By Jim Papile – Retired Episcopal Priest/Church Starter, and Free-Agent Priest
From time to time, we like invite a different voice to the FaithXperimental blog.
Today’s guest blogger is the Rev. Jim Papile (a classmate of Ken’s from Virginia Theological Seminary).
Although I’m not a real big fan of announcements in the middle of the service, as a freelance supply priest I am aware of what my responsibilities are, and what they are not. I serve two small congregations, one Sunday at a small exurb parish of about 30 congregants per Sunday, and the other an urban parish with about the same numbers. I preside at the Eucharist on alternate Sundays. On the Sundays I am not present, the congregations either hire other supply priests or have licensed lay members read Morning Prayer and preach.
On this particular Sunday, I was heartened to hear of all the projects the congregation was involved in within their community. Time, talent, money—there were more things than much larger parishes I had served got involved in. I took a few moments at the end of the announcements to let them know how impressed I was with all they were doing in the community, and how lovingly they visited and tended to the sick and the shut-ins of their community.
After the service, a member of the church’s vestry thanked me for my words and explained how they were able to do the work they did because they did NOT have a full time priest. “We have not had a rector since 2014,” she told me, ”and without having to pay salary, pension, and health care, we have around forty thousand a year to do ministry, and we get different priests, withdifferent preaching and liturgical styles. We love it!”