Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Small Group Quirks

Like any group of people, small groups are going to be quirky, at least from time to time. And don't think that this is just a feature of church groups. I've been in a quirky branch of a political party. I found the Army quirky in its own special way, and a meeting of the Rationalist Society in Sydney that I attended when a friend debated them on something or other maxed out on quirkyness.

But, I stick with church small groups.

After some years attending 'high' Anglican Churches (two of them, and at the same time) in the city, I thought to check out churches closer to home in Randwick. St Judes was OK but I didn't feel the same about it as St James or CCSL; I eventually settled at Randwick Presbyterian during the women in ministry debates, to which I contributed on the pro side; not with much effect, I'd think; but on my way there I spent some time getting to know if Randwick Baptist church and I would work out. In the end no dice.

For my first time at the small group I was in, run by an assistant or student minister and his wife in their home, I turned up a fraction early, after walking up the hill from my place near Alison Rd. I was greeted politely enough; then peremptorily abandoned! The husband and wife who were hosting both left the room without explanation. They went off to pray, they told me later. I think I twiddled my thumbs.

At St Alban's Lindfield my wife and I sought to join a small group, but found the process riven with cliques. One friendly chap invited us to join the group that he was newly in. We accepted with pleasure. On the evening when we were about to go, feeling very much included as part of the parish, we got a phone call from the assistant minister (curate in Anglican parlance) to tell us not to attend the group! We were flabbergasted! Knowing the others in the group we could only surmise that we would be seen as spoiling the cosy social dynamic of those church worthies. Not pleasant. Confusing too, as we had many friends there and got on very well with the then Rector.

Come to think, they are the only two outlier experiences. Whew.

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