Rev. John Collard (our Interim Minister)

Dear Friends,

Clearing out the clutter

Some of you will have noticed the skip that was parked outside the Parish Hall for ten days after Easter - and some of you will know what it was for!

It's not immediately obvious, unless you go poking around in the areas of the Hall below or behind the stage, but we have used the skip to get rid of a large quantity of clutter from these areas.  Many thanks to all those who helped clear out what must be decades of accumulated 'stuff'. In truth we could probably have filled another skip of the same size so there's continuing work to be done, but it was a great effort on the part of all those who cleared out, sorted, tidied and cleaned.

The immediate motivation was the decision by the Congregational Board to re-locate the church office from the Manse to the room at the back of the Hall. This decision was made because it was recognised that having a Church office, with staff working from the Manse, and, of necessity, sharing the Manse kitchen and toilet facilities would not be an attractive proposition for many Manse families. It has the advantage that letting the Manse after the end of the Interim Ministry becomes a realistic proposition.

There is still a bit of work to do to make the room in the Hall suitable as an office but we hope to complete that change in the next couple of months.

Although it was the move of the office that made the clear-out essential, its something that needed to be done anyway. Many of us are not very good at clearing out clutter and churches are often rotten at it! Stuff is accumulated, maybe used for a time, and then simply left. After a while, no-one knows who it all belongs to and no-one wants to take the risk of declaring as rubbish, what might be someone's prized carpet/cupboard/book/ piece of wood/chair etc. And so the clutter grows.

But the more the clutter grows, the less room there is for new things, and so it begins to stifle the work that once it enabled.

Perhaps something of that is true of our spiritual lives too. In Matthew 13v52 Jesus refers to teachers of the law who have become disciples of the Kingdom, as being like the owner of a house who, out of his storeroom, brings treasures both new and old. Always in our Christian lives there needs to be room for the new treasures, the new ways of doing things, the new ideas - alongside the old. If our lives are already full of spiritual clutter from the past, some of that may need clearing out to make room for the new. May God give us the courage to recognise, and let go of, what has become spiritual clutter so that there is always room for the new treasures of the Kingdom.

John Collard

Interim Minister