Saturday, 13 September 2008


The last two Saturday afternoons I've been inducting.  The first was Val Pyper at Kimble Free Baptist Church, and the second was Scott Carr at Toddington Baptist Church.  Both good occasions in different ways.  

That's the thing about inductions - inevitably there is similarity as there are certain predictables, but also there are the dissimilarities which make every one distinct and special. Just as no two people are the same, the same goes for churches, and so on my journey over I find myself wondering, 'What's it going to be like?'

On both these occasions, but in different ways, there was that mixture of excitement and expectation. Sometimes the expectation can be unrealistic, and I'm left with concern that minister and church are being set up for failure.  But conversely, if you can't get excited and positive about the future that God seems to have called you to, then it would all be a bit grim!

Inductions vary from the formal to pretty relaxed.  Whatever, I bring a note of seriousness. This is an occasion when there needs to be some gravitas as well as celebration - this is a holy moment where minister and people covenant before God.  And this is a moment that needs to be remembered, especially in the testing times that will surely come.

The preaching can be inspirational, and I find that by the time the induction season begins to lighten I'm grateful for a different sort of Saturday afternoon, but grateful too for the nourishment I've received.  Rarely do I preach, but I make notes for the next time I'm asked to!

I heard someone say recently that most sayings seem to be attributed either to Spurgeon or Churchill.  I thought of that today as I heard that Churchill said, 'Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.'  It sounds the sort of thing Churchill would have said, although I've never read him and only heard him quoted.  

The declaration of induction and the blessing is a high point for me, especially as I or the congregation say the words of the Aaronic blessing. Always it feels awesome. I'm going to post on benedictions so I'll come back to this.

And then there's the ubiquitous tea that follows.  I heard a great story about Robert Runcie, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, who gave the advice, 'Don't eat anything that doesn't have McVities written on it.'  Another piece of wisdom handed on to those of us who attend these occasions regularly, 'Don't touch the egg sandwiches'.  I have to say that the teas are nearly always noteworthy and so far I've had no ill-effects, although I tend to have the minimum and save myself for the curry that's in prospect for the evening. Talking of which I need to order it or I'll be out of favour with the rest of the family.


Sarah said...

I LOVE the new photo of you, very continental!

Tyburn said...

Is an "Induction" the same as an "installation"??

In the Anglican Church, our Buildings come with a set of Seats at the East End, known as "Stalls" to get "installed" litterally means to be put in ones seat of office.

For example, next month at Christ Church on The Stray (where I go) our new Priest arrives, and he will go through a ceremony which will bassically be the begining of his Formal Ministry in a new parish. The process is called "installation"

It basically involves the minister being shown where he is to sit.

This comes from those days when Cathedrals would install landowners into their Stalls. Saint Paul's has somewhere in the region of about 50 Stalls each with titles relating to a bit of land that the Church used to own, and the stall would belong to the person who ran that land on behalf of the Church...Ironically, in Saint Paul's one Stall is entitled "Consumpta Per Mar" which means "Consumed by the sea" hahaha

Anywhooo, the Church has no land now, but the Stalls still remain and they are given out to Priests in the region who do good work for the Cathedrals...these priests are then Installed as "Prebendary Canon"

I dont know if you remember Rev Ian Silk of Saint Georges Church Lincoln? where our family used to go when we lived their? well last year, due to his offer to sing the Evening Office once in a while at the Cathedral...the New Dean (who happened to be the old Treasurer of Saint Paul's Cathedral, during my time) Installed him as a Prebendry.

The Installations are of course performed by the Bishop of the area..I expect to see Ripon and Leeds for the instillation at Christ Church soon...or maybe we just get the Suffrigen (Knaresborough, who ive never actually met yet LOL)

Geoff Colmer said...

Glad you like the hat Sarah!

And thanks for your comments Tyburn. Just to say that there is much similarity between an installation and induction - both are a celebration to mark the beginning of a ministry. But because of a different understanding of church and ministry, there are some differences. I think that an installation carries with it legal responsibilities to the church and also to the parish.

And yes I remember Ian and had heard that he'd become a prebendary canon. Hope things are well with you.

Lee Stewart said...

Can you tell me what happens at an Induction?
Are you all in clerical collars & robes,is this a choice?
It is very formal? who makes the choice, the minister or the Union?

Geoff Colmer said...

Hi Lee! Thanks for your questions. Clerical collars are only occasionally worn in my experience. It will have some degree of formality depending upon the minister being inducted and the church to which they are being inducted. As for choice, if you're referring to the choice to go to the church, that is a decision made by the minister and the church through a process of discerning God's will. As a regional minister I effect an introduction.

My function at the event is to preside as the minister and the church tell the story of how God has brought them together. And then as they affirm their faith and make promises as they enter this covenant relationship. It concludes with prayer with the laying on of hands and then a declaration and blessing. I hope that this helps.

Lee Stewart said...

Thanks for your response, as I am in the process in Wales