Monday, 26 July 2010


Strange feeling today, when I would normally be looking at readings for next Sunday, to realise that I won't be leading Sunday worship again until 12 September! I probably won't even be attending church during that time.

At many levels, of course, I will miss it. Even though I am increasingly frustrated by traditional models of church, I do still feel that the church is where I belong. A couple of weeks ago, at an Inner Manchester Mission Network event, we reflected upon why we gather together for worship. The group I was in was dominated by clergy, and the overwhelming message was that worship was something which was intrinsic to who we were. It isn't something about which I have any control. I simply have to worship - because that's what I do. It is where I belong.

The question as to whether I enjoy worship is, therefore, a redundant one. Even if I hated church (which I frequently do!), I would still belong there.

So, even if I take a break for the summer - and let's face it, I am burned out at the moment - I will still be back because this strange, bruised and often bewildered little community in Openshaw is where I belong.

None of which should be interpreted as saying that what we actually do when we worship is unimportant. There is little in contemporary church practice which will attract the 96% of our population who never set foot in a church. Watching a programme like Rev, it is increasingly clear that the media - and therefore the population at large - have little idea of what the church is - or what it is for.

When September comes around, then, you should find the Scarecrow refreshed and able to dance with a lot more vigour.

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