One of the things that my wife and I have been discovering since arriving in the parish in September is that the parish loves being invited into the rectory.
We have welcomed parishioners in to the rectory for a few social events, but also for a couple of council meetings that I’ve hosted here alongside a shared meal.
We have a sitting room and my study on the main floor, and so I’ve met with people in both of those places as well.
One of the reasons that I think people like it so much, aside from the fact that it’s most often in connection with food and fellowship, is that it communicates a collegiality between rector and parishioners.
We moved into the rectory wanting it to be a place that was, in some sense, a shared space. It is of course our home, but it doesn’t belong to us. It is also a kind of neutral-ground, neither one church nor the other, and not the parish hall. It stands apart from other physical spaces in the parish in that it is a dwelling, but we see it as nonetheless a shared place for fellowship.
Clergy can be overprotective of their privacy and their time, and rectories are often places that get shuttered, and the parish locked out, since it becomes the place of refuge away from the parish and daily work.
Our hope is that in opening it and offering the kind of hospitality we do, it will actually shape our relationship with those in the parish, and the relationship of parishioners with each other, such that we don’t seek refuge or respite from one another but a truer fellowship.
Here are a few pictures from our Mothering Sunday open house that we held this past Sunday.