Dear Prudence

circle of friends


I am one of those people who loves language and words.  Recently, I wanted to find out about “collective nouns”.  A collective noun is a name given to a collection of things.  For example a herd of cows, a murder of crows or a murmuration of starlings. The collective noun that I wanted to discover was a group of clergy.  Now, before you start thinking of anything uncharitable, let me put you out of your misery!  The closest I could find was a “prudence of vicars”.  What I have not discovered is, if this applies to Anglican clergy only or, also to non-conformists.

I had a particular reason for wanting to find this out because today I had a “prudence of vicars” in my home.  As chair of our local Churches Together, I invited all the local clergy to my home for lunch.

When I first became a minister, Churches working together was a rare.  But over the years this has, thankfully, changed.  Instead of glaring at our differences we need to look at what we have in common.  I value my friends and colleagues from across the denominations, and I have learnt a lot from the different traditions.  As the “prudence of vicars” gathered I found myself reflecting on the words of Psalm 133;

How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along!

(Psalm 133 vs. 1- The Message)

But, I believe, these words do not just apply to Churches.  I think these words apply to all of us.  Maybe, we need to look to the things we have in common with those around us rather than glare at our differences.

I hope it will not be too long before we have another “prudence of vicars” at home.  Maybe there is someone that you need to look at differently.  In the meantime, I am going to look for my copy of the “white album”….

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