It took me eight years to train to be a minister.  Fair enough, I had two maternityWork: what would you cut out? leaves during this time, but I still managed to rack up some credits for volunteer work I did during these periods.

What I didn’t expect, after all this study, was to spend a significant amount of my work time cutting things out.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy it.  It’s just that I wasn’t expecting it.  Before I had my own children, I spent very little time with babies and toddlers.  I liked playing with my cousin’s children, but that was about it.  Before my kids started school, we didn’t do much craft at home.  I used to find that it would take far longer to set it up and tidy away than we would spend on the activity itself.  Anyway, they did it when we went to toddler groups, so they weren’t completely deprived.

Unexpected pleasure?

And running a baby and toddler group as part of my work has become a great pleasure.  I feel real privilege to share in the lives of these tiny people.  Seeing them grow from tiny babies to larger-than-life toddlers is amazing.  I get to watch them change, week by week.Work: what would you cut out?

We run a craft activity that is related to the Bible story we are following each week.  This invariably involves a degree of cutting out in advance for the children to stick back together.  The more glue that is involved, the more they seem to like it.  Yes, I could leave it until the morning of the group and ask the other leaders to help me cut out at that point, but it means we aren’t then ready to welcome the parents and grandparents when they arrive.

And more scissors…

I also end up cutting out for the bi-monthly family afternoon services we have.  We like to offer more than one craft activity, and just giving them a picture to colour in doesn’t cut it with most of them.  Producing a large piece of art work that has been contributed to by all of the children there is a lovely activity.  It just involves quite a lot of preparation!

My other work is more varied.  I visit people in their homes or in hospital.  I listen.  I lead a Bible study group, made up of parents of young children.  I take more traditional services.  I also help to facilitate a Craft and Chat group.  Forest Church is the latest activity that I’m involved in with young peopWork: what would you cut out?le.  And yes, there will be some cutting out to do for that!

Much as it surprises me, it can be very rewarding.  I try and plan ahead and take my cutting out to do at Craft and Chat.  Some of the participants offer to help me, and we get it done in half the time.  Seeing the joy on the children’s faces when they show me their completed masterpiece is wonderful.

Enjoying the unexpected

So, after all of those years of modules, book work, deep thinking, counselling skills, assessments, essays, and so on and so on, I don’t think I was prepared for all of the cutting out.  But I am coming to terms with it.

What has been unexpected about your work?

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