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Student Summer placement 2018

Chris West

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I had the privilege of undertaking my three–week parish placement with St Columba’s, Portadown. This involved preparing, leading, and preaching at the various Sunday services, as well as developing my pastoral skills through carrying out pastoral visits and attending the weekday organisations. My experience of St Columba’s was that of a community in which every individual is given the opportunity and dignity of being a giver of their gifts, which is undoubtedly an important part of what St Paul is getting at when he describes the Church as ‘the body of Christ’. This was evidenced by the willingness of parishioners to engage and lead organisations, and their whole–hearted embrace and demonstration of resurrection joy in all that they do together. The question I will carry forward and continue to reflect upon from my placement is, how can I help to facilitate the Church as a community of gift–giving in the manner described? I suspect this will form a vital part of my future ministry, particularly as we live and minister in a society where people feel increasingly alone and bereft of dignity.