Preach Magazine Issue 1 - Creativity and innovation in preaching - Page 43

SERIAL where several people with physical and learning disabilities were present. During the Communion liturgy, one lady went up to the front to receive before the bread was broken. Quietly, a steward came and stood with her, and even though the liturgy was not ‘in the right place’ – the minister gave her bread and wine and she sat down again. It was a moment when humanity shone through and it was an example of inclusivity at its best. MANDY BRIGGS You know how it is. You’ve crafted a brilliant sermon and carefully chosen the hymns. The liturgy and prayers seem perfect for this particular Sunday and you are looking forward to a service which flows well and where people can worship and meet with God. Then something happens. Someone’s mobile starts ringing repeatedly. Two toddlers run to the front and start chasing each other around the lectern. Or – with the issue that you are referring to – people may voluntarily or involuntarily make noises which you feel are distracting. There is no such thing as a perfect service, because people are present. The congregations in which we are called to preach and serve are fabulously messy, imperfect gatherings of humanity. And as the body of Christ we are called to care for one another and bear with each other. That is a good place to start when considering your discomfort in this situation. Talk to both the man and his carer. Remember that people with learning difficulties may still have good levels of understanding and it is important to avoid a ‘does he take sugar?’ scenario. Find out more about him, why coming to church is important to him and if there is anything that may be triggering his outbursts. Maybe you can contact other organisations or groups – or any family – who can provide further pointers and advice. Recently I attended a Communion service at a small Methodist church It may be that in being ‘in charge’ of a service we feel a degree of responsibility which causes us to overreact. The second thing was that after the service a member of the congregation told me that this was only the second time this young woman had attended after years of absence caused by hurts