October 2022 Editorial

When I was asked to write this month’s editorial, I was also requested to be brief as we had lots of copy. Well done contributors! You have been busy.

Being brief is difficult and demanding for me. I have the reputation of talking for Great Britain and the Commonwealth. I can also waffle and go off on so many tangents that I have to pause, and ask the ears I am bending, “What was I talking about?”

However, I was trained to be clear, concise and to the point when at teacher training college in Durham. So many years ago it was probably just after Noah grounded the ark on Mount Ararat.

We were constantly told that we could not blame poor comprehension on our pupils, but on the teacher’s poor explanation of what was required. Brevity and clarity were our watchwords.

 As it was a Church of England Training College, Saint Hild’s, there were services in the college chapel, morning and evening. No sermon but readings and often pithy one liners or sound bites I suppose we would call them now.  “Live Life now, not in the past or in the future,” “Do not fear Change as Change is Life,” and “Imagination is not the product of dull minds,”  are three I recall though I may have altered the wording slightly.

One worrying one was If you cant kill your enemy, you should hug him to death.” I could never visualise this without wondering what my enemy might be holding. A knife or gun?

The church where my cousin is church warden has a new vicar who has marvellous ideas and is well liked BUT delivers twenty minute sermons. He has ignored all hints so I suggested a framed sampler for the vestry. If you dont strike oil in five minutes, stop boring!” It is apparently a great favourite amongst the clergy. I guess my cousin will find she has no time to embroider it.

I believe that it was former Archbishop Michael Ramsay who said that only seven minutes were needed to communicate your sermon’s message. Firstly say what your message is; then give examples (in the bible and in Life) which illustrate your message; urge your congregation to heed the message; bless them and close.

My favourite sound bite from him is The duty of the church is to comfort the disturbed and to disturb the comfortable.”

Brief, but what images it creates.