Vacant but NOT empty
Members of both congregations took part in the National Day of Prayer on 3rd November. The aim was to make this as interactive as possible, by engaging each of the five senses.
TASTE – Fair Trade sweets, prayer for Traidcraft which is having to slim down its operations so as to continue (www.traidcraft.co.uk)
Also home-made tablet (thanks, Fiona!) with a meditation from a maker of tablet on how it brings to mind God’s goodness
HEAR – a wonderful medley of contemplative music, played on the organ; also, in between recitals, a lack of noise
SEE – floral displays in Autumn colours, lit candles, Fair Trade display of goods, a PowerPoint display of images from nature; an opportunity to reflect on the creation of God and creativity of human beings
TOUCH – smooth stones from Scotland’s beaches, and a reflection on the stone that was rolled away from Jesus’ tomb; a prayer for our loved ones who have died
SMELL – lavender, which has among its meanings serenity, and so an opportunity also to pray the so-called ‘Serenity Prayer’ by Reinhold Niebuhr
The central focus of the sanctuary was the vacancy. On the Communion table was an empty photo frame and alongside it this message:
Woman or Man?
Or is gender not the most important thing?
What are you praying for with regard to the next minister?
You might like to write something and pop it in the box.
Are you praying
that he or she will come soon?
that the Holy Spirit will guide them here?
that the congregations
will do everything they can to support the new minister?
Here are two things which were put in the box.
“I pray that we will get a new minister very soon. They will be lovely and fun with the children and the adults. They will always wear a smile and speak loving words. Amen.”
“I pray for someone to guide us, support us, bring God’s word to us, join us in spreading the good news to our city centre. God’s grace will bring our new minister to us, I’m sure. Amen.”
Through the accompanying prayer which was displayed on the Communion table, both congregations are being encouraged to keep praying.
As Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (1st Letter, 5:16-17): “Always be joyful; pray continually; give thanks whatever happens; for this is what God wills for you in Christ Jesus.”