Monday, 5 October 2009

Learning Curve

I'm not yet used to telling people what to do. On the way to Morning Prayer at Hornington the other day the curate suggested to me that we ought to have a 'staff meeting', so that 'people don't feel left out'. I was completely floored. Does that mean people do feel left out? And they'd sooner talk to the curate? Only three weeks into the job at Swanvale Halt and am I already an unapproachable tyrant trampling the sensibility of my underlings, sorry, brothers and sisters in Christ? (one can but dream). My mind flies back to a previous job in which one of my roles was to monitor the seething resentment of my colleagues at the uncommunicativeness of the curator until it reached such levels that I then had to toddle round to his office and suggest that a 'staff meeting' might be a good idea. It's disturbing to imagine myself in the same position.

I'm not convinced churches with only two paid staff benefit from 'staff meetings' as though we were a private company. At Lamford what we were pleased to call 'staff meetings' consisted of me, Il Rettore, the organist and the secretary quaffing coffee in the comfy seats in the café along the street while the parish's assorted layabouts swapped jokes in the opposite corner. The closest I can get in Swanvale Halt is to take the curate to the coffee stall at the railway station and sit on a bench. At least that got us away from the church! And I'm not sure there's much to talk about. I don't have a Grand Plan as yet, apart from celebrating the liturgy in a dignified way and personal engagement.

The latter is where I mustn't fall down. So for the time being I will stick to individual meetings with various people, and see how it goes. But discovering I could conceivably be the cause of frustration is humbling.

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