I have a little time between visits, so I thought I'd blog a bit about what's happening in terms of ministry at the moment. I've had a bit of a gripe about the lack of recognition from my denomination that I'm actually still committed to, and involved in ministry, I just am expressing it in a way that doesn't involve me in leading a church at the moment. It frustrates me that while local Funeral Directors recognise my ministry (although they wouldn't use that language), my denomination appears not to. Just today I was told that I was appreciated because I'm sincere without ever being patronising. And that was from one of the cemetery supervisors!
These visits are not pastoral visits in the traditional sense of the word as far as church goes, but they are funeral visits. I've done one funeral today and I have two visits to do. Altogether I have five funerals to do over the next couple of weeks starting today with a still born little girl.
And so I ask the question: Is this not ministry? Am I not engaging with my community? Am I not serving people by applying my skills and gifts as a church leader?
Please don't read this as me venting, I'm trying to raise an important question, and I'm thinking out-loud towards it.
If I'd set out to do funerals as my ministry then perhaps that would have been more easily recognised. Others have. But I didn't do that, and so I found myself in this awkward and uncomfortable position of applying for a leave of absence. I'm beginning to regret that part of the process now. I wish I'd set out my plan more clearly and my vision more succinctly. But then again, doing funerals was not part of the big plan. It's just that I appear to be rather good at doing them and so I get the 'phone call to say, "Can you help?"
I think I'm going to have raise the question more directly. I'm just not sure I have the will to do it!