In the service that followed the announcement of Kenny Rathband’s retirement from full-time ministry, Rev Dr Michael Paterson preached on our Gospel reading from Mark 4.35–41, and included these words of encouragement:
In the 50 years of St Margaret’s this little community has never sunk
our little boat has never capsized
and no one has ever drowned.
Over the years we have been caught in some spectacular storms
and made the odd May Day call
but this community has ridden the waves
and shown time and time again
that its anchor is in Christ
and its leadership is shared.
Many churches rely so heavily on their clergy
that when a priest leaves the church collapses.
St Margaret’s is the opposite.
You run your own ship
and you run it well
with every person playing their own part.
There’s a slogan doing the rounds at the moment:
‘every member ministry’.
Some clergy are threatened by it:
‘Won’t that make clergy redundant?’ they ask.
I tell them that it’s nothing new
and that St Margaret’s has been doing it for 50 years.
So have courage folks:
you have been here before and you got through
because you all pulled together,
and who says you won’t do that again?
And the good news is that God has already given you everything you need to ride this latest storm
So let’s pray as if it all depends on God
while doing the St Margaret’s thing
and working hard as if it all depends on us.
And in that divine human collaboration
the storm will surely be calmed
and we will once again, together,
cross safely to the other side.