As I write this, I have just passed the first anniversary of becoming a priest (and second of
being ordained deacon). By the time you read this, that will be more than a month ago. But
the anniversaries made me think about how each of us can serve God in our own way.
Each of our communities has a church building in it, and that building has been there for
hundreds of years. But the church isn’t just the building: it’s the body of believers. That
church spreads across our area and beyond. Each person in that community serves God in
their own way, because each of us is called to be the individual that we are. This church will
survive because it doesn’t depend on a building.
But what of our buildings? Many of them are iconic, historic landmarks. People visit them
during the day for peace and quiet, and because they get a sense that something is different
about them. Perhaps it is the fact that people have come to pray and worship in these
buildings for hundreds of years? Perhaps it is because whole families are represented in the
history of the place? After all, our church buildings have witnessed centuries of baptisms,
weddings, and funerals, not to mention the weekly acts of worship.
Whatever the reason, people value the church buildings in their communities. Yet the
struggle to maintain the buildings and keep them open and available is increasing. The
likelihood of meeting a member of the clergy in the community is decreasing, though not
because we are becoming less active! The church, in terms of the worshipping community,
is becoming more reliant on lay people to make continuing services viable; and the church,
in terms of the buildings, is becoming more reliant on people outside the worshipping
community but inside the community of the village, whether that be for cleaning, flower
arranging, maintenance, opening the doors each day, keeping the churchyard tidy,
contributing financially to the upkeep… it all helps.
So this Summer, as I think about how I have been called to serve God in my own way as a
priest, I encourage you to think about how you might be able to serve God in your own way
and how you might be able to support your local church so that it can continue to provide
services of all kinds and be there for the baptisms, weddings and funerals of the future.
As members of the clergy, we are happy to chat about our faith and about any faith you may
have. Why not seek us out and explore more about what it means to serve God here.
Rev’d Richard Turk
Assistant Curate, Reepham and Wensum Valley Team Churches