Before the bun fight begins

Lots of attachments this week.  It’s the annual meeting this Sunday 7.45 pm.  It’s that time of year.

I regularly receive invites to annual meetings of various sorts.  This week just three:  the Charity Bank (16 May), Achilles (my running club, 19 May) and Catz alumni (22 September).  I go occasionally but never for the meeting itself, just for the meal – to meet up with friends.

I am sure there are those people who love annual meetings, the minutes approved, the reports, the election of officers – but most of us can’t cope with the drama. We sit there, of course – at least those of us who are diligent, impatiently waiting for the bun fight to begin.

Nevertheless annual meetings are important, if only to give a rhythm to the year and a structure to an organisation, especially in the appointment for the key jobs.  This certainly applies to church life and we owe it to each other and to the Lord to take an active involvement.

My first annual meeting here at Christ Church was some 19 years ago – and without realizing it, I managed to cause havoc.  The practice here, then as now, was for wardens to be elected over three years – but strictly speaking (and strangely, I was being strict)  they are not elected for three years in one go, just one year at a time.  That is the way the Church of England does it – and the way I was used to from my previous three churches.

However, the tradition at Christ Church had been  (at least I think) was for wardens to be elected for the whole three years, sensible but technically wrong.  So in my calling for their election at the beginning of the meeting was unexpected and highly unsettling.  Was I asking for everyone to stand down?

Which just goes to show that each church thinks of itself as normal – the way the Church of England works is how we do it here. Everywhere else is eccentric.

There are not many references to annual meetings in the Bible, at least not in the sense of this letter.  But there is a huge emphasis on our personal responsibility – to each other and above all to God.

So many of Jesus’ parables have this theme:  when the king returns, the master turns up, the bridegroom arrives, are we ready?  Are we doing God’s work as he directs?  Are we using his resources wisely?

Are we encouraging each other to be faithful?

For we will all be held to account, our lives audited and our reports read.  Thankfully we shall stand before the judgment seat of someone who is rooting for us, who longs that we should be fruitful, who has made his life’s work to equip us for glory.  For our aim is simply to please him, not least in the life of Christ’s Church.

So do please read the reports, to have an idea of what God is doing among us.

And the notices too. Our Family Service this Sunday is designed for people new to church, especially from recent Alpha courses.  It begins rather than ends with welcoming cakes.