Some years ago, in another church, we were coming to the point where we needed to elect a new Church Secretary from amongst the Elders. According to the URC rules, it is the Elders who elect the Church Secretary but that did not stop the present Secretary and myself speculating at some length on who might best be fitted to take on this role! The Elders’ meeting had already agreed that the time had come to share this work between two people and so the Secretary and I spent hours “trying out” different combinations of people and none seemed quite likely to work. With some relief, we reminded each other that this was the Elders’ job, not ours and so sent round the nomination papers. When the list was collated, the two names heading that list were so “obvious” that we could not think how we had missed them in all our speculations! The two men were already good friends, used to working together; both were highly committed; one had served as Church Secretary before and the other had not - how suitable was this? But if the decision had been left to the current secretary and the Minister, we could easily have missed this possibility altogether. In the teaching of the URC, we believe that the voice of God is heard through the voices of the people and that the will of God is discerned through the will of the people. We do not “do” hierarchy.
Hands up if you think you know where I am heading with this ….
With your Newsletter you will have received a Nomination form for two new Elders to serve on the Elders’ meeting in our church. All church members have the privilege and duty to elect our Elders. It is “part of the deal” when you make your commitment to Church Membership. And I can honestly say that I have lost count of the number of times I have been surprised and delighted by the people nominated by church members, whom I might not have thought of, but who have proved to be truly “God’s gift” to the church.
Please take up your duty this year, pray about it, talk it over with others if you need to and write down on your nomination paper the names of those you feel God may be calling to serve as Elders in this church.
If you think that you do not know enough people, then talk it over with your Pastoral Visitor or one of the other Elders.
If you have in previous years, allowed the nomination form to be pushed to the bottom of your far-too-long to do list, then please try to keep it nearer the top this year. Nominations may be sent to me on e-mail as well as on the paper forms.
And if you have felt that this is not really something that concerns you then I am very sorry because you are missing out on a precious privilege and a most valuable form of service to your church community.
Sermon over! Now let us look with hope and joyful anticipation to what God will bring, through us, to pass, this year.