Friday, April 22, 2011
Dalton Methodist Church
Dalton is about halfway between Greytown and Pietermaritzburg. Dalton Methodist Church is in the same Circuit as Greytown and I will be spending some time at Dalton as well as at Greytown. This morning (Good Friday) I took a service at Greytown and left them singing the last hymn to get to Dalton not-too-late. The congregation is bigger than the one at Greytown and has a more established leadership structure. My role will mostly be to do Communion services periodically.
Dalton raises all sorts of questions about the role of a minister in the Methodist Church. What should a church like Dalton do? They are not,due to financial contraints, in a position to invite a minister of their choosing. They can manage reasonably well on their own. However, lay people are not allowed to preside over the sacraments. I should think that inevitably there would, after time, be some shift from Methodist discipline and doctrine in the absence of a trained person who is accountable to the larger Church.
To be honest, my position at Dalton is likely to be uncomfortable. They might feel that I am forced on them because of my 'power' to do sacraments. I don't want to meddle with a working system when I will only be around for a few months. Ideally, they should try to get into a position to take on a minister, but from what I have heard they do not want to go that route.
For myself - I will look and listen to see where Jesus guides me. But I think this is something that the church as a whole needs to get to grips with.