Trial Service

I heard from my mentor (M) yesterday in an email that gave feedback from Sunday night’s service. 

We had decided that the service would be a trial-run for my trial service so I was on tenterhooks beforehand and wanted to do the best job I could.

First, my own views of how the service went:

The hymns were sung with gusto despite the small congregation (9) so I was happy with the choices.

There were a few smiles and nods when I introduced the theme of the imperfect christian but, during the sermon itself,  nothing. I felt as though I had failed to engage with the congregation. I was quite downhearted and could not help contrasting this experience with the extremely positive response I had to my first address last month.  When I spoke with church members after the service, they were complimentary but I was concerned that they were being polite. I should have recalled the many (MANY!) stories I have been told about congregants (is that a word?) being extremely blunt with preachers.

M’s feedback was more positive. She must have spoken to the steward separately because she said that they were keen to have me back. She also said that the service had flow and the sermon itself built on the chosen readings and real-world examples I had chosen.

M suggested that, as I gain confidence and experience, I will become more comfortable with a simpler sermon with fewer Bible quotes. However, I suspect it may be a result of having had the need to show evidence while studying for my BSc that causes me to quote so much. Time will tell!

M has been in touch with my new tutor (P), who is taking over supporting me through the Faith and Worship course following the retirement of my previous tutor. Having also received M’s feedback from Sunday, he has set my trial service for mid-August. If all goes well, I will go from being On Note (preaching under supervision) to On Trial (preaching with guidance as required and feedback to the group from stewards or attending preachers) at the following Local Worship and Preaching Group meeting (I hope I got that right) in September!

Good night and God bless

Helles x


Back to Preaching

Friends, please forgive my silence over the past few weeks. I have been ill but I am starting to get back into my normal routines.

I have heard from several people that I preached well on Trinity Sunday. It was an extraordinary evening. Throughout the service I was nervous and I stumbled a couple of times when reading, though this was probably more evident to me than to others. When I stepped up to deliver the address, though, something wonderful happened. I felt strong inside myself and, suddenly, I was confident. I could feel the Holy Spirit working within me. When I returned to my seat, I was shaking again but not from fear.

On Sunday, I am preaching again – the first service I have led since becoming ill – and I am treating it as a practice for my trial service. The Faith and Worship unit 3 trial service uses a reading (the student chooses which) from Mark around which the service is constructed. I chose chapter 6; 45-52.  This is the story of Jesus walking on water or, in my sermon, the story of the imperfect disciples.

I turned myself away from religion repeatedly because I did not feel that I was good enough to be a christian. Now I understand that being a christian entails continuing on a journey and that we will never be quite finished until the day of judgement.  This is the theme of my service.

God bless you and keep you x