It's that time of year again when Methodist Ministers need extra prayer support - something that we ordinary mortals tend to forget.
For some Ministers it is the end of four years of ministry in their present station and the decision must be made as to whether they stay on for a further period at the end of their five years' ministry there. First, the Minister him(her)self must deside whether to ask to stay on, and then the church and Circuit have to vote whether to invite them for another three or five years. This can be unsettling even if the outcome is a positive invitation to stay but, if it is negative, there is a need for extra love and prayer support for the Minister in that final year.
It is also the time of year when our Ministers are preparing to move to new stations and again need our prayer support for the upheaval of moving, for the saying of Goodbye to well-loved people and places and for establishing themselves in their new situation.
A change of manse can be quite a challenge, as Richard describes over on Connexions! Not being a gardener, he has been tackling a rather overgrown garden in readiness for the next occupant of the manse. His congregation will no doubt be curious to know what his successor does with the garden. This can often be very interesting!
Our previous minister did away with the small lawn in the manse front garden and replaced it with exotic plants, with great energy and (no doubt) expense, so that it was very beautiful and a joy to behold.
Imagine, then, the surprise of our congregation when our present minister arrived and we found an invitation in the weekly Notice leaflet to all and sundry to come and help themselves to the plants in the manse front garden! You see, this minister and his wife arrived with two large golden retrievers who needed SPACE! So the manse front garden was paved over, with only periferal plants. I'm afraid this caused distress to our previous minister when she heard of it, but she can take comfort in the fact that many of us now have plants in our gardens that remind us of her constantly. We now have a very tidy and easily maintained manse front garden, which doesn't need to take up the minister's valuable time to keep it in good order.
The joy of our Methodist itinerant system is that our ministers are so very different and bring their own special gifts and preferences with them!