When Christians are baptised , we are all called into ministry.
Each and every one of us has gifts that can be used in ministry. I really get on with and care for older
folk. I can see my future in the church as one focusing on the needs and desires of the aging Church population and enabling them to continue to share and use their gifts as long as possible.
That said my personal approach to ministry is not exclusive. There are plenty of people with an interest in children, The children bring a freshness, a newness and a lively element to any community - but they are simply just too exhausting. I can engage and play with them, I am happy to help out and work on strategy involving childrens programs.
Rather than say I also feel drawn to ministering to the poor, I would say that I feel drawn to assisting empowerment and the development of self empowerment. Not talking about it. Doing it. I was able to work on an empowerment project in South Africa that really uplifted a small group of homeless, hungry and extremely poverty stricken women. We managed to secure the use of a community centre and with the help of a local supermarket were supplied daily for three months enough produce to feed these women at the community hall. We then went about the task of establishing resources. None of these women could read or write very well. Noone owned anything and all appeared to have limited skills.
So what did we do. Fly tipping and dumping is a big problem in communities where basic services are haphazard at best and often dont exist at all. it was evident that there were literally hundreds of thousand plastic carrier bags blowing about, getting caught in barbed wire fences, cluttering the landscape and damaging what semblance of self respect the local area had.
The women - a group of ten went out every day and collected the bags. They returned at Midday and the bags were put in a number of tubs to ensure they were cleaned. Then they were laid out to dry.
Again generous donations of several irons and rolls of brown paper, enabled this group to convert the plastic bags into huge sheets of recycled pliable plastic. By the end of the three months of the original donations the group were producing fifty low cost school bags every day. At the end of six months they all had somewhere to live, had a stable monthly income and had managed to begin rebuilding their lives.
That was ten families in a single project. On the ground, active, caring, sharing ministry. SO where did the ministry come in?
I approached the manager of the supermarket and the caretaker of the hall. I arranged the donations and the means to get and keep this project going. The women who wanted to run the project felt that because they were homeless and dirty no one woul listen to them. Ministry also involves stepping in when someone needs help. Isnt that what Jesus is about? WWJD? Doing exactly what we believe he would do.
And that is what I believe in. Grassroots on the ground, caring for others in the same way Jesus would do it. To be honest, it IS Jesus doing it, because without his grace, I could not have been part of that project and it may never have happened. Our ministry however does not make our clerics obsolete.
It makes their jobs easier. It helps them to get on with the business of being a priest and indeed to fulfil tasks that we are'nt qualified to do.
The moment you are baptised ad an adult or confirm (or affirm) your faith you are accepting that you have ministry and whatever your G-d given gifts are -they are your tools. Use them.
Ruth Richards-Hill lives in Glasgow and hails from South Africa. She works as a digital media strategist and specialises in SEO and online visibility. Mother of three, her faith in Jesus Christ has become the foundation upon which she lives. A Christian LGBT activist she is a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church,
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