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Stumbling into the Pew

November 14, 2017

Y’all make it look so easy.

After 40 years as a parish pastor, I’m still adjusting to this next chapter.

It still feels new to go worship without being up front. You’ll notice that I wrote “being up front” rather than “being in charge.” I got over thinking I was “in charge” of the worship service a long time ago.

I like sitting with Patty when she’s not in the choir, sharing a hymnal and a Bible with her, and getting to put my arm around her.

But wow, I messed up one of the times we were celebrating Holy Communion.

We had gone up the center aisle, been served at the altar railing, and went back to our pew by the side aisle.

Seeing people going to the same pew, I politely got out of the wait by stepping aside. They entered. Sat down. And there in the aisle we stood, with the way to our spots in that pew now blocked by a row of people.

One stood up, smiled at us, and motioned for us to come ahead. Climbing over the others, I said something apologetic like, “Sorry, I’m really out of practice at this whole pew position stuff.”

They were gracious. Patty claimed not to be too embarrassed.

I was just glad I didn’t fall down and didn’t injure anyone.

It’s not as easy in the pew as it looks, and I have a lot to learn.




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  1. Nina J Morwell permalink

    This reminds me of a Lenten service I attended years ago. It was a Wednesday night service that included several UM churches in the area. Every Wednesday evening it was held at a different church. This particular evening, the host pastor insisted, when it came to communion, that we would NOT go up by rows, but were just to come up when the spirit moved us.
    It was confusing and thoroughly chaotic. I think there were even some elderly folk with mobility issues who simply gave up on going forward. The aisles were crowded and people were stepping over each other.
    I think the system that I grew up with, up the center aisle, back the side aisle, everyone in the same order coming and going and easily getting back to your own seat in the pew is better.


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