coffee and a chat and a look at the current exhibition.
Closest to my heart are the Young Matters, or Sunday School. It is a delight and a privilege to help the youngest members of our congregation learn more about Jesus, prepare to take Communion, and gradually become full members, helping in various ways with the regular worship of St Matthew’s. Next week I hope you will see every single one of them involved in some way
. Another activity with children is Toddlers, but Margaret is going to tell you about that.
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