Church Representation Rules - suggested update

From the Church of Scotland.

Ideas for amending the church representation rules:

'Responsibility for diligence
There is a responsibility and presumption of diligence in two senses. First, there is an expectation of attendance at Kirk Session meetings, and an elder failing to exercise that diligence for a whole year should be removed from membership of the Kirk Session [Act III 2000 Section 36(a)]
Second, there is a presumption that an elder has been present for any decision-making. Therefore no item of business should be raised again at a future meeting, or appealed against, because the elder was not present at the original debate and wishes to have that original decision reversed to suit his or her own views on the matter.'

What happens in Church?

A Guide for those who have never been before.

(A Dramatic Performance in Two Parts)

Cast in order of appearance:

Greeters - 1 or 2 church members say hello and give out hymn books and a service book

Organist - Michael or Ann play music before the service starts and during the service play the hymns and music

Congregation - the people arrive and sit down. If in doubt ask a greeter where you can sit.

Crucifer - John carries a cross on a stick into Church as the service begins.

Choir - some people in robes walk up the central aisle as the service begins, that's the cue to stand up

Vicar - Adrian, or a colleague walk in behind the choir and welcomes everybody, reads notices of marriage, and announces the hymns.

Reader - Lisa sometimes takes the first half of the service, wearing a black cassock, white surplice and blue scarf.

Readers - members of the congregation may read the Bible readings and lead the prayers.

Chalice Assistant - helps with the cup

Act One

The drama takes place half way up the church.

Scene 1 - the Opening Hymn, the welcome
Scene 2 - the confession - we say sorry to God for the things that we have done wrong and hear that he forgives us
Scene 3 - the Bible Readings are read - the Old Testament Reading which tell us how God loved his people the Jews
- the New Testament Reading which tells us about how the church started
- the Gospel Reading which tells us about Jesus, God's Son who was born at Christmas and died at Easter and came back to life again.
- the Bible Readings are explained to us
Scene 4 - the Prayers - prayers are said for the church, the local community, for people in need, including the sick and bereaved

Act Two

The drama takes place at the top of the church.

Scene 1 - the Offertory Hymn and prayers - bread and wine are placed on the table and a collection of money is taken to help pay for the upkeep of the church
Scene 2 - the Communion Prayer - which reminds us of the Last Supper Jesus had with his friends
Scene 3 - the Lord's Prayer - which is a prayer Jesus taught his friends
Scene 4 - the Communion - the vicar gives most people some bread and wine, or a blessing to others.
Scene 5 - the blessing and dismissal - the vicar encourages us to go out and live a Christian life.

Refreshments may follow - tea, coffee, juice and biscuits rather than anything stronger!

Dress Code
This is a Church of England church. You do not need to wear special clothes to go to church, unless you are taking part in the drama itself. Some like to wear Sunday Best, but you don't need to, smart casual is fine.

What to take with you.
Some money to put in the collection, preferably more than a £1 coin.
Glasses if you wear them

Try to arrive 5 or 10 minutes before the service starts, to allow time to park.
People sometimes arrive late or leave early, that's fine.

People become church members through a ceremony called baptism or christening, which often happens to babies, but can happen to adults.
People do not have to be members to come to church, but we encourage it.

How much does membership cost?
Membership is free because your membership price was pre-paid by Jesus.
We hope you will make a donation when you come to church though.
To receive communion you should normally be confirmed in the Church of England or have received the Lord's Supper in another church.

Club Rules
Men should not wear hats.
Women may wear hats but don't have to.
Please do not smoke or drink in church.
Please switch off your mobile phone.
Please join in singing hymns and saying prayers in bold text.
Please do not run or shout out
Children are welcome. There are toys to help keep them interested, and family services help them join in.
If you want a blessing please take a service booklet with you.
If you want to receive the bread and the wine but have never done so before please speak to the vicar.

There is a toilet at the back of Darrington church which is suitable for all, but the door is heavy.
The service lasts about an hour you may need the toilet! (Unfortunately there is not one at Wentbridge or Kirk Smeaton yet.)
Please join us for refreshments at the end of the service.

vicar suspended 'for unauthorised practices'

- what a disgraceful 'carry-on' said the verger

The Rev SRS Colquhoun, was suspended for six months in 1937 by a Church of Ireland court for carrying out unauthorised practices.
October 30th, 1937

Remembering the Great War - a tribute from Woodbine Willie

Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy MC a.k.a Woodbine Willie, for his custom to give woodbines to the blokes in the trenches in the Great War, died March 8th, 1929.

Woodbine Willie was a man of a great down to earth faith. Here are two of his poems which speak for themselves:


HOW do I know that God is good? I don't.
I gamble like a man. I bet my life
Upon one side in life's great war. I must,
I can't stand out. I must take sides. The man
Who is a man a neutral in this fight is not
A man. He's bulk and body without breath,
Cold leg of lamb without mint sauce. A fool.
He makes me sick. Good Lord! Weak tea! Cold slops!
I want to live, live out, not wobble through
My life somehow, and then into the dark.
I must have God. This life's too dull without,
Too dull for aught but suicide. What's man
To live for else?


So through the clouds of Calvary--there shines
His face, and I believe that Evil dies,
And Good lives on, loves on, and conquers all--
All War must end in Peace. These clouds are lies.
They cannot last. The blue sky is the Truth.
For God is Love. Such is my Faith, and such
My reasons for it, and I find them strong
Enough. And you? You want to argue? Well,
I can't. It is a choice. I choose the Christ.


There's a soul in the Eternal,
Standing stiff before the King.
There's a little English maiden
There's a proud and tearless woman,
Seeing pictures in the fire.
There's a broken battered body
On the wire.

Woodbine Willie's poetry can be bought at all good bookstores, for example Amazon stcok

Rough Rhymes of a Padre (1918)

November is a time to remember, and never to forget.
God bless you as you seek to do his will, and may we all work for peace.

Your friend and vicar,


We do not expect vicars to be experts in immigration law

The UK Border Agency said nine people had already been arrested and charged in other suspected sham marriages in Sheffield over the summer.

Steve Lamb, operations director for the agency in Yorkshire, said: "We will not tolerate immigration abuse and our immigration crime teams are cracking down on sham marriages all over the country.

"The UK Border Agency is working closely with registrars to identify marriages that may not be genuine.

"We do not expect vicars or registrars to be experts in immigration law or spotting forged documents - that's our job.

"But if they have any suspicions about whether a relationship is genuine, we would urge them to get in touch with us."

Well that's encouraging to know...

Born Free? A Duck's Journey

One day at Knowsley Safari Park a commotion in the Lion's enclosure got the keepers' attention. There in the middle of the enclosure, was an old tree stump, and walking across from that tree stump to the wire perimeter fence was a Mallard, followed by three ducklings.

A lion ate one, the duck flew away and two ducklings followed, but left in the tree stump was another duckling. The keepers rushed in with their cars to try to sort out.

That duckling was taken home to be looked after, then at 10 weeks old came to live with us. Chauffeur driven across the Pennines.
She wasn't welcomed much by the chickens, perhaps because she was different, but she eventually grew to ignore them or keep out of their way.

Several months later that duck has narrowly avoided being eaten by a Great Dane, and a Newfoundland, on separate occasions. She brought variety into my sermons and has been on exploratory trips visiting neighbours and walking along the street.

We decided not to clip her flight feathers. Her flying abilities increased, and one day we saw her sat on top of the garage.

Today she has been taken to Fairburn Ings run by the RSPB to join the thousands of ducks and geese and swans there.

She likes to swim and dive, and will be happier there, and I can imagine her catching fish and dabbling among the weeds in the water.

That duck has had a strange beginning to her life, and she is running out of lives.

The duck didn't want to get out of the car carrier which took her there. In the end she got out, and stayed by Sylvia and her friends. Dfor looked at the water, but didn't go anywhere near it. Sylvia picked her up, and gently launched her towards the lake, and she soared up and up, flew all round the lake, above the houses and back, then disappeared over towards the other lake.
'Like the Battle of Britain' it was so graceful.

Many people have difficult starts in life. Childhood isn't always what it could be.
The spiritual journey can also have rocky beginnings, ups and downs, joys and pitfalls, and companions on the way, friends or strangers.

Here in the Went Valley we try to help those who are struggling with faith, are unsure about belief, as well as those with bucket loads. But we are often just a step along the way. But when we see people make even the smallest steps in their spiritual journey...

it's a duck's life!

I would be pleased if our paths crossed soon, please phone or email if you would like a visit, your friend and vicar,


Getting lost on the way to my ordination rehearsal...

Dear friends,

The beginnings of ministry in a new place, among new people are very difficult.People are sussing you out, as you are getting to know them. Will you be their kind of curate/vicar? How long will you stay? Will they like you?

Lots of questions.

When clergy move to curacies on ordination the questions they ask include the following:
where's town? where's the supermarket? where am I? where is the cathedral / retreat house? will I look stupid in this clerical shirt? what on earth will I do? will I get on with the vicar? How can I get the house decorated and move in and still manage to go on the retreat and cook for 30 people the day of the ordination?

I remember being in my curate's house before ordination, I didn't know which way was north and south, or where the house was...I didn't know which way Worcester was, nor where the cathedral was in Worcester, so I arrived late, having eventually found it thanks a a local man whose car I followed. And the ordination retreat? I got there, but with no directions or instructions it was a little testing. And did I say I got lost on the way back from the ordination and arrived home an hour after everyone else - so much for preparing a meal for all my family and friends.

Note - send people a map and directions so they know how to get to the cathedral and to the ordination retreat house, or to wherever you want them to go!

And after ordination? A clear desk... on the first morning for the first and last time ever in ministry. Desks gradually get buried then reappear after a concerted effort to clear them. But there is always something which calls clergy's attention, and much of this is administration in multi-parish benefices. Urgent? Important? Desirable? Sadly much is obligatory, but neither urgent nor important. That which is desirable, but neither urgent nor obligatory gets left to the end.

What value do you place on spiritual things? Prayer, bible reading? What priority do they have in your life?
As harvest draws near, say a prayer for farmers as they bring in the crops, and those who work in logistics, distribution and retail.

With best wishes, your friend and vicar,