By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

Liminality: Ministry in the Meantime

So, this is the 'now and not yet' period between pastorates when I am still the minister of Dibley and the minister designate of a place whose online name has yet to reveal itself to me.  It's a liminal place - a threshold between what is and what will be, between what was and what is now.  As a result Karen Smith's talks on 'ministry in the meantime' at the NAM conference are a helpful resource for thinking a bit about how to manage the next three months or so.

It is a time for laying down - stepping down from various committees and positions of responsibility locally and nationally.  A time for accepting that what happens with them from now on is not my responsibility and (which is often harder) not my concern.

It is a time for untying ties and tying up loose ends - a mysterious tidying up and letting go.  A time to pass over all the paperwork to others having got it in order first.

It is a time for saying 'no' with impunity.  How freeing to able to decline invitations to speak at Lesser Nowhere's women's meeting without feeling guilty!

It is a time for slowing down and letting all the pervasive thoughts slip out of my mind (how crowded it is with pastoral and practical stuff).

A time for saying goodbyes and preparing to say hellos somewhere new.

There are still things to be done - a wedding in a fortnight, shut-ins to visit, coaches to book for lunch club and an essay to tidy up and submit for 6th July (ulp) to say nothing of five year's worth of minutes etc for shredding - but I am actually looking forward to some space simply to be.

I'm not terribly good at doing nothing, and part of this period has to be devoted to getting a second essay written, but right now I am tired through and through and will be glad to attempt the meantime ministry of small things and gentle waiting.


  • The margins are where the most exciting things happen - at the boundaries between faith and doubt, present and future, being and nothingness. There is nothing quite so dull as being set firmly in the certain mainstream!
    It seems to me that you and the good folk of Dibley have been in a liminal ministry for some time now.
    So I guess my question is how you can take the sense of being on those vulnerable margins with you when you go to the PlaceWithNoNameYet.

  • Hi Tim,
    I agree about the excitingness of liminal/marginal places.

    The Church-with-no-name claims to have a liminality of its own and wants to cultivate more liminal peripheries (if that's not too tautologous), so I think it could be exciting.

    I kinda think Christ likes liminal spaces anyway...

The comments are closed.