Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Chapter at Rotherhithe

To St Mary, Rotherhithe for a meeting of the Deanery chapter (= the clergy of the deanery). Bermondsey Deanery is a smal one with just seven parishes, two of which share a vicar (me), and two which don't currently have one at all, so we are a very select group. Our ranks though are swelled by the Norweigian and Finnish Churches in Rotherhithe.

Their presence reflects the nautical heritage of the district and these Nordic Lutherans are now fully in communion with the Church of England via something called the Porvoo Agreement, and thus are part of the clergy chapter - and indeed today we were joined by the minister who has pastoral responsibility for the 15,000 Finns living in London, together with the Finnish Church in Rotherhithe which comes complete with its own sauna.

Chapters vary enormously in what they do. Some start with communion. Some have minutes, agendas, and reams of notices; others laid back affairs of sharing and chat. Some have guest speakers. Most meet about every two months, often at lunchtime. The aim is mutual encouragement and support

Us? This was the first chapter meeting for a while - and the first under the leadership of our new area dean. What did we do? We had lunch together, we chatted, including about funerals (it has been said that no gathering of clergy is complete without someone telling a funeral story),  and we came away knowing a lot more about the Church of Finland than we did before. It was a good first meeting.

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