dorothystewartblog

about writing and life and God

What’s in a name?

on November 21, 2012

How do you describe yourself? I have always loved the historical concept of free-lance: lance for hire. The pen being mightier than the sword… But this afternoon, as I drove back from giving a talk to a ladies’ fellowship meeting, I pondered over the rather unattractive adjective: peripatetic. Which is one way to describe me.

One of the ladies there asked me had I been attached to a certain Methodist circuit. I lead worship frequently in Methodist churches and give talks to Methodist ladies fellowships, but I’m not Methodist. This afternoon’s group were Baptist. Or maybe more ecumenical than that, but meeting in a Baptist church.

My roots are Church of Scotland and I now feel very much at home in the United Reformed Church, but am involved with an ecumenical group of nine churches. And I love it.

My first experience of groups was in Somerset where I belonged to the tiniest of six churches.

Somerset cows eating Somerset grass to make Somerset Cheddar

My lay preaching training began in that group and I found I enjoyed driving out to different churches several Sundays in the month, and talking to women’s meetings during the week.

It reminded me of my childhood. My mother had a huge number of cousins and my memory is of lavish hospitality (home baking and cups of tea) and warm welcomes whenever we visited. For me, turning up at a women’s fellowship or a church for Sunday service is like visiting the cousins: it reminds me I’m part of a much bigger family than simply my home congregation.

I always start off thinking I’m going there to give something – and come home having been given so much more! Today was a case in point.

Yet many groups decry their small numbers or ageing populations. For me these faithful few with their stalwart faith that has seen them through to their eighties and nineties are shining role models for me. Few if any of them have had easy lives. They’ve all had their sorrows and trials but they tell me, loud and clear, that trusting in Jesus is the best thing anyone can do. I come away strengthened and blessed.

And peripatetic and glad of it!

 

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