Paul and Marian went as a combination to the active and meaningful Syston Women’s Institute in Leicestershire tonight. Due to his book Now Open Sundays! Paul had been invited to talk about Wayside Pulpits and as a surprise Marian also sang.
Preparing a talk for any Women’s Institute is always a daunting task for me as I’m not exactly known for being in touch with my feminine side. In fact, I’m convinced I don’t have one! As such I do get stressed I’ll say something wrong, but so far so good. I think fear is actually the key for any specialist speaker as it means you walk to the front as someone holding the audience with respect, rather than expecting adulation. One thing is for sure, you don’t dare speak at a Women’s Institute meeting without being a master of your subject or having anything to hide. A WI question and answer session is not for the light-hearted! Fortunately they also enjoy a good bout of humour as well, very much so. Phew!
The lady pictured above who is holding the individual squares explained to me how they are using all their spare wool to ensure the old folks are kept warm this winter. As she is 91 years old herself most of these old folks are a good ten or twenty years younger than her! What an inspiration. These wonderful blankets are also going to be used at the Olympics.
Why do so many Women’s Institutes and clubs buzz mid-week while so many mid-week prayer meetings struggle?
People need to feel they are doing something meaningful with their time and doing things that make a difference. In some churches the prayer meetings are truly dynamic and do give this impression, so they are successful. In other churches mid-week prayer meetings are a constant struggle and no joy at all. Typically the pastor or elders berate people to pray more and be more committed, which simply envelops an already desperate situation with guilt and resentment! Churches that struggle and struggle to get folk to mid-week prayer meetings should just scrap them! Some congregations are power houses of prayer and magnificent to experience, but others are pragmatic and practical, so why should they knock themselves out trying to emulate the others? They should be getting on with what they are good at, enjoy doing and making a difference.
Do you really need a mid-week prayer meeting if it is dreadful? Gather those who love to pray when they love to pray, which is meaningful and make sure the mid-week meetings are equally meaningful for the pragmatic. Marian is into some things while I am into others and we are secure in that. Surely congregations should be secure enough in themselves to do what is meaningful for them!