sporadic church-goers will pop into their local parish church if they are
going to pop anywhere, at Christmas perhaps, or Easter.
The vicar or his curate will conduct the service, as they do most
Sundays, giving their congregation a feeling of continuity, of stability.
ministers usually have more than one church in their care - two or three,
or sometimes even more. This
means that every Sunday two thirds of our pulpits are occupied by what we
call Local Preachers. This
obviously serves a practical purpose, but our Local Preaching system was
not only born of necessity. We
also have a principle at stake here.
It may be said that the very first people to preach the Christian gospel
were not Rabbis. They were not
even men. They were the women
at the tomb on Resurrection Morning, and neither they nor the Apostles
after them were ordained in the way that today’s Church understands
ordination, and neither were the first Methodist preachers back in the
Many of those drawn to Methodism in those early days were ‘outsiders’
as far as the established church was concerned.
They had no experience of tradition, and brought to the movement
their own unique contribution, which has become one of Methodism’s
cherished qualities. We
believe that the Gospel as preached by our local preachers brings its own
dimension which is subtly different from that of the ordained Ministry and
valued as such.
So how does the Local Preacher arrive in our pulpit?
Well, for argument, say that I have felt called to preach.
I am now fully trained. I’ve
passed rigorous exams, preached trial sermons, been tested orally and am
now finally ready to go onto what we Methodists fondly call ‘The
This means that when David (the Superintendent Minister), makes his
quarterly preaching schedule, for the twelve churches in his care, all in
the High Wycombe area, he is free to plan me anywhere in his ‘patch’.
I may be out every week, maybe once a month, or however often I
feel able, and this means that eventually I get to preach not only at
Holmer Green but at the far-flung posts of Methodism like Marlow and Lane
End, as well as in Wycombe.
So, if you were to drop into our service occasionally, you might at first
be surprised to see so many different preachers
in our pulpit Continuity?
Perhaps not, but think of the rich depth and variety we enjoy.
We see them all - not the good, the bad and the ugly, but certainly
the warm, the humorous, the lively, the solemn, the intellectual, the real
‘character’; all different
but all bringing their own gifts and with the same aim - to preach the
Christian message in their own way and to the best of their ability.
Free Sample on offer every Sunday