Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 24th March 2024

Dear Friends, Recently, I participated in a Saturday afternoon vocal jazz workshop.  Jazz has never been my preferred type of music, but I love to sing, and the workshop was Message from the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (PaCET) for Sunday Meeting 24th March 2024

Dear Friends,

Recently, I participated in a Saturday afternoon vocal jazz workshop.  Jazz has never been my preferred type of music, but I love to sing, and the workshop was run by someone I admire, so I duly learned the songs in advance and went along ready to be coached and polished.  Mid-way through the afternoon, our coach announced we would be doing some vocal improvisation. A look of horror on many faces was evident, likely mine included!

Initially I stayed well back and watched in admiration as groups of ten brave souls stepped forward to have a go at just singing, together, without any pre-planning.  Incredibly, it mostly worked!  One of the pioneers walked back near me and I heard her say how amazing it had been.  I decided then to live adventurously and push myself well outside my comfort zone, so I stepped forward for the next task.

Just three of us were asked to stand closely and face each other, close our eyes, take a breath together, and then … just sing….  We were encouraged to relax and to trust that a lead voice would emerge, with an accompanier and a harmoniser, then the parts would likely switch.

I don’t remember much about what happened next, but I do remember that after one of our group got us started, I was astonished to hear myself taking over the lead, singing an unknown and unrepeatable melody with clarity and surprising confidence.  It was all over quickly, but I felt hugely moved by the experience.

Thinking about it afterwards, I drew an analogy between what had happened there and what happens to me when I minister in meeting.  There’s the dreaded inner quaking that tells me there’s something I should share, and then the surprise when I find I’m on my feet and words are coming, without prior planning.

Advices and Queries 13 states
Do not assume that vocal ministry is never to be your part. Faithfulness and sincerity in speaking, even very briefly, may open the way to fuller ministry from others. When prompted to speak, wait patiently to know that the leading and the time are right, but do not let a sense of your own unworthiness hold you back. Pray that your ministry may arise from deep experience, and trust that words will be given to you. 

It takes a leap of faith to go with the spirit and stand up, perhaps even more so now as we take the walk to the microphone, but the feeling of speaking from deep experience is unlike any other communication.  I wonder how many of our friends in Meeting have squashed down their inner quaking, and I hope that one day we hear what their voices have to share with us.

In friendship
Theresa

on behalf of the Pastoral Care and Eldership Team (David Hitchin, Chris Lawson, Tim Pitt-Payne, Caroline Pybus, Theresa Samms and Nancy Wall)