A week in the life

People sometimes ask me what pastors do all week. Let me tell you about this week.

Although this is an unusual week in that (a) I don’t have to preach this coming Sunday so the six hours I normally spend in sermon preparation was freed up for other things (thank God, as you’ll see), and (b) because of various factors I haven’t really done any visiting this week. Ongoing projects I’ve been working on at my desk all week include preparation of reports for our Annual Meeting, preparation for ‘Spaghetti Church’ (see below), and preparation for a funeral this week (also see below).

Monday was my day off. Tuesday I was at the church for Morning Prayer at 8.30, then worked at my desk ’til about 11.00. Drove home, caught the train downtown for a lunch with the bishop to talk about a program we want to start in the Diocese of Edmonton. Had a meeting of the bishop’s advisory council 1.30-3.30 and another meeting with a clergy colleague 3.30-4.40, caught the train home, grabbed a bite to eat, then went out again about 6.15 for a meeting of the planning team for our Lenten Anglican-Mennonite dialogue. Home around 9.30.

Wednesday I was at the church for Morning Prayer as usual at 8.30, worked on some preparation until 10.15 when a couple of Earl’s family members came to see me to plan his funeral (he is a long-time member of our church who died of pulmonary fibrosis last week). That meeting lasted until about 12.30. Home for lunch, then in the afternoon I did some more preparation work. Marci and I enjoyed a quiet evening at home.

Thursday at 7.00 I met with our men’s Bible Study group, then drove down to the church for Morning Prayer. Spent the morning at my desk in various preparation tasks. Home for lunch and a little break, then at 3.00 a meeting with a couple who I am preparing for marriage. Home around 5.00. Back to the church 7-9 p.m. for a meeting of our Planning and Building Committee, back home 9.30ish and a bit more funeral preparation before bed.

Today I was at the church 8.15 or so for Morning Prayer, am just tidying up a few things now before I leave. The funeral is at the Faculty Club (unusually), and begins with food and drink around 11. I expect the service, what with all the tributes and other stuff the family have added, will last from noon to 2.00, followed by another reception. Probably home 4.00ish.

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be at the church around 2.30 to set up for ‘Spaghetti Church’, our monthly opportunity for families with small children to pray and play and learn and eat together; we are expecting about 55 people. Cleanup afterwards probably means Marci and I will get home about 6.30 p.m.

Sunday we have our two services at 9.00 and 10.30. We’re glad to be welcoming Autumn Ballek from World Vision to speak at both services; we’ve been doing some fund raising for them this past year and we plan to present her with some cheques and hear some ideas from her about what we could do in 2012.

And that’s my week.

4 thoughts on “A week in the life

  1. Andrew H.

    The amount of time spent in meetings is daunting, and probably typical.

    Thank you for posting this; it is good for people to get a glimpse of what clergy do. I can attest that it is very good for church musicians to get such a glimpse; we tend to misunderstand clergy’s work patterns, and (often) underestimate how hard they are working. Direct preparation for liturgy seems more a part of the musician’s work, from planning/music selection to rehearsals with choirs and other groups and personal practice at the organ (or other instrument).

    To look at it another way, the clergy must take a wider view of the life of the parish and community than the musician’s. Thus, all the meetings. And (as you say) most weeks some visitation, perhaps quite a lot of it at times. And somewhere in all this, some study and sermon preparation.

    One thing we probably share is the funerals. We can be rolling along, with plans to get a lot of work done this week, and someone dies. I don’t usually have a lot of direct contact with the family, but a funeral still consumes a large chunk of the week – you pretty much don’t get anything else done on the day of the funeral, and there is quite a bit of preparation to get ready for it in the days beforehand.

    That is not to say that it isn’t worth it. It is a grace to be given opportunity to minister in this way — often, these are people to whom we are very close, and they mean a lot to us. Being able to bring some music to the day is an honor. Even if we don’t know the people as well, they are still children of God, and it is still an honor to do our part.

    May your friend Earl rest in peace; may light perpetual shine upon him.

  2. Tim Chesterton

    Thanks all. This wasn’t meant to be an invitation to a pity party, sorry if I gave that impression. Occasionally I do like to post something like this, though, because (as Andrew says) most people see only a part of the picture but only my wife sees the whole picture!

    By the way, Andrew, you’re dead right about funerals – they are almost always more than worthwhile. Today’s was no exception.

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