Archive for the ‘Congregational Church’ Tag

The Congregational Church

Once again I made my way to the Congregational Church this morning.  I say, ‘once again,’ as I occasionally pop in there but would not consider it ‘home.’  However it has a marvelous Scotsman as minister and is so sparsely populated I find it relaxing and in a sense, comforting.  The ‘hymn sandwich’  style reminds me of my early Church of Scotland days, and the minister knows his God.

However there are some things which some may find less than appetising.  They are all old!  I mean old!  Since his arrival the minister has buried over half his congregation, not because of what he says, (in fact he rarely speaks for more than twenty minutes, just in case another pops her clogs while he speaks), but through what you could call, natural wastage.  The church has been established for several hundred years in this town and as such many families connected with the town worshiped here for generations.  Those elderly folk often represent people who first came through the doors when John Bunyan was around.  In fact Spurgeon, the famous Victorian preacher, was born in a town not far from here and a relative (Great nephew ?) was a member here until his death recently.  This age problem I think hinders newcomers, although two families with young were present today, and several children left for the ‘Sunday School,’ however if more than two of us were under sixty I would be surprised.  Another problem I find is the use of the ‘Authorised Version’ of the bible.  I can cope with this as it was what I first used but younger folks do find its arcane language difficult.  N.I.V’s are on offer at the door however, which is good. Also, to continue the bad bits, the music is slower than it ought to be as the ministers wife has to play the organ, no-one else being available.  She makes a real hearty attempt but a seven verse song sometimes takes longer than waiting for a bus!

However, that really is the main difficulty here.  This is not a charismatic assembly, just a decent honest minister and wife, with a good hearted congregation, attempting to worship God and live their lives.  The short sermons are biblical and his voice authoritative, encouraging and knowing.  This is indeed a ‘canny man’ who has known many troubles and understands others also.  Today he spoke regarding the ‘Lord’s Table,’ and then we broke bread in the slow old fashioned way.  My old church, once Baptist and now after a renewal on the ‘lunatic fringe’ of Christianity, would somewhat surprise him in the way ‘Communion’ is taken.  There folks gather around the table and share bread and wine in a free and relaxed manner, not slack you understand, but going from one to another and attempting to build one another up in Christ.  Such behaviour would cause a few heart attacks here!  That is also why there are no arms raised in this small crowd, not only would it cause a stir it would cause a seizure for the one taking it! Which reminds me, during intercessory prayer for the sick, over a dozen names were mentioned.  I imagine none of them to be less than seventy years of age.

Now you must not get the impression that this is a dying group of Christians.  It may be small but Jesus is sought by these folks.  The minister and his wife, also from Glasgow, have a decent crowd, and while it does not suit me in many ways in others I, as I have said, find it strangely comforting.  I like it!  I have no idea of the stories of the folks, as I do not have much to do with them, by the time I have reached the door most are still looking for their zimmer frames!  But I do know the minister and trust him.  I wonder how Jesus sees the folks here?  They appear to want him, and too many churches are social clubs these days, and I think he may well be happy with what he sees before him here.  With a twinkle in his eye the minister shook hands at the end and said to me, “Remember, if you think things cannot get worse pop in – and I’ll show you how wrong you can be!” What a man!