When I rang and asked the Vicar who would be preaching at evensong, she replied: “Why do you want to know?” . . . [Answers, 20 November]
The question of advertising the identity of the preacher admits of several approaches. Some clergy, perhaps to draw a larger congregation for an event, recruit well-known preachers. For a parish priest with assistants, the problem is the reverse: how to use those who are not good preachers.
It derives in part from the lack of accountability of preachers to each other, and the lack of rigour about preparation. In my last parish, every preacher was expected to submit the sermon to me (and I to them) before preaching. Among the several elderly retired clergy, some would happily do it; I did not press the others.
Preaching is a vital part of the ministry of the church, but some clergy treat their sermons as their private possession, not to be tampered with. I am afraid that I chose preachers for their ability in different situations, and did not use those whose preaching was, in my opinion, not appropriate, very often. I attempted to be constructive in my comments, in the knowledge that preaching is a craft with a long apprenticeship.
As for my own contribution, I was fortunate in having a curate who was unfailing in her criticisms, detailed and constructive, but sometimes causing me to undertake a substantial rewrite of my text.
Preaching belongs to the whole church, not the preacher, and, as my organist many years ago, a keen cricketer, used to say, “Always play the first team.” I did not advertise the preacher’s name, but, had anyone asked, I would have given it.
(Canon) R. H.W. Arguile
Wells next the Sea, Norfolk
Is there really much point in reading Hebrews 10 (lectionary: Second Sunday before Advent, Principal Service) to a non-Jewish congregation? T. H.
What is the correct order for an Act of Remembrance? There is one order at the Cenotaph in Whitehall on Remembrance Sunday, but, around the land, it varies. At our local service, as the reader of the roll of honour, I had the temerity to say the Kohima Epitaph after the Reveille and before the National Anthem, when perhaps this should have been the ending of the silence. What do your readers advise? A. I.
Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.