Summer 2021

 

 

Letter from Fr Scott, our curate

 

I’d like to share something personal about my experience of Holy Communion.

Some years before, I was unbaptised and believed I wasn’t allowed to receive the Body and Blood of Christ. I had been married in a Roman Catholic Church, and I remember on my wedding day everyone coming forward to the Altar to receive, while I, unbaptised and unconfirmed, was only permitted a blessing. In my groom’s finery, I came forward, arms crossed over my chest, as though behind a self-made barrier. I felt excluded, almost humiliated.

I was in a Methodist church when the opportunity came to receive for the first time. The minister declared this was an ‘open table’, so I instinctively walked forward, knelt at the rail, and took a small chunk of brown bread and a tiny cup of blackcurrant juice. Then I returned to my seat and wept.

I’m not a particularly emotional person, so I was very surprised (and, I admit, a little embarrassed) to be so profoundly affected. But it struck home just how absolutely central the Eucharist is to my faith. For me, a service without Holy Communion is like a favourite meal without the most delicious part.

I began a time of exploration and visited various churches of several denominations to see where the Eucharist fitted in with their style of worship. Some had Holy Communion twice a month, others just once. Often there was no ceremony, and distribution often felt perfunctory. I realised only by visiting churches ‘higher up the candle’ could I find what I needed – reverence, ritual, and the sense of mystery of Christ’s presence in humble bread and wine. I found this at St Anne’s Royton, the parish that was eventually to support me as a candidate for ministry. They had 5 Eucharistic services a week. I settled there very quickly.

The process of exploring ministry brought me closer to the Altar. I began by setting up an Altar in a Lady Chapel before a midweek Eucharist. I loved the meditative process of arranging those holy things ready for the priest, and I regarded the solemn ritual of serving as a great privilege.

Since then, here at Newchurch, I’ve been charged by Fathers Alan and Alastair with the role of liturgical deacon – preparing the communion elements for consecration, and performing the ablutions afterwards. No small responsibility – and not easy when there are over two dozen pairs of eyes watching you.

Now here I am, on the cusp of being ordained a priest, and preparing for the great privilege and honour of consecrating these holy things myself.

I cannot adequately explain how I feel about this. My journey into ministry has been unusual, rapid, and often hair-raising, but I never really fully believed until I was well into my training that I’d fulfil this extraordinary role one day.

I’m so grateful for all your prayers. I hope I can serve you in the best way I can as a priest of God’s Holy Church here at St Nicholas.

Fr Scott


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