Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Sunday morning dilemma

The lump of coal situation described below is the result of something that happened Sunday morning. I brushed by a recently bereaved member with a cheery, "Good morning, how are you?" instead of engaging in a sustained pastoral moment about how she was bearing up.

Sunday was pageant Sunday. There were 8 billion crises and logistical tangles erupting. It was simply not a time for me to engage in a long conversation with anyone about anything.

Pageant Sunday is a special case, but even on normal Sundays the fifteen to twenty minutes right before worship are usually a period of time when pastors are distracted with details: is the liturgist here? Does the choir know their cue for the response? Both acolytes have the flu--what do we do??? Could I make an annoucement about xxxxx?

This is not the first time I've unintentionally offended someone by rushing past them in a hurry on Sunday before worship when they were hoping for a sustained pastoral care moment.

I know. I know. All those details should be attended to before Sunday so the pastor can be fully present to those arriving for church on Sunday. But in the real world, liturgists forget that it is their Sunday, choir directors forget to check their e-mail, acolytes get the flu and elders forget to call during office hours to tell you about the announcement they need to make.

Have you figured out a way to solve this dilemma?


Prisca@Peace said...

I hide. Well, half-way. I flit around, write down what I have to, but I am not very available right before the service. We have three entrances, and I stand near the least used one!

Sarah S-D said...

i was going to say "you mean other than by hiding?"

no... it is a shitty reality.

cheesehead said...

I have a few people who I just flat out avoid before worship on Sunday morning, because the only time they will engage me in lengthy meaningful discussion is in the five minutes right before we begin.

So, no. No solutions here.

Listing Straight said...

You say,
"M, I'm sorry, I would hope that you would know me well enough to know that I would never intentionally minimize your feelings or shortcut a conversation, but I also know that I cannot stop you from being upset if that is what you choose. Please accept my apologies."

Anonymous said...

No solutions other than avoidance and hiding. I know some folks who spend the last 5 minutes before worship in their office. Mine is 1/2 a block away, so it;s not a good option for me.

Teri said...

I hide too...