Lots of my minister friends have been sharing this article on social media, and it's well worth a read.
In case anyone wonders, I am very settled where I am, love my church precisely because it is messy and imperfect and doing its best and sometimes getting it wrong.
By pure chance, on my own social media page, a 'memory' popped up from three years ago that said this:
"I love my church - unity in diversity, growing in grace, messing up sometimes, getting it right sometimes, sticking together whatever happens, and trying to be kind to one another (R, we took note of your sermon five years ago!)"
It took me a while to recall why I wrote that post - and when I did remember it felt the more precious because it related to the days following the referrendum on Scottish Independence, which I found incredibly painful and difficult to negotiate, knowing that whatever the outcome, half of my congregation would be happy/relieved and half disappointed/devastated. The scars are well healed now, and woven into who I am, and how I seek to serve this congregation. I am excited at the 'new things' that are springing up thanks to God's Spirit.
The nearest Sunday to our eighth 'birthday' will coincide with a 'special church meeting' which has a sense of 'rightness' about it, as we discern together God's next steps for us all.